Lawn Bowling Etiquette

Lawn bowling etiquette is a combination of gracious behavior and practical advice that ensures an enjoyable time for all bowlers and keeps the game running smoothly. This is simply good sportsmanship.

  • It is good manners to greet your opponents and team members before each game and congratulate or compliment them at the end of play. Shaking hands before and after a match is part of the fine tradition of the game. Be a gracious winner and good loser.
  • Before play begins learn the markings of your team members' bowls.
  • Learn the rules of the game and abide by them.
  • It is poor form to criticize your opponent, your own team members, or the green.
  • Pay attention to the game. It can be frustrating for your teammates if they feel you are not giving your full attention and best effort to the game.
  • Keep to your own rink. Walk down the center of your rink when changing ends
  • Catch out of bounds bowls before they can interfere with play on the neighboring rink.
  • Applaud good shots, do not mention poor shots, whether your team's or the opponent's.

Watch out for these tips specifically pertaining to The Mat

  • After the mat has been set, be sure that all bowls are placed at least one yard behind and to the right of the mat when facing the jack. This avoids tripping.
  • Bowlers should approach the mat from the left side with their bowl in hand ready to bowl.
  • Always pay your skip the respect of waiting for his/her decision about which direction to bowl.
  • Bowlers should stand on the mat until their bowl comes to rest, then step to the right, pick up a bowl and stand at least five feet behind the bowler who is next on the mat.
  • Stand still and be quiet when a player is on the mat. Observe the grass and the strategy of the bowler.
  • Remain behind the mat or, behind the head when it is not your turn to play. Only when the opponent's bowl has come to rest does possession of the rink pass to your team.

Guidelines for when one is "Behind the Jack"

  • The only person who is allowed to move behind the jack is the skip of the person on the mat.
  • All players should learn and use the proper hand signals.

Some final pointers for Equipment and Greens

  • Offer to help set up the rinks before a game and return all equipment to the club house before packing up your bowls afterward.
  • The lead whose team is down should go for the rake as soon as the score is apparent. When there has to be a measure to determine the score the leads should stand and observe the measurement.
  • Be respectful of the grass, do not lob or drop bowls. Be sure your shoes are flat soled.

There are more suggestions and guidelines for "proper" behavior on line and in rule books. We are a social group and our members bowl because they love the game. However, we do not want to lose sight of the basic traditions of the sport. These conventions steer us toward civil behavior and free us to concentrate on the important things.
Having fun with our friends!