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Bowling Conduct and Etiquette

To play lawn bowls well you must adhere to the rules of the game and learn how to conduct yourself well throughout a game. The article below spells out some of the detail and by using the methods and approaches outlined you will find it becomes a standard part of your approach to the game.


Bowling is essentially an activity where standards of politeness are usually maintained. This is reinforced by the custom of introducing and greeting each other, always shaking hands at the end of a game and, showing appreciation of a fine shot whether for or against.

  1. Step carefully onto or when exiting the Green. Always avoid standing on the edge of the Green / Bank and never sit on the edge of the Bank.
  2. Do not drop your bowls on the Green; always place them.
  3. Smoking is not permitted on the green. If smoking on the surrounds, use an ashtray. It may be obtainable from an equipment shed or club house. Return the ashtray empty after use.
  4. When a Competition is in progress, nobody should converse with, or in any way distract the Players or Marker.
  5. When a player delivers a wood and follows it up the green, that player must be either behind the Head or returned to a position behind the mat by the time the bowl comes to rest. Once your bowl has stopped, possession of the rink passes to your opposition. You are not entitled to ask for or (as Skip) offer any information until your opponent’s next bowl has stopped and, you have control of the head/rink.
  6. Don’t wander around or move about the head when a player is about to deliver a Bowl.
  7. The player controlling the head at any time (usually the Skip or number three) should be granted full and unfettered access to the Head, and all other players should retire to a position where his/her view is not obstructed.
  8. At the conclusion of an end, the number three should be left to measure and concede shots without comment or interference from other members of the team. ONLY move the shots you are conceding, not the ones you are claiming.
  9. All players at the Head-End should help shepherd the bowls to the rear (or into a straight line for the pusher) after the score has been agreed and the head broken.
  10. If an umpire has been called, all players must retire from the green until the decision has been taken.
  11. Never kick away the bowls in a head until the result of an end has been decided.
  12. If you are responsible for keeping the score, compare your card with that of your opponent at regular intervals.
  13. Never bemoan your own bad luck or complain when fortune seems to side with your opponent.
  14. No player should, by act or word, display displeasure at inadequate performance by a member of their own side, or gloat over poor bowling by an opponent. Skips should complement and encourage their players when appropriate.
  15. If you have lost the game, remember to congratulate your opponent.
  16. Try at all times to enhance the pleasure of the game for both your team-mates and your opponents. Remember, courtesy is contagious.
  17. If Rolling-up, remember the rink is not exclusively yours; you are expected to welcome others to join your rink.
  18. Mobile phones must not be used on the Green and must be switched off or set in silent mode.
  19. When sitting down to after-game refreshment, members are required to wear their club shirt/greys/whites. Sitting-down in casual wear is not acceptable.
  20. For “Away games” if you wish to wear shorts or sandals, ensure acceptable to the host club beforehand.
  21. Study the latest edition of the Rules (“The Laws of the Sport of Bowls”) and play according to them.
  22. If marking in a Singles game, it is important that you carry out the duties as set-out in the “Laws of the Sport of Bowls” Section 3.2(42) “the marker’s duties”. Training can be given on request from one of the Club’s coaching team. Remember, when marking you must not move any bowls.