Bowls Do’s and Don’ts


Bowls is a sport that encourages social interaction and friendship. Etiquette simply means displaying ‘’good sportsmanship’’. This is achieved by having knowledge of what behaviour is acceptable in the game and applying it using common sense, honesty, fairness and consideration for others. If unsure about something relating to etiquette it is acceptable to ask questions. Etiquette applies to persons playing, marking, umpiring and spectators at a game of bowls and also to the members of a club.
Etiquette is an important part of lawn bowls and all clubs and their members should not only practice it but inform new members what is proper and expected behaviour on the green and in the club.

Thoughtfulness and common sense are the keys to etiquette.
Rules of etiquette for lawn bowling include (but are not limited to):
1. Players and spectators at the head end should stand still and keep quiet.

2. When it’s your team’s turn to bowl it’s your mat and head, your opponents should be
away from both, if they are not ask them nicely to move.

3. Wait for your skip to tell you which shot you should play, keep up with play at all times.

4. There should be no trespassing into neighbouring rinks; this includes going to or from the
clubhouse, moving to better see the jack, and particularly when walking from one end of
your green to the other. Please be aware of others playing. If you are helping your
teammate aim, do not infringe upon neighbouring rinks.

5. Walk up the centre of the rink with minimum delay, if it is not your team’s turn to bowl

6. After bowling each bowl, step off the mat to the right. As you approach the mat to bowl,
do so from the rear left. Though not essential, this is a useful habit of convenience to avoid

7. Always show good sportsmanship by acknowledging a display of good skill by another

8. Never applaud lucky shots, never complain about lucky shots, and admit a lucky shot with
good grace. Do not say thanks for a bad shot that goes you way.

9. Do not criticize the playing surface.

10. Do not criticize the performance of colleagues. No one plays a bad bowl on purpose.

11. Avoid delaying play by leaving the rink without the knowledge of the other players.

12. Avoid interfering with the head until the results of the end have been agreed upon by
the vices.

13. If an Umpire is called, move away, you’re done, his/her decision is final.

14. Bowlers should shake hands at the end of a game.

15. Be a gracious winner and a good loser.

16. The plinth area of the green is fragile and should be treated with care. This includes, but
is not limited to, wearing proper footwear, not dropping or tossing bowls on the green, and
not spitting or pouring liquids (water, coffee, etc.) on the green.

17. Punctuality for all games is a courtesy to the other players.

18. While standing at the head end waiting for the player on the mat to bowl, stand between
the markers so the bowler can see and use the markers to aim.

19. Generally, the vice or skip at the head will signal the bowler on the mat the position of
bowls in the head using hand signals denoting for and against.

20. Bowlers not raking the bowls after an end should assist by kicking the bowls into an
approximate line, thus making raking easier and faster.

21. Players at the head end should be ready to stop deflected bowls from crossing into the
adjacent rink and interfering with neighbouring games; likewise, be alert to prevent bowls
from adjacent rinks from messing up your own head. Pay attention!

22. No rules prohibit bowlers running after their bowl (enthusiasm nor youthful fitness is
discouraged) but you must try to arrive at the head before your bowl stops. Some clubs
consider following your bowl up the green poor etiquette.

23. All bowlers are urged to have chalk and a measuring tape when bowling so that bowls
that touch the jack can be immediately marked and, if necessary at the finish of an end,
measuring can be undertaken without delay.

25. All bowlers should remember to clear the equipment from your rink after your game.

No laws governing a sport can cope with every situation. Unusual situations not covered can arise. The Laws of the Sport of Bowls have been drawn up in the spirit of true sportsmanship. Common sense should be used when unusual situations not covered by the Laws arise.