Bowling Etiquettes

Etiquette is a code of behaviour whereby individuals treat one another the way they would like to be treated. Breaches of etiquette are sometimes wilful, and sometimes inadvertent. These rules are best to know ahead of time so that no one needs to be reminded of them while out on the greens.

Rules of etiquette for lawn bowling include (but are not limited to):

  1. Players at the "head" end should observe when a player is on the mat and is ready to deliver his/her bowl, they should stand still and refrain from talking with one another out aloud.
  2. When it’s your team’s turn to bowl and it’s your mat and head, your opponents should be away from both, if they are not, ask them to move politely.
  3. Wait for your skip to tell you which shot you should play and never go against their wishes.
  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 center of the rink (During a covid year: keep to right allowing for others to pass you with a minimum 2-meter distance) with minimum delay, if it is not your team’s turn to bowl DO NOT STOP TO CHAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RINK, IT’S NOT YOUR MAT OR HEAD.
  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 collisions! (During a covid year: step off the mat opposite to the location of the bowls, approach the mat from where the bowls are located and only after the opponent has first vacated the mat.)
  7. Always show good sportsmanship by acknowledging a display of good skill by another bowler.
  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 your 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. Bowlers should shake hands at the end of a game. (During a covid year: A simple Thank you for the game will suffice.)
  14. Be a gracious winner and a good loser.
  15. 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.
  16. Punctuality for all games is a courtesy to the other players.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Bowlers not raking the bowls after an end should assist by kicking the bowls into an approximate line, thus making raking easier and faster.
  20. 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. It’s good idea to pay attention!
  21. 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.
  22. One minute between the time when the opponent's bowl stops, and the next bowler delivers his/her bowl should be sufficient.
  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.
  24. All bowlers should remember to clear the equipment from your rink after your game.