Are You Allowed to Use a Cell Phone on a Bowling Green?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: August 13, 2023

No, lawn bowls etiquette dictates you are not allowed to use a cell phone on a bowling green to make or receive casual calls.

However, a health professional, fireman or another essential worker might be on call and ask permission to take cell phone calls.

In such a case the player should inform everyone – both teams, the club committee, competition organisers, etc. – that if his cell phone were to ring he would have to take the call. If permission is not granted then the player has no choice but to withdraw from the game.

There is no ruling from World Bowls in the Laws of Bowls about cell phones, but anyone who has heard a cell phone ringing in a bag on the bank of the green will know how irritating such an intrusion is. It is definitely an intrusion on the game and therefore a breach of etiquette.

Are you allowed to smoke on a bowling green?

You are not allowed to smoke or vape on the bowling green itself, but if your club permits it you may stand on the bank one metre from the lip of the bank and have a smoke. Usually there are ashtrays available on the bank for this purpose.

There are clubs where smoking and vaping anywhere is forbidden, so look out for the signs before lighting up or ask permission if you are unsure.

This might seem harsh but it is quite in line with worldwide trends vide permitted smoking areas.

May one drink alcohol on a bowling green?

This is a grey area if every there was one. It is frowned upon for active members of bowls clubs to drink alcohol on the green. And yet casual bowlers who participate in Barefoot Bowls (also known as Business League or Action Bowls) are permitted to alcohol on the green.

The rationale is that casual non-members 1) want to drink alcohol to relax while learning a difficult game while socialising with their friends; 2) alcohol sales from Barefoot Bowls are the mainstay of clubs’ finances; and 3) if casual bowlers were not allowed to drink, they would not participate in the game and therefore would never be in line to become serious bowlers.

The only place in the World Bowls Laws of Bowls that mentions alcohol is in the guidelines for Conditions of Play, which reads as follows:

A.1.4.15 Policy on tobacco and alcohol at each venue.

World Bowls Laws of Bowls