Are Lawn Bowls Weighted on One Side?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 10, 2023

Lawn bowls are not weighted on one side. The reason the bowl curves when delivered is because of a subtle camber (slope) on one side of the bowl. So it is the shape of the bowl that makes it curve and not the weight. This shape, known as the bias, can be seen by holding the bowl on its running edge. One can see clearly a lower “shoulder” on one side. When delivered, the bowl curves towards the side of the lower shoulder.

What is the bias on lawn bowls?

The bias on lawn bowls is the shaping of the bowl so that it curves when delivered, as opposed to going in a straight line. The idea is that the bowl can curve around bowls that are standing in the way in order to get near to the jack, which is the objective of the game of lawn bowls. The bowls closest to the jack earn the points.

Can you move the jack in lawn bowls?

Once the lead has delivered the jack, the only way the jack cam be moved is if a bowl moves it or even hits it into the ditch, where it is still “alive” – or into the neighbouring rink – in which case it is out of play.

No bowler may touch the jack with hand or foot during play, except when the lead delivers it, the Skip spots it, it is placed it on the 2-metre mark in the case of a burned end, or to measure for a shot.

A bowler can deliver his bowls in order to “trail” the jack i.e. to move it to a more favourable position. Or the bowl can just touch it, which makes it harder for the opponents to move the “toucher” out of position to get closer to the jack (or “kitty” as it’s also called).

Why do they spray a touching bowl?

A bowl that has touched the jack (the white target ball) in lawn bowls is marked with a spray or a piece of chalk for easy identification later. Should that bowl land up in the ditch during the end in question, it will still count as a live bowl. An “end” is played when all the bowls have been played from one end of the green to the other. Once the end is over, the mark is removed from the bowl.

Bowls that are unmarked, i.e. which have not touched the jack, will be counted as dead if they land in the ditch and will be removed and placed on the grass bank. Therefore a marked bowl can be an advantage during the game.

But a “toucher”, as a marked bowl is called, is left in the ditch where it is. If the jack ends up close to the toucher, either on the green or in the ditch, the marked bowl will count for points.

Why do they mark the ball that hits the jack?

In lawn bowls, the bowl that makes contact with the jack (the little white target ball) gets marked with chalk or a white spray. Should the bowl then land up in the ditch it will still be “live”. If an unmarked bowl lands in the ditch, it is dead and is removed and placed on the grass bank until the end is complete. An “end” is complete when all the bowls have been delivered from one end of the green to the other.