Is Lawn Bowls a Professional Sport?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 14, 2023

Lawn bowls is not currently a fully-fledged professional sport in that very few players can earn a living from the sport. Instead bowls is an amateur sport that potentially may become a professional sport in future.

Lawn bowls, an age-old sport cherished by millions around the world, has often been overlooked as a professional pursuit. However, in recent years, there has been a growing recognition of its competitive nature, strategic depth, and the undeniable skill required to excel in the game. In this article, we aim to shed light on the question: Is lawn bowls a professional sport? We will delve into the intricacies of the sport, explore its global reach, highlight the achievements of the small numbers of professional bowlers, and demonstrate why it deserves a place among other recognized professional sports.

Understanding Lawn Bowls

Lawn bowls, also known as simply “bowls,” is a sport that traces its roots back to ancient times. It involves rolling biased balls (also called bowls) on a meticulously maintained grass or synthetic surface, aiming to get them as close as possible to a smaller white ball called the jack. While the basic objective may seem straightforward, the true essence of lawn bowls lies in the strategy, precision, and control required to outmaneuver opponents and achieve the desired outcome.

Global Appeal and Participation

Contrary to popular belief, lawn bowls is not confined to a specific region or age group. It enjoys a global following and has gained traction across various continents. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Canada have established vibrant lawn bowls communities, with numerous clubs and associations dedicated to the sport. In fact, lawn bowls is played competitively at local, national, and international levels involving about 82 countries, and attracting enthusiasts of all ages.

Professional Bowlers and Their Achievements

While the perception of lawn bowls may still be that of a leisurely pastime, there exists a cohort of highly skilled individuals who have dedicated their lives to mastering the sport. These professional bowlers possess exceptional talent, honed through years of training, practice, and participation in competitive events. Usually they earn a living as full-time coaches and clubs, and earn further income from prize money.

In Australia, for example, the birthplace of many world-class bowlers, the annual Australian Open draws top-tier professionals from around the globe. This prestigious tournament showcases the finest talent, fostering an environment of healthy competition and pushing the boundaries of the sport. Notable professional bowlers, such as Karen Murphy, Jeremy Henry, and Aron Sherriff, have consistently demonstrated their expertise, securing victories and accolades on both national and international stages.

The Evolution of Competitions

The proliferation of professional lawn bowls competitions has been instrumental in elevating the sport’s status. Tournaments like the World Bowls Championships and the Commonwealth Games have provided platforms for bowlers to exhibit their skills and compete for coveted titles. These high-profile events attract media attention, garnering public interest, and showcasing the sport’s competitive nature. Additionally, the establishment of professional circuits and ranking systems further solidifies lawn bowls as a professional sport, encouraging dedicated athletes to strive for excellence.

Challenging Stereotypes

One of the reasons lawn bowls has faced challenges in being recognized as a professional sport is the perception that it primarily caters to an older demographic. While it is true that many passionate bowlers are seasoned individuals, the sport has experienced a significant surge in participation among younger generations. Forward-thinking initiatives, such as youth development programs, school competitions, and inclusive leagues, have successfully attracted a diverse range of players.

By breaking down age barriers and fostering an inclusive environment, lawn bowls is ensuring its relevance and longevity. There is also a misconception that lawn bowls is a game of luck. The number of top level bowlers who win places in competitions time and time again is testimony to the fact that bowls is a game of consummate skill. Luck plays no more of a role that any other kind of sport.


In conclusion, lawn bowls is undoubtedly a professional sport, demanding exceptional skill, strategic thinking, and unwavering focus. The global appeal of the sport, the achievements of professional bowlers, and the evolution of competitive events all contribute to its elevated status. While misconceptions and stereotypes may persist, the growing recognition and participation in lawn bowls will undoubtedly solidify its position