Should You Shoot in Lawn Bowls?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: July 16, 2023

You should never “shoot” in lawn bowls, by which is meant you should never deliver your bowls as if you were sending a missile at 600km per hour down the green in order to smash the head to pieces. There are several reasons not to play this type of shot.

  • You endanger people as a bowl which is treated like a missile can cause injury
  • You run the risk of damaging people’s bowls, which are easily chipped by a racing bowl
  • Most often shooting is ineffective, with the racing bowl missing the head altogether
  • Bowls delivered at huge speed and massive force damage the grass banks
  • Playing shots like this is contrary to the etiquette of bowls

Is playing a strong shot the same as shooting?

A strong shot in lawn bowls is known as a drive, and it is not the same as shooting. The drive shot is used for a certain purpose and the weight is usually 3 to 4 metres stronger than it takes to reach the head. (In the photo, the player has just played a driving shot with controlled weight.)

But the intention when a player shoots is to cause random, huge damage to the head with unlimited force, not caring where the bowl itself lands up. There is no consideration for anyone else on the green or other people’s bowls or even the jack itself.

What the Laws of Bowls say about shooting

There is no specific ban on shooting in lawn bowls, presumably because it would be too difficult to prove if a shot was a drive or an intention to obliterate the head. The Laws of the Sport of Lawn Bowls do have a section on what to do if bowls are damaged in the course of play.

What happens if a bowl breaks during a game?

World Bowls Rules of Lawn Bowls state as follows:

30 Damaged jack
30.1 If the jack is damaged during the course of play, the umpire must decide if a
replacement jack is needed.
30.2 If a replacement jack is needed, the end will be declared dead and law 20 will
31 Damaged bowls
If a bowl is damaged during the course of play, the umpire must decide if a
replacement bowl is needed.
31.2 If a bowl that has been struck by another bowl during the course of play splits
into pieces, the end must be declared dead.
31.3 In the circumstances described in laws 31.1 and 31.2, the damaged bowl must be
replaced by another bowl from the same set before the start of the next or
replayed end as appropriate.
31.4 If a bowl at rest in the rink of play splits into pieces without having been struck
by another bowl, the bowl must be replaced with another bowl from the same set
and the end continued.
31.5 If a damaged bowl cannot be replaced by another bowl from the same set, all
bowls in the damaged set must be replaced with bowls from a different set.