What is 3-2-1 in Lawn Bowls?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: August 15, 2023

321 in lawn bowls is simple format that hones your drawing skills. 3-2-1 refers to the way the scoring is done.

3-2-1 is played as follows:

  • Two, three or four people play in a game of 321
  • Two or three players play with all their bowls
  • If four people play together they use two or three bowls each. Otherwise the head gets too crowded
  • They all play from the same side of the green
  • Score is kept on a score card or a score board
  • The first to play is the first one on the list or on the board. Tossing for the mat is not important.
  • The first player to play puts the mat where she likes and delivers the jack
  • The jack does not have to end on the centre line. As long as it is in the rink and 23 metres or more from the mat it can be played
  • The first player delivers her first bowl and then the players rotate
  • Touchers do not attract any special score and do not have to be marked
  • Players can decide if touchers that land in the ditch will count or not
  • When all the bowls have been played then the players go to the head
  • In 3.2-1 in lawn bowls, the bowl closest to the jack gets three points. The bowl second closest gets two points. The third closest gets one points. No other bowls get points. Therefore the maximum number points one can score is six points.
  • In a game of 12 ends, the maximum number of points a player can score is 72 points (i.e. 6 x 12 = 72)

Tips for playing good 3-2-1

Play 3-2.1 as often as you can to improve your drawing. Resist playing firm or driving shots. Concentrate on drawing. Play the game in the spirit of a practice rather than a serious game. Then everyone will enjoy it and benefit from the session.

3-2-1 league in lawn bowls

Some clubs run a Winter 3-2-1 League for instance, where the scores from several days’ play is added up to find a winner. The format can also be adapted for teams.

Clubs also use 3-2-1 format play to raise funds. Each player pays a small amount each time he plays. The cash quickly mounts up to a good pot.