What is a Dead Draw in Lawn Bowls?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 7, 2023

Skips often ask players for a dead draw. A dead draw means that the bowl will travel gently up to the jack and ideally “kiss it” without moving the jack at all. A dead draw is a hard shot to beat as the target is small and so it’s difficult to dislodge the jack or move the shot bowl.

Why a skip calls for a dead draw

If the shot is “down” (in other words, a bowl belonging to the opponent is nearest the jack, the skip will welcome a close draw because it will likely beat the lying bowl (unless the opponent’s shot bowl is also lying next to the jack and touching it, in which case “no shot” will apply until, and unless, the situation changes.)

Another reason the skip may call for a dead draw as opposed to a “trailing shot” or a shot with “a pound on”, for instance, is that any other shot may move the jack towards the opponent’s bowl. That’s why the skip wants you to draw right up close to the jack without moving it.

Why is a dead draw difficult?

A high skills level and favourable conditions are required in order to have a chance of achieving a dead draw. A skip will not usually ask someone without the requisite skills, and in difficult conditions, for this kind of shot.

The percentage of dead draws achieved in a game of bowls, even at the top levels of play, is low. A very experienced player would do well to achieve one or two in a game. So don’t feel bad if you can’t achieve a dead draw when the skip asks for one. Hers is only a wish, after all!

What is dead weight in lawn bowls?

Dead Weight Bowl lies level with the jack

Dead weight in lawn bowls means that the bowl ends “jack high” to the white target bowl. In ordinary English this means that the bowl ends exactly level with the jack, and hopefully as close to it as possible. A skip may ask a player to deliver a bowl with dead weight if this will secure the shot without moving the jack towards the opponent’s bowl.