What is a Full House in Lawn Bowls?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 11, 2023

A full house means that a player or a team achieve the maximum number of points available in an end. In the photo of the first end in a singles game, the red-white-and-blue bowls have achieved a full house (four points) while the orange bowls have achieved zero.

How do you get a full house?

The answer is to hone your skills at home so that when you arrive on the green you can draw as close as possible to the jack – certainly closer than the opponent, which is all you need to do really. As you can see in the photo, the full-house bowls are far from the jack and yet they are nearer than the opponent’s bowls, and that’s good enough.

How to avoid a full house

You really don’t want your opponent to get a full house in an end. As with most solutions in lawn bowls the solution is to draw, draw, draw. Don’t be tempted to play ambitious, clever heavy, shots thinking that this will get you out of trouble. Usually it does not

And in a singles game remember that “singles is a drawing game”. Whatever the options are, drawing is probably the answer in order to cut down the opponent’s score.

Is a full house in lawn bowls rare?

Yes, achieving a full house score in lawn bowls is extremely rare. The odds are that an opponent’s bowl will be in the mix when it comes to totting out the points, which is why some insurance companies pay out members if they score a full house (with terms and conditions applying, of course).

What is cutting down in lawn bowls?

In singles, if you are four down (in other words there is a full house against you) and you therefore have just one more bowl to play, then it is sufficient to reduce the opponent’s score to 3,2 or 1. Obviously you were having trouble drawing the shot with your first three bowls. All you need to do now is just beat the opponent’s second, third or fourth shot. That will give you breathing space to “live another day” and possibly come back to win the next end and ultimately the game.

How many points are needed to win bowls singles?

The first player to reach 21 points wins a game of singles, so it is vital that players do not give away large numbers of points at a time. Cutting down on the opponent’s points, even if the opponent wins the end, is a good strategy. It is better to give away one point that to give away two, three or four. After all, four points is just fewer than one-fifth of all the points your opponent stands to gain. So just keep on drawing to the jack for the best results.

Do insurance companies pay for a full house?

Check with your short-term insurance company if they will pay out for a full house. Usually the insurance company specifies when they will pay out for this rare score. Usually it has to be an official competition of some kind. There are various administrative rules pertaining to claiming the reward for a full house, such as the club secretary sending a letter on a letterhead confirming that the player(s) did achieve this score.

Here is an example from Infiniti of their wording regards a full house reward:

We will pay up to the limit stated for:

Bowler’s full house being if you are part of a rink
(team of four) which, playing as amateurs, scores a
full house (that is all eight bowls to count) in a game
of bowls in any competition played in terms of the
rules of the South African Bowling Association, at
any recognized bowling club.
The secretary of the club will have to confirm your
full house in writing.