What is a Toucher in Lawn Bowls?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 6, 2023

In the world of lawn bowls, the term “toucher” holds significant importance. It refers to a bowl that has made direct contact with the jack during play. In the photo here you can see a bowl rolling nicely towards the jack, where it will become a toucher when it makes contact with the jack.

Understanding the concept of a toucher is crucial for any lawn bowls enthusiast or player looking to enhance their skills. In this article, we will delve into the depths of what a toucher is, its significance, and how it impacts the game.

What is a toucher?

A toucher, in the context of lawn bowls, is a bowl that has come into contact with the jack during play but remaining within the rink. When a bowl makes contact with the jack, it is marked for distinction by the use of chalk or other designated markers. This marking identifies the bowl as a toucher, signifying its interaction with the jack during the course of the end.

The Significance of Touchers

  1. In-Play Advantage: A toucher holds a unique advantage during the end. If a toucher is hit by another bowl and ends up out of bounds or in the ditch, it remains in play. This gives the toucher bowl a significant advantage over non-touchers, as it is still considered live, potentially affecting the outcome of the end.
  2. Scoring: Touchers play a vital role in scoring as well. In some formats, if a toucher ends up closer to the jack than any other bowl, it earns additional points. In most variations of the game, a toucher that remains within the boundaries of the rink and ahead of all other bowls is awarded a bonus point.
  3. Bowls Movement: Touchers can also impact the movement and positioning of other bowls on the green. If a bowl hits a toucher, it can change the direction and trajectory of both the toucher and the striking bowl, leading to a shift in the dynamics of the game.

Identifying a Toucher

To identify a toucher, chalk or spray is typically used. When a bowl makes contact with the jack, the marker is applied to the bowl, leaving a visible mark. This marking ensures that the toucher is easily distinguishable from other bowls on the green.

Strategy and Tactics

  1. Defensive Play: When a player’s bowl becomes a toucher, it can be strategically advantageous to play a more defensive game. By protecting the toucher and preventing other players from displacing it, a player can maintain their scoring position and reduce the opponent’s opportunities.
  2. Targeting Touchers: Conversely, if an opponent has a toucher in a favorable position, players may aim to target and displace it. By removing the toucher, they eliminate its scoring potential and create opportunities for their own bowls to come closer to the jack.

If a bowl touches another bowl before touching the jack, is it still a toucher?

Yes, a bowl can touch another bowl in lawn bowls before touching the jack. It still counts as a toucher and should be marked as such. The exception is when a bowl touches another bowl and then lands on the jack when the jack is already in the ditch. Then the bowl counts as a “dead” bowl and should be removed from the green and placed on the bank.


By comprehending the intricacies of touchers in lawn bowls, players can develop a deeper understanding of the game and refine their strategies accordingly. Whether it’s utilizing defensive play to protect a toucher or strategically targeting touchers to gain an advantage, the presence of touchers greatly influences the outcome of each end.

Lawn bowls is a sport that demands precision, strategy, and adaptability. The concept of touchers adds an extra layer of complexity and excitement to the game, keeping players engaged and constantly assessing their next move.

In conclusion, a toucher in lawn bowls is a bowl that makes contact with the jack during play. It holds significance in terms of in-play advantages, scoring potential, and influencing the movement of other bowls.

Identifying touchers through markers or visual indicators allows players to make informed decisions and tailor their gameplay accordingly. By understanding the role of touchers, players can elevate their skills and enhance their overall performance on the greens.

Remember, whether you’re a seasoned player or a newcomer to the world of lawn bowls, appreciating the impact of touchers will undoubtedly contribute to your enjoyment and success in the game.