What is lawn bowls etiquette?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: October 10, 2022

Lawn bowls etiquette is a code of conduct for bowlers, which amounts to good manners. The average game of bowls takes two hours. That means standing next to one’s teammates and the opponent players for a long time, sometimes under stressful circumstances. That’s why adhering to the rules of lawn bowling etiquette is so important. Otherwise things could get out of hand. Here is a short, printable guide to lawn bowls etiquette:

Who goes first in lawn bowls etiquette?

The lead player of the lawn bowls team that wins the toss plays first. However, the skip (captain) of the team that wins the toss may decide to “give the mat” to the lead of the opponent player to gain a strategic advantage. In that case, the lead player of the team that lost the toss plays first.

From then on during the game, the team that wins the points of each end “wins the mat”, meaning that the lead player of that team plays first. The leads then alternate until their bowls are played, then the seconds, thirds and finally the skips alternate their bowls until the end is complete.

What is an end in lawn bowls?

A completed end is when all the bowls of both teams have been delivered towards the jack at the other end of the green. Then all the players return to their original positions and start to play again, until all the ends have been played.

How do you decide who plays first in lawn bowls?

The skips (or the marker or umpire) tosses a coin to determine which team wins the mat. The lead player of the team that wins the toss then puts down the mat in a position determined by her skip, and then tosses the jack (also called the kitty or the white). Then the lead plays the first bowl towards the jack, followed by the lead of the opposing team.