The Game

The object of the game is to get one or more of your team’s bowls closer to the jack (a little white or yellow ball) than your opponents. Each game has a specified number of “ends” and the winning team is the team that has accumulated the most points in the game. Games can be singles (one player per team), pairs (2 players per team), triples (3 players per team) or fours (4 players per team). The number of bowls per player is determined by the number of players per team.

Bowls are not round but have a “bias” so they run in a curved line. One side of the bowl is “weighted” (the bias) and the curve goes towards the bias. Each set of bowls has an individual serial number and an identifying logo. As well as different sizes of bowls there are bowls with different biases that make their travelling path wider or narrower.

A bowling green is divided into rinks which are 4.3 to 5.8 metres wide and 31 to 40 metres long. There are usually 6 or 8 rinks per green.

Each player has a position on a team; the lead plays first, then the second, followed by the vice (third) and finally the skip. The skip is the person who directs the play during the game. As with all sports, there is a set of rules to be followed. The Laws of the Sport of Bowls is published by World Bowls and is regularly updated.

 Bowls can provide you with open air exercise, comradeship, improved mental and physical facilities. Standard competitions normally last around 3 hours per match but some can be shorter.

Bowls can be played at any level of competition, from socially to the highest levels of international competition. All persons are able to participate, so long as the bowl can be hand held and delivered.

 Physically and visually [with either the help of a guide or a string laid down the middle of the rink] challenged people including those in wheelchairs play by the same Laws.

Bowls is a core sport of the Commonwealth Games but is not yet an Olympic sport. World Bowls hosts a number of World events every year with its premier event “World Bowls” every four years in which 24 countries qualify to take part. Other major international events are hosted by many countries throughout every year.


World Bowls is the Governing Body for the sport of bowls. Its headquarters are in Scotland. Currently there are 47 World Bowls member countries who’s Clubs belong to their National Authority which is the member of World Bowls. Many National Authorities hold international events at which their fellow National Authorities are invited to participate in.

World Bowls is able to provide advisory assistance on the construction of the playing surface, administration training, coaching, and Technical Official training.

In Canada the governing body is Bowls Canada Boulingrin, headquartered in Ottawa.  Each province has it’s own organization.  In Ontario it is Ontario Lawn Bowling Assoc.