Which Bowls?

Bowls come in sets of four and each must be identical (check that the registration letters and numbers are exactly the same on your set). They are made of plastic and have a date stamp indicating when they require their 10 year test/stamp, eg “21” means they were manufactured in 2011. Please do not worry about the restamping of your bowls, it only comes into consideration when playing at County and National level.

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when buying bowls, and it is very important that you do not buy a set of bowls until you have done plenty of research and tried different sizes, makes and models with different biases.  

Ask our coaches for their advice, particularly in finding the correct size of bowl to fit your hand. The coaches bowls room has a wide range of bowls sizes and makes for you to experiment with, but they are not for sale (although sometimes the coaches have some bowls that can be bought). Also, ask our members if you can try their bowls in a Roll Up session to get a feel of what suits you. 

It is essential that you choose a bowl that, first and foremost, suits the size and shape of your hand. Too large, it will cause tension in your hand; too small, it will cause over gripping - both resulting in delivery problems. 
With the help of your coach guiding you, take the bowl and place both hands around the widest part. Extend your thumb and middle finger – these should touch, but only just.

UK greens are generally slow running compared to the faster Greens found in hot climates, astroturf, short mat, or indoor bowling clubs. The weather, time of day, length of grass, and what the ground under the green consists of (eg combinations of clay, sand, loam) all have an effect on the bowls performance. So be aware of what model of bowl is suitable for our greens (see chart for some guidance)

What type of grip is suitable for your hands? Some older bowls have shallow lines or swirls, while more modern bowls have different depths of dimples to enable you to hold the bowl more securely, particularly when the grass is wet. Some players find certain designs of grip uncomfortable, so once again, please experiment.

Here is a Thomas Taylor chart giving examples of different weights, although different manufacturers may have slightly different specifications. Generally heavy weight is the most commonly found, with medium weight being harder to find second hand.

BIAS (see charts below) 
Is the natural curve of the bowl with different line and hooks. Those with a narrow bias, offer a shorter route to the jack with less margin for error and are particularly suitable for Leads and Singles when there are very few bowls in the head to prevent you achieving a good draw. Bowls with a wider bias offer more opportunities to get around other bowls in the head to get closest to the jack, and are often used by Skips. It is possible to change the bias of your bowl by slightly adjusting your grip so that the bowl is not lined true, but this is often only achieved by seasoned players. Some popular all-rounder bowls that are often chosen by our members are – Thomas Taylor Ace, Drakes Pride Professional & Pro 50, Henselite Tiger, and Almark Sterling (part of the Australian Henselite brand) which are often cheaper than the other brands.

If you do decide to take up the sport of Lawn Bowls you will need to buy your own set of four bowls, either second hand or new. We strongly recommend buying second hand bowls as your first set. Black coloured bowls are by far the most common to be found, particularly when searching on second hand web sites such as eBay, and are considerably cheaper than buying coloured bowls. Prices are dependent on the size – popular sizes (Junior, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3) are in high demand while the larger sizes are usually cheaper second hand. Our coaches and members sometimes have bowls for sale too, so please enquire and we may be able to help.

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