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The object of the game is to get as many of your bowls - or your team’s bowls - nearer to the little white ball (the Jack) than your opponents. This is similar in some respects to curling or shuffleboard or bocce.


The game can be played with one to four players per team, and the number of bowls per player varies as shown below:

Singles      4 bowls per player

Pairs        4 bowls per player

Triples      3 bowls per player

Fours        2 bowls per player

There are published rules and there is a tradition of etiquette. Skill, technique and experience separate the average player from the excellent one, but the game can be enjoyed by a mix of players of different skill levels.


A game lasts about two hours and consists of a pre-determined number of ‘ends’ - delivery of all the bowls from one side of the green to the other by all players. The green or playing field is close-cut grass at Richmond Hill Lawn Bowling Club and measures 120 feet in each direction. Seven or eight games can be played on one green at the same time.


This is only a basic explanation, and many books on rules, tactics and techniques exist for the asking. The Ontario Lawn Bowls Association (OLBA) website contains additional resources about the sport (click on their logo at left).




Once you have joined a lawn bowling club and have received some training, you will discover that good greens are a most important factor. That is what our membership dues are for, and why you must always wear flat-soled shoes so as not to harm the grass. After you are committed to the sport, you will probably buy your own bowls. Every set of four has a different design and there are eight sizes to choose from. Take your time when selecting your bowls. Use our club bowls for training and discuss your needs with other members and with a qualified sales representative. The club provides all necessary equipment except shoes.




Both men and women play lawn bowls, sometimes separately and sometimes in mixed play. A team consists of a Skip (or captain), a Vice, a Second, and a Lead (who delivers the first bowl in each end). It is normal for new players to start as Leads and advance to other positions as skills and experience are acquired. Never forget - a good Lead can mean the difference between victory and defeat in the game of bowls.

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