Bowling Green Etiquette

i.e. Good Manners (for bowlers and spectators)


General Etiquette

Many older players will say that twenty or thirty years ago much more attention was paid to bowling green etiquette but lawn bowls remains one of the few sports where common courtesy and etiquette is still prevalent. We should be proud of this and in order to make the game as enjoyable as possible bowling green etiquette should be promoted to members old and new. Much of this is common sense but here are some of the main rules of etiquette.

  1. Dress appropriately and ensure that you know the dress code for each game or match in which you are participating. Do not show disrespect for your opponents by arriving late, ensure that you leave sufficient time to change before the game. If you are representing the club on another bowling green you should remember that you are an ambassador for Farnborough Bowling Club. Behave appropriately.

  2. Enter and leave the bowling green safely. Do not walk across rinks that other people are using. Be aware when other bowlers are about to bowl and don’t walk across the end of a rink when doing so, it can be a distraction.

  3. Introduce yourself and shake hands with your opponents both before play commences and after the
    game is complete. During the game do not move around the head when your opponent is about to deliver his bowl. Stand well back from the head, keep quiet and do not do anything that would distract your opponent. Wait until the bowl has been delivered before moving.
  4. If you are at the same end as the player delivering a bowl you must stand behind the mat thus staying out of the player's line of vision. Here is what the rule says about this. "Players of each team not in the act of playing or controlling play shall stand behind the Jack and away from the head or 1m behind the mat. "

  5. Bear in mind that some people like to see the rink boundary markers and the centre pin while playing so make sure that you are not obscuring them. On sunny days you must also ensure that your shadow does not fall on the jack.

  6. Spectators who are in the player's line of vision should also keep still while bowls are being delivered and they should not distract players on the green. For example if you need to arrange a tie with another member don't try to do this while he is playing someone else!

  7. At Farnborough we are privileged to have one of the best bowling greens in the area. Look after it! Don't drop your bowls onto the green and ensure that your delivery is not causing scuff marks or otherwise damaging the green.

Observe the rules for Possession Of The Rink on the Bowling Green!

  1. Here is the official ruling on this:

  2. "Possession of the rink shall belong to the team whose bowl is being played. The players in Possession of the rink for the time being shall not be interfered with, annoyed, or have their attention distracted in any way by their opponents.

  3. As soon as each bowl shall have come to rest, possession of the rink shall be transferred to the other team, time being allowed for marking a 'toucher'. "

  4. After you have delivered a bowl and before it has come to rest you have two options. If you want to follow your bowl's progress down the green you must be behind the head when it stops. In other words you must beat it to the head without running. If you don't go to the head you must be behind the mat as your bowl stops. This ruling is quite clear but unfortunately many players, including many of those who should know better, show disrespect for their opponents by failing to observe it.

  5. How many times have you been on the mat, ready to play your bowl, when you have had to wait for your opponent to complete his stroll up the green or back to the mat? If your opponent is guilty of this you should politely ask him to stop. Remember that it is he who is in the wrong.

  6. After a Game you should always shake hands with your opponents and congratulate/commiserate with them appropriately.

  7. It is also customary for the home side to offer to buy their opponents a drink, whatever the result. Where a marker has been involved in a singles game you should also offer him a drink.

  8. Knowledge of the above will make you a more respected bowler, keep things friendly and contribute towards the enjoyment of the game for everyone involved, both on and off the green.


10 Things to remember.

  1. 1.Players should always be careful when stepping on or off the Bowling Green.

  2. 2.Bowls should not be dropped on the Green.

  3. 3.Do not stand too close to the verges.

  4. 4.Bowls should not be kicked in until the shot has been decided.

  5. 5.After delivering a Bowl, a player must retire behind the mat or advance to the head before the bowl comes to rest. He should not take up a position in between, or walk onto another rink, even if it is not in use.

  6. 6.Don't delay the game.

  7. 7.Don't wander around or move about the head when a player is about to deliver a Bowl.

  8. 8.Bowling is a friendly game and all players should show courtesy and good sportsmanship.

  9. 9.All Bowlers should know the Rules as laid down by World Bowls.

  10. 10.Mobile Phones should not be used on or around the green.


Many of the words on this page were kindly provided by the Vale of Leven Bowling Club, you can find more details of the club here.  Why not pay them a visit if  you are in the Loch Lomond area.