The game of lawn bowls begins when a small white or yellow perfectly circular ball (the JACK) is rolled some 23m down a perfectly flat lawn or carpet.
A larger, heavier melamine ball (bowl), which is NOT perfectly round, is rolled after it by each player in turn. With the right weight and direction it will come to rest next to the jack. Rather than following a straight line, the bowl takes a long slow gentle curve to reach its destination.
One of the sides of the bowl is slighter heavier than the other. This gives the bowl a ‘bias’ so that as the bowl slows down there is a pull towards that side. The bowl literally curves around until it comes to a stop.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR BOWLS
So that you have the best control possible of the delivery it’s important to use a bowl that’s the right size for your hand. To find your size, stretch out your bowling arm horizontal to the ground and place the bowl in the upturned palm, gripping it comfortably.
Now (with a friend’s hand underneath to catch it if it falls) rotate the wrist 180 degrees. If the bowl feels as if it is slipping out of your grasp, it’s probably too big. Go down one size and repeat.
DON’T follow the practice of placing your hand around the belly of the bowl until the second fingers meet at the top and the two thumbs touch at the bottom. This takes the weight of the bowl out of the equation and is a completely useless guide.
Consider too that some bowls of the same numerical size have different widths. So for example a Taylor Blaze size 2, an Almark Slimline size 2 or a Henselite Tiger size 2 might be more comfortable for you than a Taylor Ace or Drakes Pride Professional of the same size.
After your first season you’ll also want to take into account the route taken by the bowl from mat to jack – a wider or narrower curve. But that’s a subject for another page…