Bowls Etiquette


Etiquette is the unwritten rules in the game of bowls. It enhances the sportsmanship of the game, but for some reason, seasoned players are sometimes lax in sharing this knowledge.
  • Cellphones should not be used on the bowling green during a game. Leave it in your bowls bag. If you are on standby, please put your phone on silent, and if you must answer it, do so off the green. Do not hold up play - you can call back.
  • When taking bowls out of your bag, do not drop them onto the green. Place them gently on the green as a courtesy to the greenkeeper.
  • Always shake hands with the opposition at the start (usually after the trial ends) and at the end of the game.
  • At the start of an end, place a bowl of the player delivering the jack, next to the mat. During team games, at a crossover, a player leaving the mat should place a bowl of the player due to play next, on or next to the mat.
  • After delivering a bowl, watch it until it comes to rest, and wait for comments from your skip (if any). Do not walk away from the mat, regardless of how bad the delivery was.
  • Do congratulate a player on delivering a good bowl.
  • Do not make any snide comments when an opponent delivers a bowl which changes the head from being in her/his favour to your favour.
  • Stay behind the mat, whilst at the mat end, when it is not your turn to bowl.
  • Do not move around while at the head when a player is preparing to deliver a bowl.
  • Some players use items, such as rink markers, as aiming points when preparing to deliver a bowl. Such players may ask you to move in order not to hide these aiming points - be attentative to your game.
  • During evaluation of an end, stay away from the head (and make no comments on the head), unless it is your task to do so. Once the end has been scored, the bowls may be kicked away in preparation for the next end.
  • After a game it is customary to have a drink with your opposition. The winner pays for a round for the loser (in a team game, you buy a drink for your opposite number).
Do also have a look at the Guidelines for Markers. This document contains the etiquette required for marking a game, but many of these guidelines can be used in general play as well.

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