There is an etiquette of bowling which needs to be understood by all bowlers. These are simple courtesies which should be observed at all times so that the sport may be enjoyed in the most friendly manner possible. It's a good idea for well established bowlers to also refresh these simple rules from time to time as they can tend to be forgotten on occasions.


• Always be on time to start your game and be ready to play.

• According to your grade, be ready with coin, pen, pencil, measure, chalk.

• It is helpful to others to wear your name badge.

During the Game:

• All players should share in the returning of the bowls behind the mat at the conclusion of the end.

• Leads should help each other. After your opposing lead has placed the mat, hand him/her the jack and see that their first bowl is nearby.

• Stand still and silent behind your opponent when they are delivering their bowl.

• Be ready to play when your turn arrives. Have your bowl in hand and  advance to the mat as soon as possible - this avoids lost time and so ensures continuous play.

• After delivery of your bowl remain on the mat until your bowl has stopped moving, then vacate the mat for you opponent.

• At the other end of the rink, all players (with the exception of those actuallly playing) should be on the bank and should avoid any noise or movement that could distract the players trying to deliver their bowls.

• Make sure the correct skip’s bowl is placed on the mat at the time of changeover.  

• Walk up the rink when changing ends within the boundary confines of the rink. Do not stray into neighbouring rinks. Do this as quickly as possible to ensure smooth continuity of play. Do not linger around the head to inspect the positions, but proceed diectly to the bank.

• A skip should remember that they are the leaders of the team. Their job is to control the game by encouragement and advice when needed. Skips should concentrate on the game and not become so engrossed in conversation with the opposing skip that they forget their function.

• Only the 3’s are responsible for measuring. Do not crowd them and only assist if invited to do so.

• The 2’s are responsible for updating the scoreboard

• Warn players if a drive is about to be played on your rink and try to protect bowls on any adjoining rink.

General Courtesy:

• Pick up the oposing players bowl and hand it to him or her. Leads - do the same with the mat and/or the Jack.

• Be aware of players on other rinks, talk quietly and do not distract their attention.

• If an umpire is called, remove all bowls except the bowls in question and stand clear while they adjudicate.

• In championships, singles players should thank their marker at the end of the game.

• Stay calm and never use strong language or display signs of ill temper.

• Show good sportsmanship at all times. Praise a good shot by your opponent. Win with modesty, lose with grace.

Avoid unneccesary delays in your game  Some of these points are covered in the above text, but still worth mentioning again.

There's a lot of unnecessary delays in a game of bowls. If you're playing 16 ends or more, seemingly small hold-ups can add significant time to the overall game. Here's a few tips to help the game run more speedily. This is mainly for the newer players in the club, although some of the older players could benefit as well.

Leads should get ready to start the game immediately after the coin is tossed. Pick up the mat and jack and proceed straight away.

When placing the mat, turn to face the rink number. The mat must be positioned so that it's centre is in line with the rink number.

At least one foot must be physically on the mat when delivering the jack.

Once the jack is delivered, the skip will require the lead to indicate which way it should be moved i.e. left or right so it's positioned correctly. This should be clearly done by holding up two forward facing fingers and moving them left or right. The fingers should be spaced apart to suit the jack adjustment required.

The lead should remain on the mat until their bowl has come to a stop, then leave the mat.

The opposing lead should be ready, with bowl in hand, to play immediately after the mat has been vacated by the opposing lead.

Both leads play their remaining bowls as soon as they can after each-other, with no delays in between play.

All players, except those who are actually playing or about to play, should be on the bank. At the cross-over, players must walk up the green keeping within the boundaries of their own rink so as not to interfere with play on neighbouring rinks.

At the conclusion of each end, all players should contribute in kicking the bowls back to form a cluster near the scoreboard. Once done, the game should recommence quickly, with the lead ready to place the mat as soon as all bowls have been cleared away. His or her jack and first bowl should be at hand ready to go.


A bowling green can be a hazardous place. New players should be aware of heath and safety on the green. Watch where you are stepping and never walk backwards after delivering your bowl - serious injury has occured when a person falls over a collection of bowls behind them.

Enjoy your bowling.