What Do You Need to get Started?
The simple answer to the above is - very little. If you have a mind to try out Bowls there are two ways of doing this without incurring much expense. The first is to go, with a companion to your nearest public bowling green, (there will be one not too far away) and pay for a session. This should cost no more than a modest sum and for that you will be given two sets of bowls, a jack and two mats. All you must ensure is that you are wearing flat smooth rubber soled shoes without heels.
Alternatively you could go along to your local club similarly attired and ask to have a trial go. Most clubs have practice bowls and a member willing to join you for a "roll-up". There would be no obligation and they would be happy to see you. This would also let you get a "feel" for the club and whether you would like to join in the future. Bowlers are a friendly lot.
So You have decided Its for YOU?
The next step is to decide which club to join. This may not be too difficult if there is only one club in your area. But if there is a choice, why not go along and give each a try before deciding. Bowling clubs are not just about playing bowls, there is much more to them and it is important you feel comfortable with the members, after all you will be spending quite a bit of time in their company.
To get properly started you will require your own set of bowls, not necessarily new, and casual play wear as per the club rules, normally white shirt or blouse and grey trousers or skirt, in the case of Lindfield, tailored grey shorts with calf length white socks are an acceptable alternative to long trousers, and of course proper bowling shoes. You could be looking at spending (assuming you buy secondhand bowls) £100 - £160 on clothing and equipment. Then of course you will have, in your first year, joining fees and annual subscriptions perhaps another £100 or so. These are only rough figures as an indication. and perhaps err on the conservative side.
Brown or grey bowling shoes are acceptable during casual play, club competitions, friendly and local league games. For County and upwards matches white shoes are mandatory.
LAWN BOWLS, GETTING STARTED
"Whites" are the combat uniform of the front line bowler going into battle be it single handed or as a team-player. It is currently standard match day wear for all occasions. This is subject to change for several reasons, one being, it always needs laundered, and another that there is a popular belief that the game needs a more up-to-date colourful image. To attract new blood, more colourful outfits help to make the game more interesting for both players and spectators. In Lindfield, currently, men turn up for matches in club blazer (optional), white trousers, shorts permitted in this club, polo shirts in the club colours; ladies in polo shirts in club colours, and white skirts or slacks, blazers are optional. This may be traditional but in all honesty it looks really great! The other "extras" which are to a more or less degree necessary are a warm pullover, and given we live in Britain, wet weather wear. Examples of some of these items are shown below.
Men’s polo shirt easy to wear but not suitable for a tie.
A fleece, cosy but not an essential
Weather-wear essential in the U.K.
By far the most important purchase you will make will be your choice of bowls. At first glance it appears to be a fairly simple choice, but when you have played a few times in matches you will understand that there is much to be considered and the choice of bowls is paramount to your future success on the green.
Firstly there is the make of bowl. A bowl is NOT just a bowl and each manufacturer produces a range of bowls unique to them and also each type of bowl within the range, has very different characteristics and a individual "bowl line". Lawn bowls are "biased" causing them to travel in a parabola. Some take a narrow parabola and some a wider parabola. Some follow an even parabola and some have a distinct hook at the end of their travel. You may at first think that these fine points are "academic" but for the expert players - not so.
By the end of your first season you will have formed a good idea of your ideal bowl.
As well as "bias" there is size and weight to be considered. Bowls range in size from size 00 (smallest) to size 7, and there will be a size that is correct for your hand. It is very important that a bowls fits snugly within the palm of your hand using your preferred grip. They can be either medium or heavy in weight, they can be regular or slim in their diameter. All of these variables combine to make your choice of bowl crucial to your future success.
This handy “size-indicator” would ensure you got the correct sized bowl for your hand
Bowling indoors is a completely different experience from outdoors and requires different characteristics in the bowls used, the artificial surface being very much faster and more prone to bias. Therefore there are bowls which are made for outdoors and bowls made for using indoors.
Once the important decisions on bowls and what to wear are made, you can settle down to learning the game. In order to, from the very start, absorb and retain the very best techniques and to iron out, at an early stage, any anomalies in your delivery, it is recommended that you consult your club "COACH", who will be more than willing to guide you to a realisation of your fullest potential and ready you as quickly as possible for competitive bowling.
As you progress you will find, particularly once you start to represent your club in "away" matches that you need a purpose made carrying bag for your bowls and other gear. There is a very wide range of these bags available and a visit to your nearest stockist will reveal a bewildering array. If you intend to be a regular for you club a good and capacious bag is a godsend. But beware do not overfill it with unnecessary items as you will soon find it can weigh heavily (bowls weigh quite a bit) especially if you have to park some way away from the club you are visiting.
Various lightweight bowls “carriers”
Bowl carrying bags for away games
Bowls selection chart
Henselite bowls are renowned for quality and precision throughout the world.
The main feature of this Advanced Bias Technology is its constant, even, predictable curve.
This model bowl has the Traditional bias which has stood the test of time wherever Lawn Bowls is played.
The Classic II was first introduced as a result of the standardisation of the W.B.B. (at the time I.B.B.) Rules for the Game of Lawn Bowls.
We now have manufactured a bowl that satisfies the needs of competitive bowlers, it is ideally suited to fast free running greens and a flatter profile and narrower width provides the bowler with more comfort and control of the bowl.
The ultimate outdoor bowl for Ladies
** Not sold in Australia **
In a world with ever increasing demand for high performance, we are now able to meet this demand with Henselite's latest bowl - Eureka Gold.
The essential Ladies Bowl. For added comfort and control - improves your bowling. Try it in your hand!
Narrowest drawing arc with no hook at the finish. Recommended primarily for all indoor surfaces and artificial outdoor
Available in Black Only,
A Slimmer bowl with a wider grip that has a bias the same as the Vector. Therefore making it more of a front end player's bowl on the faster indoor greens.
Slightly wider drawing arc than the vector with no hook at the finish. Recommended for all indoor and outdoor surfaces.
Available in Black Only.
INTERNATIONAL & SPECTRUM
Similar to the Ace but with a stronger finish. Recommended for all indoor and outdoor surfaces.
Available in Black/Brown.
A slimmer profile bowl for easier grip and control. Medium to wide bias with a controlled draw to the Jack.
Unique “Pentagrip” feature allows variable grip,
Predominantly an outdoor bowl with a wide draw, recommended for outdoor grassy surfaces and short mat play.
Featuring “Progrip” as standard the Lignoid retains a high quality finish at an extremely competitive price.
This model has proven to be very successful on both indoor & faster outdoor greens for which they were designed.
They take a tight line with a consistent finish offering a greater range of shots.
Available In :
Black & Brown
Medium & Heavyweight
In sizes 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Colours also available see below
THE PROFESSIONAL EXTRA
This heavy model incorporates all the features of the ever popular Professional model but has that extra weight
appreciated by many indoor bowlers.
Available In :
Extra Heavyweight only
In sizes 0, 1, 2, 3, 4
THE PROFESSIONAL PLUS
The Professional Plus is our outdoor model bowl, it's shape, feel and handling are based on our ever popular
Professional model but it has the bias strength required for U.K. outdoor greens.
Available In :
Black & Brown
Medium & Heavyweight
In sizes 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Colours also available see below
Available in Professional & Professional Plus models coloured bowls are available in heavyweight only
and only upto size 4½.
Red - Blue - Dark Blue - Maroon
Green & Teal
In sizes 00 - 4 ½ (Incl. all half sizes)
These coloured bowls are made specifically to order so you (the bowler) can not only select the colour but the
type of grip (Plain Rings or Rose, Dimple or Crescent grips) and your choice of emblem. We can also engrave
the bowls with your own design of emblem, as long as it is not too complicated !
The Crusader II from Almark has been designed for optimum performance on indoor and fast running outdoor greens with a bias specifically engineered to hold a consistent line. The bowl has improved stability, holds the jack much squarer on contact, having less hook at the finish and allows a wider variety of shots on free running greens with confidence. Available in heavy weight sizes 0-6. All bowls are supplied with engravings as standard.
The Almark Sterling bowl has all the Henselite Classic properties of quality and accuracy. Featuring a unique handgrip designed for comfort and control. The bias is a slightly narrower line than the Classic bowl so is recommended for both indoor and outdoor use. Available in sizes 00-6 medium and heavy weight.
The Almark Sterling Slim-Line bowl has been designed to feel more comfortable in the hand. It is a mid-bias bowl with a bias slightly greater than that of the Crusader II, but with a straighter finish not such a large hook as the Sterling bowl. Available in sizes 00-6 one weight only, either with or without grips, and is recommended for fast outdoor and all indoor surfaces.
Tentative evidence exists of the ancient Egyptians playing a form of Bowls before 5000 b.c. when the object of the game was to 'hit' a target.
However the only solid evidence of the game dates back to the 13th Century in that the Southampton Bowls Club has what is reputed to be the oldest bowling green in the world, founded in 1299. The Chesterfield Bowling Club claims that their green dates from 1294.
The first official record of the game describes Bowls as "A game of delicate skill, the object being to get bowls as close as possible to the target." (We presume firing was not considered to be appropriate action in those days)
In the early 14th Century, King Edward III decided to ban the playing of bowls by his bowmen as he feared that their skills were becoming eroded through lack of archery practice as they were too occupied playing bowls.
The sports popularity in the 16th Century was such that it is mentioned in no less than three of the plays of William Shakespeare - "Richard III", "Loves Labours Lost", and "The Taming of the Shrew". "The Taming of the Shrew" even includes a reference to bowls being played by the Ladies of that era.
The most famous recorded historical event must be that of Sir Francis Drake who, on 15th July 1588, was reputedly playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe and refused to leave for battle until the game was finished.
The first official rules of the game were written by
the Scottish Bowls Association.
W.G.Grace, the English cricketer, helped form the English Bowls Association, and was their first President (1903-1905). He also helped organise the first International game between Scotland and England.
Today a favoured leisure pursuit of people the world over, bowls has taken its place as one of the most popular sports of all time and
DRAKES PRIDE was proud to be a sponsor at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. Future inclusion of the sport in the Olympic Games is a distinct possibility.
The game is now played in over 35 countries - United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Thailand, India, Japan, Spain, Israel, South Africa, U.S.A. and Holland - to name just a few.
Lindfield men in their club polo shirts
A diagram of the range of TAYLOR bowls showing their differing parabolic trajectories
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