Lawn bowling is predominantly an amateur sport. It is played world wide, particularly in the English speaking countries of the United Kingdom, Canada,South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In 2009 in California, Governor Schwarzenegger, declared May, 9, 2009 a ‘Lawn Bowls Day’ to spread even higher awareness of the game. Currently, there are 29 clubs in Southern California, and if you are a lawn bowler, you will be welcome by any of these clubs. Here is a photo of our bowlers visiting the San Diego club in 2014.

Most clubs play on well maintained grass (like Holmby Park, or San Diego), while a few others prefer a type of synthetic carpet surface. Our players have adapted quickly to this faster surface during a recent visit to the Coronado LBC.

The game has its roots in old England, where it has been played since the 13th Century. One of the famous stories indicating the devotion bowlers have to their game is related to Sir Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada. According to the story, on July 18, 1588, Drake was playing a competitive game of bowls at Plymouth Hoe when he was notified that the Spanish Armada was approaching. His immortalized response was “At first, we still have to finish this match!” – and thereafter the English Navy, under his command, soundly defeated the Armada.

Among the many dignitaries who enjoyed playing bowls was President Herbert Hoover. In 1931, our umbrella organization, the American Lawn Bowling Association, presented President Hoover with a set of specially engraved bowls.

Lawn bowling is typically played in an atmosphere of friendliness and good sportsmanship. It is played on a bowling green that is 120’ square. The whole grassy area is marked into 8 rinks (playing fields) allowing each ‘green’ to have 8 matches (16 teams) played at the same time.

The most important equipment you would need is a set of four matching bowls (four, just like President Hoover’s bowl above!), each weighing about 3 pounds. Our club provides the set of four bowls and all equipment free while you are learning the game. Another piece of equipment we provide is a small white ball – we call ‘the jack’. In the simplest terms, the object of the game is to roll your bowls as close as possible to the ‘jack’.

The most frequently played game is ‘triples’ (three bowlers on each team). On each triple team, there are three positions: the ‘Lead’ (most beginners will start at this position), the ‘Vice’ and the ‘Skip’. Learning the correct delivery (rolling) of your bowls will get you more satisfying results.

One unique feature of lawn bowling is that the bowls curve as they roll toward the ‘jack’. Each bowl is heavier on one side (they are skillfully manufactured with this built-in ‘bias’). An elegantly curving bowl reaching its target is one of the most exciting and satisfying sights for an enthusiastic bowler.