PRINCIPAL RULES OF LAWN BOWLING
NUMBER OF BOWLS PLAYED: Singles and Pairs are played with 4,3 or 2 bowls. Triples are played with
3 or 2 bowls and Fours are played with 2 bowls.
END: An END involves the playing of the Jack and all Bowls of each opponent. An End is completed when
both teams have agreed to the score or the end is declared Dead.
DEAD END: An End is declared Dead if the Jack has been hit by another Bowl beyond the boundaries of
the Rink. A Dead End is usually replayed unless the Skips decide not to replay it or the written tournament
rules designate that it not be replayed
STARTING A GAME: The first end starts with the flip of a coin. The player/team who wins the coin toss
has the choice to bowl first or second. After that, the player/team who won the preceding endplays first
(places mat, delivers jack and first bowl), while the player/team who lost the preceding end plays second.
Club procedure: Each Lead rolls a bowl, with one calling “big or little”. The winning call, decides who will
PLACING THE MAT: The front edge of the mat is placed at least 2 m (6 ft 7 in) from the rear ditch, and
not less than 25 m (82 ft) from the front ditch. Club rule: First end only.
DELIVERING THE JACK: The Jack is properly delivered by the Lead as long as it stays within the
boundaries of the Rink and, after being centered, is at least 21 m (75ft 6in) from the front edge of the Mat. If
it comes to rest outside the boundaries of the Rink, lands in the ditch or is less than less than 21 m (75 ft 6
in) from the front edge of the Mat, the Jack is redelivered by the other Lead. If he does not deliver it
properly the Jack is placed 2 m (6 ft 7 in) from the rear ditch and the Mat can be placed at the option of the
first to play provided the Jack is at least 21 m (75 ft 6 in) from the front edge of the Mat. The Lead who
delivered the first Jack bowls the first Bowl of the End.
POSSESSION OF THE RINK: The player whose turn it is to bowl and his Skip shall have possession of
the Rink after the previous Bowl has come to a stop. The player in possession of the Rink can receive
instructions from his Skip during this period until his Bowl comes to rest.
FOOT FAULTING: A player, at the moment he delivers the Jack or his Bowl, must have one foot entirely
within the confines of the MAT. If a player, after a warning, continues to foot fault the Bowl should be
stopped and declared Dead. If the Bowl is not stopped and hits any part of the Head the opposing team
shall remove the Dead Bowl and decide whether the head should be reset, remain as disturbed or the
entire End be declared Dead.
PLAYING OUT OF TURN: If a player bowls out of turn his Bowl should be stopped and replayed in its
proper turn. If the Bowl is not stopped and does not hit any portion of the Head it shall remain as played
and the opposing team shall bowl two Bowls. If the offending Bowl touches the Head, the opposing team
has the option of allowing the Head to remain as disturbed or declaring a Dead End.
DEAD BOWL: A Bowl is declared Dead if (a) it does not travel 14 m (45 ft 11 in) from the front edge of the
Mat, (b) is not a "toucher" and falls into the front ditch or (c) at any time comes to rest beyond the
boundaries of the Rink.
TOUCHER: A Toucher is a Bowl that in the course of being bowled touches the Jack before the next Bowl
has been delivered. A Bowl is not considered a Toucher if it contacts a Jack that is resting in the front ditch.
A Toucher is distinguished by a chalk mark placed on the Bowl. The chalk mark must be removed before
the next end. If a Toucher comes to rest in the front ditch and within the boundary of the Rink it remains in
play and part of the Head.
MOVED OR DITCHED JACK: If a Jack is moved to a different position on the Rink or into the front ditch
within the boundaries of the Rink it shall remain in play and part of the Head.
HEAD DISTURBED BY A PLAYER: If a Jack or Bowl is moved or interfered with by any player while in
motion or at rest or in the Ditch, the opposing Skip shall have the option of (a) having the Jack or Bowl
replaced to its former position or replayed, (b) remain in its disturbed position, (c) declare it a Dead Bowl
and remove it or (d) declare the End Dead.
DISTURBANCE FROM BOWL IN ADJOINING RINK: If a Bowl at rest is likely to be contacted by a Bowl
from an adjoining Rink, it may be lifted out of position and replaced to allow the Bowl to pass.
SCORING: Measurements shall be made from the nearest point of the Jack and the Bowl. If the Jack or
Bowl is moved at the time of measuring by a player it shall be restored to its former position by an
opponent. If some measurements have been agreed to prior to movement of the Jack or Bowl such
agreements shall stand. The team having the nearest Bowl to the Jack shall score one point and one
additional point for every Bowl that is nearer the Jack than the nearest Bowl of the opponent. The score for
an end will be final when both opponents agree and signal the score. HINT: In the case of multiple points,
place a small towel on the Green prior to measuring and then place each scoring bowl on that towel.
THE ABOVE RULES ARE THE MOST COMMON RULES USED IN LAWN BOWLING AND ARE NOT
EVERYONE SHOULD READ THE ENTIRE SET OF THE LAWS OF THE SPORT OF BOWLS AND
BOWLS USA DOMESTIC REGULATIONS (REVISED 2015).