Crown Green Rules for Beginners | A Complete Guide

  • By: Reece Williams
  • Time to read: 9 min.

A perfect mixture of sports, nature, fresh air, and bowls, crown green bowling could become your next favorite thing if you learn to play it well. If you are new to this game, you must get familiar with some of the basic rules of bowls to enjoy it to the fullest.

Whether you want to become a professional player or play just for fun, it is important to know the crown green bowling rules and follow them. This sports activity is perfect for those who want to stay in touch with nature and yet hold bowls in their hands.

The game requires enthusiasm and faith and some good tactics and sticking to the rules, so if you want to make the best of it, stay tuned and read the most important crown green bowls rules.

Crown Green Bowling – What Is It?

If you have not played bowls until now, the first thing you should know is that crown green bowling takes place outside. It dates back to the 13th century when the first bowl was rolled among the British people. Nowadays crown green bowls is mostly played in the northern parts of England.

Crown green bowls is an outdoor game that requires a bowl rolled towards a not moving bowl known as the jack. The game is played against other players, so the goal is to roll your bowls closer to the jack than the opponent’s bowls. This can also be accomplished if you just knock aside the bowl of the opponent or the jack itself.

The playing area of the game is known as the bowling green, which can be either grass or turf. The “crown” in the name comes from the uneven surface of the bowling green. The surface has raised center called the crown.

How to Play Crown Green Bowls – Basic Rules for Beginners

Follow these basic rules to win the game of bowls and bring joy to your club.

General Crown Green Bowling Rules

These are the basics before you even start rolling the bowls.

1. There is a coin toss to decide whose team goes first. The name of the first player is the lead or the leader. The leader needs to have a floor mat for his foot and he rolls the jack first.

2. To be considered ‘in play’, the jack has to travel further than 23 meters.

3. Each player takes their turn to bowl. A point is scored when your bowls are closer to the jack than those of the opposing team. After the end is finished, the bowling starts from the opposite direction.

4. Should the bowls fall in the ditch, they are not counted. Still, there is an exception. If the bowl manages to touch the jack prior to falling into the ditch, it can be counted. You do not get scores if the jack goes further than the boundaries. This is known as a dead end and bowling rules say the end should be replayed.

5. Players are allowed to knock the bowls of the other players. So, you use your bowls to strike the opponent, and that way you have the upper hand.

6. The needed number of points that you should score to win the game should be fixed before you start paying.

7. The divisions of the rinks have to be of width between 4.3 and 5.8 meters and of length between31 to 40 meters.

8. One green can have several rinks used in a play. All the rinks have to have the same measurements.

Once Prepared, Start the Game

These are the crown green bowling rules you need to know once the game starts.

Crown green bowls is played by two players on a green. Each player has two bowls. Roll the bowls alternatively until both players deliver the two bowls. The point is to be as closer to the jack as possible. You win a point if you deliver your bowl nearer to the jack than the opponent.

Crown green bowls can be played in singles, in pairs, with three players, or sometimes four in a team. The same rules matter no matter the number of players in a team.

The footer mat must be placed three meters away from the entrance of the turf and one meter away from the edge. As a player, you must stand on the footer and have your foot on the mat when you push the bowl/jack. If you place the right foot on the mat, you have to play with the bowls with the right foot. If you place the left one, you have to roll with the left hand. You must bowl with the same hand during all the hitting attempts.

You should keep your footer possession until the bowl stops running. If the mat is moved by accident, it has to be put in the same place as close as possible on the greens.

You are not allowed to change your bowls or the jack in the course of the game. If they are somehow damaged and you cannot proceed to play with the same bowls, the referee will decide that should be done.

If it so happens that the first bowl of the opponent is fortified, the leader’s second bowl is played. Then comes the remaining bowl of the opponent.

The player is not allowed to obstruct the opponent’s view or stand behind the jack and close the view.

How Does Scoring Work

These are the scoring rules:

Different competitions have different scoring rules. Most frequently, the first one who scores 21 points is considered the winner. The other method for winning would be to reach a greater number of scores after 18-21 ends.

When the round is finished, the player whose bowls were closest to the jack receives one point.

The game is often played in sets. To win a set means to be the first one who will win seven points. In the end, the winner is the one who first wins four or five sets, or whatever you agreed upon.

To count, the bowl has to be played three meters from the mat and then rest on the bowling green, unless all the opposing bowls are out already. You will be the winner if you have not less than one bowl in play and all of the opponent bowls are out of play.

The winner must indicate the end result to the markers. After every third end finishes, the markers should have the same score cards or agree on them.

What are The Bowls Made Of

In the past, crown green bowls were made of hard wood found in the southern parts of the planet. This is known as lignum vitae. Usually, the wood was just picked up through lots of timber. Today, the composite bowls are made of phenolic resin.

Because they used to be made of wood, they are still known as ‘woods’, although most of them are made out of plastic.

How to Choose the Best Bowls for Beginners

If you were older you would know that all of the bowls used to be wooden so the difference was only in their size. However, today they are made from different materials which makes them stronger and more resilient. You can choose the different weights, densities, and sizes.

The weights go from 2Ib 4oz to 2Ib 14oz. If you choose a heavier bowl make sure you have large hands because they are larger. The important thing is that larger bowls can travel a further distance than smaller ones. The opponent will not be able to knock them off so easily, as is the case with the lighter bowls. The best advice in this sport is to choose the wood that feels the most comfortable in your hand and that can go to the furthest distance.

When it comes to density, there are three types: standard, high and low. Beginners are strongly advised to choose their first set of bowls with standard density. Those who have bowled know that these work well on both fast and slow greens.

Crown Green Bowls vs. Flat Green Bowls

Flat green bowling is similar to crown green bowling with some slight differences. Flat green bowls, also known as lawn bowls are played indoors, while crown green bowls are strictly played in the open.

The greens are usually 40 square yards. The surface is uneven and raised. The flat greens, on the other hand, offer less variation in the path of the bowl because they are even.

Crown green bowling is played with two bowls only, whereas flat green bowling is played with four bowls. This is one of the key differences between the two variations of the game.

The weight of crown green bowls ranges from 2Ib to 3Ib. They are either made of wood or composite and are somehow eccentric, which makes the bowl have a biased side (the one side of the bowl that is heavier).

Flat green bowls are larger, their weight ranges from 3Ib to 4Ib. Their bias side is much more off-center and pronounced.

The jack in crown green bowling is a very important part of the equipment. The jack is a smaller bowl weighing around 32oz with the same eccentric shape and bias. Once it is rolled, the jack must not be touched or moved. No one can touch or change neither the jack nor the bowls.

The jack in flat green bowling is just a composite ball, like snooker. If the players want to the official can move the jack from its place.

How to Hold and Deliver Crown Green Bowls

Your body and foot position, posture, balanced, and mindset are very important for a playing crown green bowling successfully. Before you roll the first wood, your back foot must be in the center of the footer.

When it comes to the delivery, you should know that this is a personal thing, and each player plays different styles. The smoother you manage to roll the bowl when you step forward, the better score you will get.

The good thing is that your physical size does not matter that much when playing crown green bowling. What matters is how you position and apply yourself to have the perfect running bowl. These are the steps you should follow:

Backswing to pick up the bowl. Let the bowl weight show you the distance before the downswing.

During the downswing, the arms go forward and you accelerate the speed of the arm. Then, you let the bowl release it as closer as parallel to the green as possible.

For the release, let the bowl roll naturally. Early release can cause a reduction in the distance the bowl will travel on the green.

Next comes the follow-through. This is very important because once you let the bowl go, the movement of the arm afterward affects the route of the bowl and how far it will travel.

Finally, work on adjusting the distance by changing the delivery speed depending on the green. On a dry green, the adjustment is far less dramatic than on a wet or heavy green.

Do Not Be Discouraged and Improve Yourself

Should any dead bowl on the green discourage you from trying again? Should you start hating these games just because you did not succeed the first time? Of course not. Keep trying until at least one bowl travels close to the jack. Get familiar with the non bias side of the bowl.

If you are the one with the jack, keep the jack in one hand and your first bowl in the other hand. That way you will not lose track of the jack line.

Never feel discouraged if your opponent is more experienced. Just concentrate and keep your balance. You can only affect your bowl in this green sport, not the opponents.

Try to get to know the green. Check if the green has any holes, ridges, or something that will make the bowl roll in a curved path on the green.

Stay relaxed and release the tension just as you release the bowl letting it slide on the green.


Breaking the rules can be a fun thing to do, but not in green bowling. Crown green bowling rules are there to be followed if you want to make the best of the sport and beat your opponent. You must know the steps and moves needed to play it right and according to the laws. Do not be discouraged if you have some difficulties in the beginning because practice makes perfect and crown green bowling is just the right sport to prove that.

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Perfect for beginners and improving players looking to be more consistent and win more games!