Skipping a lawn bowls team is demanding. You could be called on to play any shot at any given moment.
Most other roles in a bowls team has some defined role – the lead draws, the 2nd and 3rd build with draws and weighted shots – but the skip? Take your pick!
Therefore picking a bowl can become a minefield. You’d ideally what, a narrow bowl for playing draws, but something with a bit of extra bias to get around short bowls, and also something that holds it’s line when playing with weight. Not much to ask for then!
In this guide I’ll take you through how to pick the best model for you, and your game.
Top 5 Lawn Bowls For Skips
How to choose a model as a skip
As I suggested above, choosing a model of bowl as a skip is tricky as there aren’t any particular strong shot tendencies. The best way to approach it is to look at how you play bowls and find a model that suits that, rather than the role.
Lets take a look at a couple of examples.
What surface you play on
This is the most common factor – do you play indoor, outdoor or both?
If you play indoor, then you’ll want a model that swings less, as you won’t need the extra swing that is needed for slower outdoor greens. On the other hand if you play outdoor, you open up the options of the higher biases.
The tricky bit comes when you play both. The vast majority of bowlers can only afford one set for all year round, so a reliable mid bias bowl is need.
Once you remove all the models that aren’t suited to where you play, you’ll be left with your short list.
What bias to choose
The general rule for skips is “the more bias the better”. The logic here is that narrower biased bowls have trouble getting around short bowls.
Whilst this is true, it’s not always necessary to have a massively swingy bowl. You simply need “enough”. Bowling with less bias is always easier, especially for those who have taken up the game in the last 10 years – as bowls don’t bend as much as they used to!
In the end how much bias is “enough” will depend on your own personal preference.
Here is a run down of the 5 models I would recommend.
Best lawn bowls for skips (Indoor) -Taylor Ace
The Taylor Ace is one of the most popular models on the market – and for good reason. The Ace is a mid-biased bowl which performs well on indoor and outdoor surfaces so is great for those who play all year round.
You can pick up 2nd hand sets quite easily, so you don’t need to break the bank either.
Best lawn bowls for skips (Outdoor) -Aero Sonic
The Sonic is at the top of Aero’s biases – you won’t find a stronger biased Aero bowl out there!
I’ve always been a huge fan of Aero bowls, so adding the Sonic in this list was a no-brainer for me. I could have quiet easily gone for the GrooVe, but the bit extra bias of the Sonic sold it to me.
The International is the second Taylor model on my list. The International has more bias than the Ace, so is perfect for outdoor greens.
The extra bias will help get around those annoying short bowls, and also plays well when playing with weight. For me, the International is a greatly underrated bowl.
Drakes Pride Professional
Much like the Ace, the Drakes Pride Professional is incredibly popular all over the world.
The Professional is a mid-biased bowl popular with some of the best bowlers in the world, so you’d be in good company!
Much like the Ace, the Professional is duel-purpose, so you can easily use it on Indoor and outdoor surfaces.
The Tiger model is one of Henselite’s biggest sellers.
It is one of the highest biased bowls in their range, so will suit those who prefer a swingier bowl. Due to the amount of swing it produces this is likely one that you will want to keep for the outdoor greens.
At the end of the day, a good skip can play with any set of bowls. Your own personal preference is more important than the bells and whistles added to these models!