Top 4 Lawn bowls for leads
Whether you are an experienced bowler, or a beginner buying your first set of bowls, it’s important to get the right woods with the characteristics you need. Being lead comes with a very specific requirements, make sure you have the right model of bowls to perform at your best! The right choice can make your game a whole lot easier!
Here we will be looking at the top 4 models for the biggest brands in bowls, with a variety of styles, and prices to suit any bowler.
How to choose a set of bowls
There are multiple things to consider when selecting a set of bowls as a lead.
Firstly, what is the bias characteristic of the model? As a lead it is generally considered better to buy bowls with a narrow line. The reasoning being that less movement on the swing will lead to a smaller difference between shots. Also, as a lead there is unlikely to be many other bowls blocking your chosen hand, this leaves you free to find the model with the best line for you. Whilst a narrow bowl isn’t a guarantee for consistency it is usually a safe bet.
A strong draw shot required for lead is built on consistency. This is also true for the bowls you use. All major brands use computer controlled machines to manufacture their woods, which makes variation between individual bowls undetectable. For this reason we recommend new, or near new bowls.
The final part of a bowl’s line characteristics is it’s “finish”. This describes how bowl acts as it slows down and finishes its movement towards the jack (hopefully!). A lead will require a bowl that has a “flat” finish, that is to say it follows a consistent path from its normal arc of travel. A model with a hooking finish can add extra movement, which in turn adds extra variability, which we are looking to remove.
Finally, where are you planning on playing? Some models focus either on indoor, or outdoor play whereas others try to be multi-purpose. Make sure you get the most on your purchase, especially if you play year round.
Drakes Pride D-Tec
The d-tec is Drakes Pride’s flagship narrow biased model. It hits many of the attributes that we outlined above, specifically a good narrow line, a smooth flat finish and all for a better-than-average price. You can read our full review of the d-tec here.
Whilst technically an indoor bowl, but can be used for outdoor play too making it a versatile choice.
There is a strong second hand market for all of the Drakes Pride range, making this also a good choice if you are on a budget. You can find our second hand buyers guide here, which also has some great tips on finding the best deal.
Drakes Pride Professional
Drakes Pride is such a mainstay of the bowls world that they actually appear twice on this list! The Professional model is the most popular of all the Drakes Pride models and is a great option for outdoor bowlers. Whilst it doesn’t have such a narrow line as the d-tec, it is designed specifically for outdoor play, so will play better on heavier, early season greens.
As this model was designed for general outdoor play it does have a hooked finish, which can be unforgiving for lead play. If you are playing a lot of singles play, this could come in handy, this will need to be considered carefully.
“Top quality bowls from a leading manufacturer”
Amazon Customer Review
Taylor Vector VS
With a clean, narrow line and a smooth finish, you’d do well to find a better lead bowl than the Taylor Vector VS. You can read our full review of the Vector VS here.
The Vector VS is reportedly the most popular model in Australia, as well as indoors, pointing to the fact it was designed for faster greens. This is important to point out, especially with how slow some greens can be during the early season!
The Vector VS comes in at a slightly higher price point, so could be considered a more “premium” choice, however there is a strong second hand market for them, so you maybe able to get the benefits for a more reasonable price.
“improved my indoor bowling no end!””
Amazon Customer Review
Next we have another outdoor specialist. The Quantum is one of Aero’s midline models, so is perfect for those tricky early season greens. Despite not being as narrow as some of the other bowls on our list, it does have a clean finish which will aid your lead play.
The Aero ranges also have a couple of features which you won’t see on the other big names. Firstly, they have their unique “Z Scoop” grip, which Aero say improves control, and allows the bowl to feel smaller in your hand, which is ideal if you want to try a slightly larger bowl. The design team at Areo have improved the profile of their bowls to make them less affected in windy conditions, which is ideal for the traditional English summer!
Because of the extra bells and whistles developed by Aero, the Quantum is also in the “premium” price range. The second hand market isn’t as strong as other models, so finding a set for a reasonable may be tricky.
As you can see there are lots of choice out there for any bowler looking to upgrade their bowls. Many are also readily available in second hand marketplaces making buying far cheaper than buying from your local store.
To find out more on how to get the best price for your bowls please check out our second hand buyers guide here.