What are the best straight lawn bowls? Read our guide on why you should consider straighter bowls, and which model is best for you.
Top 7 straight lawn bowls
Bowls is all about getting close to the jack. Your draw shot is your bread and butter, and will often be the difference between winning and losing, so it is imperative to be constantly looking for ways to improve it.
Evey competitive bowler will look for an edge in order to win. The best way to improve your draw shot – after technical improvement – is to consider a straighter set of bowls. In this guide, we will take a look at why, as well as recommend a few models.
Just as a safety warning – this is a “touchy” subject for some, so be prepared to take some flak! Let’s dive in.
There are 4 main reasons to consider a slightly straighter set of bowls.
Straighter bowls will miss by less if you get your line wrong. By the fact that they turn less, if you miss your line they won’t drift off dramatically as a wider bowl would.
Weight control is easier as the jack is likely to be in your eye line. Having a direct point of reference for your weight control will help your brain calculate the distance.
The distance travelled is shorter so less effort should be required. The line to the jack is more direct, this will help if you struggle to reach on longer jacks.
Weighted draws are much easier. A straighter set of bowls hold their line longer. This makes “yard-on” shots easier. With a wider bias bowl, it can be tricky to judge yard-on shot weights, as you need to consider how much the bowl will bend with the extra weight. Straighter bowls have much less variance so the margin for error is in your favour
The main concern with a straighter bowl is they often struggle to get around short bowls, therefore they are great for leads.
A lead’s game is based on the draw and any advantage can be huge for the rest of the team.
Straighter bowls can also be used for singles games, especially if you are good at changing hands (forehand to backhand and vice versa). There are usually very few short bowls to contend with, and if you do encounter one, you can just switch hands.
In singles play a straight bowl can often be better for attacking shots too. A straighter bowl will turn less on a weighted draw which will make line judgement much easier. Also, with a full drive, a straighter bowl may not turn at all.
There is a debate amongst the bowls community about whether or not straight lawn bowls are “fair” – or if they should be even legal.
On one hand, bowls manufacturers are making them with these biases, why not take advantage? If a set of straighter bowls suits your game, and they make it easier
This will come down to personal preference, however, I believe there is a balance to be had. At some point “straighter” becomes “straight”, and you might as well be playing skittles. On the other hand, I see no issue with using a model that is designed for leads, and general front end play. I can’t see a point in using a much wider bias bowl when it’s not needed.
There are many different models and biases for a reason. If we wanted parity across the game then there would only be one bias. You have a choice – just make it a sensible one.
The main factor to consider when selecting a straighter model bowl is the conditions you are playing in.
For example, a straighter bowl for a slow outdoor green will likely have a very wide bias indoors. It is all about selecting a bowl that is on the edge of the condition you are playing in.
Here are our recommendations for each common playing condition.
Indoor bowls will require the straightest models available. Any model that is considered the narrowest by their manufacturer will be ideal. We have picked out two here.
The D-Tec is one of the best narrow line bowls available. Ideal for indoor conditions, the d-tec offers a consistent flat finishing draw shot.
The Defiance is the narrowest bowl in the Aero range. I love Aero bowls, mainly for their grip, and sizing options, but they also have fantastically consistent draw arcs throughout their range.
Slow outdoor greens will play pretty straight at the best of times – so it’s important not to get too carried away with your selection. Here are a few wide indoor bias bowls which should be ideal for the slower outdoor game.
Taylor has a fantastic range of bowls. The Vector VS is known as a wide biased indoor model, however, I have seen them play very well outdoors. The bias lends itself for leads and will play straighter on slower greens
Another one from the Aero range. The Quantum is one of Aero’s dual-purpose models, so it has been designed for outdoor greens. This sits on the narrower side of the dual-purpose range, so will be ideal for a narrower style of play
The Classic II is based on the hugely popular Classic model. The main difference is that it’s designed to run straighter, and will a less pronounced “hook” on it’s finish. It is designed for indoor and fast outdoor, but will play straighter on the slower outdoor surfaces.
Outdoor greens can be some of the fastest surfaces to play on, therefore we need a much narrower bowl. A solid indoor model will be great in these conditions.
The Lazer was designed for indoor, and fast outdoor greens. Its the narrowest model in the Taylor range, so it will fit the bill for anyone who plays on fast outdoor rinks regularly.
One final Aero recommendation (I did say I was a fan). The Profile model sits near the bottom of the Aero bias chart. Much like the Taylor Lazer, the Profile was designed to be a narrow biased, straighter model.
Certain models in certain conditions can be considered “too straight” and are likely to be against the spirit of the game.
Be prepared to take some flak from other players, as straight bowls may even be considered cheating by some. The models we have selected should give some turn, so should be seen as ok by most bowlers.
There is a balance to be had between keeping the integrity of the game and using “the right tool” for the job at hand.