What Equipment Do You Need For Lawn Bowls? | A Complete Guide

  • By: Reece Williams
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Lawn bowls is not a sport that requires a great deal of expensive equipment. If you have difficulty bending at the knees or back problems, some simple devices can help, but if you don’t have health issues, you won’t need them. The bowls themselves are obviously essential items.

To play lawn bowls, you need a set of bowls, a foot mat, a smaller white ball called a jack, and a pair of shoes with flat smooth soles. Shoes with rough, ribbed soles can damage the green, so you can’t use ordinary trainers. You also need a measuring tape and a small piece of chalk.

Most bowling clubs supply foot mats, so you needn’t go out and buy one. The tape measure is explicitly made for lawn bowls, so you can’t use just any kind. This article explains the equipment you need for lawn bowls in a bit more detail for those just starting out.

Clothing For Lawn Bowls

In the past, lawn bowls players had to wear all white, but this is no longer the case. These days, most clubs have their own colours and shirts that bear their logos. They require you to wear these at competitions and tournaments but not necessarily if you are just playing a casual, social game.

The important thing about clothing is that it should be comfortable and loose, allowing you to move freely. As for shoes, you don’t need specialised bowling shoes as long as they don’t have heels and heavily patterned soles that can gouge the green.

Since you could be standing for hours in the sun, it’s best to get a hat, preferably white. The style of the hat doesn’t usually matter. As a beginner, you can’t go wrong with a white shirt, white shorts or trousers, and white shoes.

A Set Of Lawn Bowls

A set of lawn bowls is essential. They come in different colours and slightly varying sizes but must be standard bowls. If you have small hands, you may need a somewhat smaller, lighter bowl than if you have larger hands.

The bowls are the most expensive piece of equipment you must have to play lawn bowls. It’s best to have someone advise you on the proper size if you are an absolute beginner. Clubs have coaches or experienced players who can help you with this.

The jack is a small white ball usually supplied by the club, but it can be useful to have your own for a game with a friend. A small towel or duster can be used to wipe down damp or dusty bowls to improve your grip.

The Mat

The mat is typically made of hard-wearing rubber. It is usually provided by the club and is of a standard size. The mat helps you correctly place your feet during a game, and the rules require that you have at least one foot on or over the mat when delivering the bowl.

The Tape Measure

The tape measure comes in various designs and is used to determine which bowl is closest to the jack. It is made specifically for lawn bowls and is not an expensive item. As a beginner, you generally

don’t have to worry about getting a tape measure as the more experienced players around you will likely have one, but it’s a good idea to buy your own at some stage.

You also get calipers to measure the distance between bowls when it isn’t possible to use the tape measure, but this is not essential for a beginner.


Although other products can be used to mark a bowl, ordinary blackboard chalk is fine. If a bowl touches the jack, it is usually marked with chalk to show that it is a ‘toucher‘. Touchers have a special status in terms of the rules of the game.


You don’t need much equipment for lawn bowls. The most expensive item you will have to buy is a set of bowls. Other than that, you need flat, smooth-soled shoes, a bowls tape measure, some chalk, and of course, a bowling green.