Lawn bowls is played on a green surrounded by a gutter and littered with markings, sometimes in an array of colours. These markings are incredibly baffling to outsiders who mistake the green as being on par with a court. Instead, the green is home to many “courts” known as rinks. Thus, a person finds the markings far less overwhelming once they understand they are looking at a series of games.
A lawn bowl green is generally divided into six equal rinks to allow concurrent games. The markings are to indicate the rink number, its center, and boundaries. There are also distance markers that help players gauge their bowls and the distance of the jack.
To the uninitiated, the markings can be overwhelming. However, the majority are marking distances, similar to American footballers keeping track of which yard line they’re on. These markings also help players line up their shots and observe any natural banks or inclines on the green. This is similar to a golfer gauging a green’s terrain in order to predict a ball’s behaviour.
A Brief Guide To A Lawn Bowls Green
Lawn bowls is played on a green, which is a square patch of grass, or an approved synthetic grass alternative, such as Astro Turf. If the grass is natural, it must be meticulously maintained, much like golf courses take special care of their greens.
The Shape And Size Of A Lawn Bowl Green
A lawn bowling green is a square that generally ranges between 31m to 40m (34-43.5 yards). The square shape allows players to play north to south one week and east to west another week. The rotation of play helps preserve the green. In each far corner of the green, there might also be a flag.
The Ditch: Lawn Bowl Green Boarder
The lawn bowling green’s most notable marker is the ditch. This tiny moat is 200mm-380mm wide (8-12 inches) and has a depth between 50mm-200mm (2-8 inches). It is there to safely “catch” bowls that have gone out of bounds so they do not get damaged by surfaces beyond the green. It also provides an easy-to-see boundary.
Surrounding the ditch will be a plinth on the side of the play. This is to prevent bowls from rolling into the ditch. Of course, it doesn’t save them all, but most will come to rest against it.
The Rinks: The “Courts” On A Lawn Bowl Green
The green is divided into sections, typically six. There will be number markers so each team will easily find their rink. The rinks run the length of the green and are between 4.3m and 5.8m wide (4.7-6.3 yards).
The exact dimensions of the rinks will be identified by pegs no bigger than 25mm wide (1 inch). The colour of the pegs can vary, but they will be consistent for each rink.
The Centre Line And Metre Markings: Lawn Bowl Green
Each rink will have other markings, which are sometimes confusingly in the same colour as the pegs. However, these are measurement markings.
There may also be one that marks the centre line of each rink. This allows players to align themselves properly when making a play. This may not always be present, and its more often found on Australian greens.
There will also be distance markers along the banks of the green. These indicate 2m (2 yards) from the end of the ditches and the 23m (25 yards) mark. The 23m mark is noteworthy as a jack that does not reach or cross this line is not in play. The other measurements are helpful guides when placing the mat and lining up for a shot.
Lawn bowls greens are littered with markings. However, the majority are used to signify boundaries and distances. It simply looks like a lot because you are looking at a “court” of six games, not one.