Are Short Mat Bowls Different To Lawn Bowls? | A Complete Guide

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

Are short mat bowls the same as lawn bowls? This is my guide to the two games, and what is required to play both games.

Are Short Mat Bowls Different To Lawn Bowls?

Short mat bowls is a popular format for many lawn bowlers in the off season. It’s something that can be played socially indoors in the evenings whilst the weather is grey and wet – and can be played alongside other popular “off-season” pursuits such as the full indoor game or (at least true in my neck of the woods) skittles.

But for those not familiar with the game there are some concerns about needing to double up on equipment. This obviously isn;t true for shoes or clothing – as any valid bowls shoes will be fine for short mat. The main concern is with the bowls themselves. Can a bowler use the same set they use for the outdoor and/or indoor game? Or are there special bowls purely for short mat?

Let’s look at this in a bit more detail.

Are Short Mat Bowls different to lawn bowls?

Any set of lawn bowls would be acceptable for playing short mat bowls. There are no special requirements that require a different set of bowls that are different to an outdoor or indoor set of bowls.

Short mat bowls should not be confused with carpet bowls, which is a very different game. Carpet bowls are much smaller than those used in the “full scale” game (i.e. outdoor, indoor, or short mat bowls).

Top 5 Models for Short Mat Bowls

Any set of outdoor bowls will be fine for the short mat version of the game. However, popular mid-biased models are the most popular by bowlers.

BrandModelPrice (second hand)
Drakes PrideProfessional£50-£120
HenseliteTiger Pro£130-£180
Drakes PridePRO-50£80-£120
TaylorVector VS£80-£120
Top models of Short Mat bowls

What size are short mat bowls?

The size of a short mat bowl will depend on the size you get. Size are labelled in numeric order and range from 000 to 5 (smallest to largest). The diameter of a short mat bowl starts at 112mm and goes up to 127mm. The weight of a short mat bowl ranges from 1.075kg to 1.58kg – again depending on the size used.

The size of bowl required will depend on the size of the hands of the bowler. As a guide, you go to the biggest size you can comfortably hold. A great test for this is if you can wrap both hands around the running surface of the bowl and have your middle fingers and thumbs touch at either side.

Are carpet bowls the same as lawn bowls?

No, carpet bowls are not the same as lawn bowls. This is a common misconception as carpet bowls is often confused with short mat bowls, the two are very different games.

A carpet bowl is much smaller than a lawn bowl – roughly 60% the size of an average lawn bowl. Carpet bowls only come in one size, again different from lawn bowls which come in many sizes depending on the needs of the bowler.


In short (excuse the pun) lawn bowls can be used for indoor, outdoor, or short mat bowls. There is much crossover between the three games and a good set of mid-biased bowls would be ideal for playing all three.