What are the best lawn bowls for ladies? We break down the most important issues to help you make the best choice.
Lawn bowls is a great example of a sport where the playing field is even between men and women. There is nothing stopping a quality female player playing against – and beating – the best men in the world.
This is also true when selecting lawn bowl models. All bowls can be used by either gender – and can be used equally well. There are however a few points which should be taken into consideration when selecting a lawn bowl for a woman.
In this article I’ll guide you through the different options, as well as giving my top recommendations for lawn bowls for ladies.
Are there specific ladies models of bowls? No, all models are unisex, however most manufacturers offer specific features which my help many female bowlers.
NOTE: In this article I will be making some very broad assumptions, and will be basing this on the average characteristics. So if you are taller than average, or have a stronger grip than average, then these points will likely not be aimed at you.
Getting a comfortable and secure grip can be a real problem for some. This often leads female bowlers to use very small bowls. It is not uncommon for female bowlers to use size 00 – which for many brands is the smallest size available.
These small bowls can lead to other problems. Smaller bowls require more effort to deliver – again on average ladies will have less strength in the shoulder, and are also (on average) shorter, so less body weight is delivered through the shot.
In combination this can make it much harder for the bowler to deliver towards a long jack. And almost impossible to deliver to a long jack with any kind of line or weight control consistently.
Weight and size can vary from manufacturers. Some produce slightly heavier bowls at the same size. This will be important to get as much weight as is comfortable. This extra weight will help the bowl carry much more momentum, making it travel further with little extra effort.
Getting the most weight for the size will help get as much momentum in the shot, and should allow your bowl to stay in place, whilst maintaining comfort in your hand
Some manufacturers offer bowls in slimline ranges. Effectively a slimline bowl is narrower, whilst maintaining the diameter along the running surface.
The narrower bowl will sit much more comfortably than a standard bowl for those with smaller hands. This will then aid the grip on the bowl.
There are other general factors which need to be considered when selecting a bowl. These are more general factors, and aren’t exclusively for women. I’ve covered this in detail in other posts, but this is a good time to summarise.
When bowling outdoors you will need a model with a stronger bias – especially in UK conditions.
Indoor surfaces, and outdoor greens in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are much faster and will require a straighter bowl.
Every brand will note what surfaces each model will be good for.
Bowlers who play the lead role alot will often go for a narrower bowl. As there are rarely bowls blocking the route to the head there is no need for a bowl that can draw around the short stuff.
A narrower bowl will have a more direct line to the jack, making line and weight control easier.
Conversely if you play skip, you will want something to get around any short woods in the head. You will therefore want a stronger biased bowl.
As we develop from beginner to intermediate players we may find we move up and down team positions, so a more balanced bowl is required. A balanced bowl (often referred to as a “mid-biased” bowl) will be just narrow enough to make drawing easier, but will also just have enough turn to get around anything short.
The best mid-biased bowls will also play well indoors and outdoors.
I often recommend a mid-biased bowl to club players as they will give you everything you need regardless of the conditions, or the quality of greens you play on.
One of the easiest ways to have better control over a bigger bowl is to get one with an embedded grip.
These grips are channeled into the bowl, effectively making it feel smaller in the hand. Here are my two favourites.
Taylor’s Progrip and Xtreme grips are based on the common dimple grip.
Both are set slightly within the bowl, and the dimples are more pronounced than usual. I have reviewed the Progrip on my review of the Taylor International model.
The Xtreme Grip takes this style of grip a step further with a much deeper groove.
Again a grip set within the bowl, but with Aero’s unique Zigzag grip (hence the name Z-Scoop).
This is my personal favourite grip, and is on my day-to-day bowls – the Aero Quantum. You can see a review for them here.
|Taylor||Vector VS||UK & Aus/New Zealand|
Here are my recommendations for indoor bowls for ladies. This includes models for all countries.
Region: UK & Aus/New Zealand
The Vector VS is one of the premier indoor bowls. Also pretty handy on the outdoor greens.
Available with the Progrip too, which will help controlling a slightly larger bowl
The Fineline is very similar to the Drakes Pride Professional, however the line is slightly narrower.
The Professional itself is a great duel purpose bowl (it is playable both indoor and outdoor) – but the Fineline is a fantastic indoor specialist.
Some sellers even offer this with the Drakes Pride Channel grip
Region: Aus/New Zealand
A fantastic all round bowl, but with a couple of fun tweaks.
The Dreamline is at home on either indoor or outdoor greens, and is capable of handling the variety of green conditions found throughout Australia.
The grip is actually positioned lower on the shoulder of the bowl, this means you don’t need to stretch your thumb higher up on the bowl. The bowl effectively feels smaller in your hand.
Many modern coaches advise the bowler to hold the bowl with the thumb at its natural resting point. The re-positioned Dreamline XG grip is aligned with this point
|Drakes Pride||Conquest||Aus/New Zealand|
These are the best outdoor bowls. I have also included my selections for the Southern Hemisphere market!
Available with the Progrip. The Dimpled progrip will help control the bowl, and the Ace is one of the most popular models available on the UK market.
A great mid-biased bowl, will be perfect for all abilities, and will grow with you.
Great all round bowl. Available with the Z-Scoop grip, so will help with holding the bowl
Same line and bias as the hugely popular Professional model, however the PRO-50 comes with Drakes Pride’s “Channel” grip.
Another embedded grip option, but with the added benefit of a model that is tried and tested.
Region: Aus/New Zealand
The Conquest is one of the best bowls in Australian conditions. It doesn’t have any of the fancy grips like some of the others, but it will perform well week in week out.