How Long Does A Game Of Lawn Bowls Take? | A Simple Guide

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

When starting out bowls it can be hard to know how much time you need to leave to play your game. Its one thing to arrange a game with a friend, but how long should the game take?

Bowls has a reputation for being a long and slow game, but this is not always true – some of the shorter formats can be played in under 45 minutes.

Lets look at some of the common formats of lawn bowls and look at how long each one takes on average.

FormatDuration (Time)Duration (Ends)
Singles (2 Wood)45 mins- 1.5 hours12-25
Singles (4 Wood)1-2.5 hours15-30
Pairs2-3 hours21
Triples2-3 hours18
Fours2-3 hours21

How Many Ends Does A Game Of Bowls Last

One of the ways bowls games can be played is by playing a certain number of ends. This is a great approach to team formats, as ends take longer with more people involved.

If these games were played to a certain number of shots, games could last for several hours – especially if it a low scoring game.

Of course even the games played to a certain number of shots you can get a rough idea on how many ends will be played – so I have included these (with a range) in my table.

FormatDuration (Ends)
Singles (2 Wood)12-25
Singles (4 Wood)15-30

These are the standards in the UK, however in many other regions all team formats are played to 18 ends.

How Much Time Does A Lawn Bowls Game Last For

A game of bowls can last anywhere from 3 hours on the high end, to under an hour in the shortest format.

As a general rule, the more people involved, the longer the game will last! This is not just because there are more bowls in play, but also because decisions and discussions can take up plenty of time.

FormatDuration (Time)
Singles (2 Wood)45 mins- 1.5 hours
Singles (4 Wood)1-2.5 hours
Pairs2-3 hours
Triples2-3 hours
Fours2-3 hours

It is rare for games to last longer than 3 hours, so you can always squeeze a game in on a mid-week evening!

The shortest format is Two Wood Singles. This is obviously quicker as:

  1. Only two players are involved
  2. It has the fewest number of bowls in play

Games can be as short as 30 minutes, if it as a particularly one sided affair, but even in a normal tight game, you should expect to finish in an hour.

The longest games are usually found in the Fours. This isn’t even because there are more bowls in play – as you will find more in a Triples game. This is usually because the game is taken a bit more seriously (especially at club level), so more time is taken on shot selection.


Games of bowls can last several hours, but you will find it is a shorter game than other popular past times, such as cricket or a full round of golf.

Certain formats can even be finished in a shorter time than a game of football – this is especially true for the singles formats.