Lawn bowls is one of the cheapest games you can take up. Compared to other sports that require expensive equipment, lawn bowls only requires you to have a flat pair of shoes, everything else can be borrowed to start you off. When you approach a club as a new player they will often have all of the necessary equipment ready for you to borrow so you can get going straight away.
However, if you decide to take up the sport, either competitively or just socially you’ll want to consider a few costs
How much does lawn bowls cost?
Whilst you can give lawn bowls a try for virtually nothing, you can expect to pay anything from £120 to upwards of £400 to get all of the necessary equipment.
If you do take it up then here is an overview of what you will need to pay for:
- Membership fees
- Lawn bowls
- Shoes and clothing
- Additional equipment
In this article we’ll run through the expected costs of each so you can get an idea on what to expect when you take the game on properly.
Every club will charge you an annual fee to join. This goes towards the upkeep of the green, the facilities around it, as well as the social events that take place.
The fee you pay will depend on the club, and what facilities/events they put on, however you should expect to pay in the region of £80-£100 per year.
When you start it’s absolutely fine to borrow a set from the club. Every club will have a well stocked selection of bowls in every size, however it is advisable to get a set of your own. This allows you to find a set that:
- suits your playing style
- you feel comfortable with
- allows you to practice in your own time
- gives you the chance to know how your set plays in different conditions
Lawn bowls can be the biggest cost when starting up, however, if you are savvy you can pick up a decent set that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Your options are to either buy a brand new set from a certified reseller, or to buy a set second hand from one of a variety of online marketplaces.
A brand new set of bowls can be very expensive. Some of the leading makes and models can cost over £300. However, for this cost you will be looking at the latest and greatest specifications, made to your taste.
Newer bowls come in a greater variety of colours than older bowls. Many manufacturers also put a lot of emphasis on research and development of new features - such as new grip designs. These can help make newer bowls perform better and more consistent than their older counterparts. Note that these improvements will likely only be noticed by top international players and will unlikely have too much impact on a club bowler’s game.
Another benefit of new bowls is that they will be “stamped”. This is an official marking to show it’s been tested to World Bowls standards, and are ready to play at every level. A lawn bowl will need to be restamped every 10 years. This will be required if you want to play at county, or national level, however if you are playing club and local competitions this shouldn’t be a factor.
If a new set of bowls is something you’d like to know more about, you can see our guide on the best lawn bowls for beginners.
Used lawn bowls are much cheaper than new. A decent set will set you back in the region of £20-£60. For this price you will get a quality set of bowls that will be ideal for most standards of play.
Bowls are made to last, so you shouldn’t have much trouble with excessive damage. A few minor scratches and marks are common with second hand bowls, however these will have no bearing on how they will perform when in play.
As a new bowler you may not know what you need so purchasing a second hand set is a cost effective way of exploring the options.
You may also find that your needs might change down the line. As a new bowler you will find new roles handed to you as you get more experience, which in turn may require a different style of bowl.
Whilst the aesthetics of a new set of bowls is tempting, we don’t believe that a brand new set is needed for a beginner. This is why we think buying second hand is the best way forward.
See our guide to buying second hand bowls.
Shoes and clothing
To start lawn bowls all you need are a pair of flat soled shoes, this is the only requirement. Flat soled shoes are needed as it protects the greens from damage. You can get shoes specifically for lawn bowls, however they don’t need to be by a specific brand, and any flat soled shoe will do.
You will need both grey and white trousers and shorts. Depending on the game you are playing (i.e. a league game or a friendly) a dress code will be in-place. By having both greys and whites you will be covered for all eventualities. We do recommend getting both trousers and shorts to cover for all weather conditions.
Once you commit to playing for a club, and you’ve paid your fees, you will be given a club shirt to wear, that’s all there is to it!
As you move through different roles in a team, you will need some other items. These include
- A measure
- Chalk (solid or spray)
These are important items if you are playing any senior roles in a team - such as skip, or a 3rd.
Whilst these costs may seem daunting, these are mainly one off costs. Your bowls and shoes will last for years, if not decades and you will get joy returned by the spade load!