Lawn Bowls Gripped Vs. Non Gripped | Which Is Best?

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

The wrong equipment in lawn bowls can wreak havoc on your game. Thus, having a bowl that is too big or too small will negatively impact your grip. Then there are details such as weight, bias, finish, and, if buying in the used market, if the inspection stamp is still visible. To top it all off, there is the choice of gripped bowls or non-gripped, also called “ringed.” Does it matter?

Lawn bowl grips are a personal choice that depends on comfort. Grips are typically favored by those that hold the bowl with the “claw” position. However, many players don’t care if they have them or not. The crucial aspects of a lawn bowl are its weight, size, and bias.

Lawn bowlers agree that the bowl you use can and will impact the game. But the worst ball is the one that isn’t comfortable. It doesn’t matter if it is the most expensive or highest rated; your performance will be negatively impacted if you don’t like how it feels. The comfort is typically determined by details other than the grips. But for some, they provide security; others believe they affect performance.

Do Lawn Bowls Need Grips?

Lawn bowls do not have to have grips, but it is a popular feature. Those who grasp the bowl using the claw will often find it easier to perform with grips. But regardless of your hold, most of the contact between yourself and the ball is along the smooth alley between the dimples or rings. It is here, where some players would like a little texture, that the ball is devoid of extra grip.

Should Your Lawn Bowl Grip Touch The Grips?

If you are a fan of the Delivery Doctor, then you know he believes that if you are searching for the dimples on your ball, that you are probably holding the ball the wrong way. He says the fingers should not be making contact with the grips regardless if the player is using the claw, palm, or his preferred relaxed hold. Other players find the grips annoying, as they feel it encourages their fingers to be in the wrong place.

But when the bowl is wet, some find the grips crucial to keeping a firm hold. However, others argue that if you need the grips to hold the bowl when it is wet, then your bowl is too big.

Then there are people with bent fingers due to accidents or conditions like arthritis. For some of these players, grips can be helpful. As it is, players with these issues often have to develop their own hand positioning, as the standard holds won’t work with their unique finger challenges.

Do Lawn Bowl Grips Impact Its Behaviour In Wind?

There are debates amongst the Lawn Bowling community if the grips on the bowl impact its behaviour in the wind. This can start to sound like locker room superstition, but the notion is not entirely without merit.

Dimples do alter how a ball behaves when in the air. The most famous example of this is golf balls. Golf balls have 300-500 dimples each and are scientifically proven to impact the ball’s distance and trajectory.

However, science has yet to deep dive into dimples on lawn bowls. Nor is the ball covered in them or fired high into the air. Thus, if dimples or grooves had an impact, it would probably have more to do with the bowl’s interaction with the ground surface rather than the wind. Yet some players swear that their gripped balls do not perform as well as ringed in windy conditions.

What Matters More In Lawn Bowls: Size Or Grips?

Size matters more in how you hold and release the lawn bowl than if it has dimples or wavy rings. A bowl that is too big or too small will heavily impact how tightly you grasp it and the shape of your palm and fingers.


Lawn bowl grips make some players feel more comfortable; others find them irritating. However, one is not better than the other. It is all about which bowl feels most comfortable in your hand.