When selecting a new set of bowls it can be tricky to learn all the different terminology and the difference between different specifications. This is especially true for anything to do with the weight and size of the bowl.
Sizes are quite obvious, especially if you know what size you normally like to use. But selecting different weights can be tricky – this is normally in the form of “heavy” vs “medium”.
What do these terms mean? And how does it affect your game? Lets take a closer look.
What is the difference between heavy and medium?
The only difference between a “heavy” and “medium” bowl is the weight of the bowl itself.
The difference in weight between the two options is in the region of 40-60 grams – the value differs depending on the size of the bowl (the difference is smaller in smaller bowls), and the manufacturer.
Different manufacturers will have different ideas on what “heavy” and “medium” mean, as there isn’t a standard set.
Are medium bowls smaller than heavy bowls?
No, a medium bowl and a heavy bowl will always have the same dimensions. For example a size 4 “medium” will have the same width and diameter as a “heavy” size 4.
The purpose of the different weight options is to allow bowlers to have a greater choice in bowl selection.
Pros and cons of heavy vs medium
A lot of the decision making between heavy and medium will just come down to personal preference – however there are some basic pros and cons that you should be aware of before you jump to your choice.
Lets have a look at the arguments for each.
Buying a set of “medium” bowls is a bit left field, but there are solid reasons for doing so. Here are a few reasons why you might consider a set:
- Medium bowls offer greater control – medium bowls are easier to hold and grip. This is great if you have issues holding on to your bowl
- Medium bowls are cheaper – whilst not always true, medium bowls on average can be bought second-hand cheaper than heavy bowls. The demand is so much less for them, that you can pick up a bargain
I have mentioned in several articles that “heavier is usually better. There are a few reasons behind this:
- Heavier bowls travel further – the heavier the bowl, the further it will travel with the same effort applied. This is great for heavy, and wet greens as you won’t have to push so hard
- Heavier bowls are harder to move – there is nothing worse than getting your shot on the jack, only to have it knocked out. The heavier your bowl is, the more weight your opponent needs to apply to move it. This makes for a far riskier shot for them
- They are easier to buy – medium weight bowls are very much out of fashion. The majority of manufacturers don’t make medium sizes, so if you want a new set of bowls, you are going to have to go for a heavy weight
Should I get heavy or medium weighted bowls?
I would always recommend a set of heavy bowls. On balance, heavy bowls offer better weight control, and make it easier to keep your bowls in the head.
I would only recommend a set of medium bowls if:
- You are on a strict budget – medium bowls are on average cheaper than heavies
- You use a size 5 or larger and want a bit more control – if you are using a large size bowl, you won’t miss much of the weight, as they are already pretty heavy. the medium option may give you a bit of extra control
- You’re just starting out and they are all you have – you won’t be at a massive disadvantage, and a set of mediums will be more than enough to enjoy the game
To conclude, the difference between medium and heavy bowls is the weight.
The general advice is to use a set of heavy bowls when possible, as they make playing weighted shots easier, and they are harder to move once they are in play.
A set of medium bowls will be fine if you need to use a set, so don’t despair if you haven’t got a choice.