What Is Jack High In Lawn Bowls? | Answered!

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

“Jack High” is a common term is bowls – both indoor and outdoors. But what does it actually mean? New terms are hard to pick up for beginners, so lets take a look.

What Is Jack High In Lawn Bowls?

When you start bowls there is so much to learn – rules, technique and etiquette are usually top of most player’s list, and then on top of that you have to start learning the lingo!

Bowlers have a term for just about anything you can imagine, so it’s no surprise that those new to the game can feel overwhelmed.

A common saying in bowls is “jack high” – it’s even the name of my site, but what does it mean? Lets take a closer look…

What Is Jack High In Lawn Bowls?

Put simply, “jack high” is when a bowl is directly in line with the jack perpendicular to the bowler. The bowl has reached the same distance from the mat as the jack.

World bowls describes it in a bit more technical language.

if a bowl is jack high it means it has reached a position whereby its nearest part is laterally aligned with the jack. Effectively it means the bowl and jack are level.


The term “jack high” can be used in several different circumstance, including:

  • giving feedback – “well done, that shot is jack high”
  • a reference point – “this bowl is one yard from jack high”
  • a request – “bowl it to this spot jack high”

If the jack moves during an end then “jack high” will become the new position of the jack – so it is always relative to where the jack is on the rink.

What is the signal for “Jack high”?

Jack high is one of the most common phrases in bowls, so it’s no surprise that it has it’s own hand signal.

Jack high can be signalled by swinging your arm from side-to-side in front of your body – just imagine drawing a line on the ground.

You can find more in our guide to hand signals in lawn bowls.

Is “jack high” good?

Yes, being jack high is very good. Judging the right weight (how hard to roll the bowl) is the hardest part of the game. If you are jack high then you have judge this to perfection.

The only time when being jack high isn’t good is if you have miss-judged your line, and you have finished a couple of yards wide of the jack!

This is an issue because if you correct your line and bowl with the same weight the bowl will actually finish further up the green because of the angles created by the bias.

As long as you have your line “there or there abouts” being jack high is as good as it gets.


Learning the lingo of bowls is hard for new bowlers. Its one thing to have an idea on what the terms mean, but it’s not always obvious how they relate to the game!

Knowing that “jack high” is bowling a bowl with perfect judgement of weight (i.e. how hard you roll the bowl) is important, as it’s one of the most common terms in bowls.