Drakes Pride vs Taylor Ace - Which to choose?
We compare the two most popular lawn bowls models to see which one is the best for you
Taylor Ace vs Drakes Pride Professional
For most bowlers the purchasing of a new set of bowls comes down to a simple choice - Ace or Professional?
It’s understandable, as the two models make up for a large chunk of the bowls you see on the green week in, week out. And there is a good reason for it. Taylor and Drakes Pride have produced well balanced bowls that are reliable every time.
So how do you decide between 2 excellent choices? Well we hope to help with this guide.
Why these models?
Taylor and Drakes pride are two of the biggest lawn bowl manufacturers in the world. They have a track record of creating the best and most innovative bowls on the market.
Through this innovation they have produced two of the most popular models on the market today - the Ace, and the Professional. Both designed for, and used by players of all standards. From absolute beginners to multiple world champions.
Finally, both the Ace and Professional are perfectly at home on indoor rinks and outdoor greens. This makes them perfect for those who play all year round, but don’t want two sets of bowls.
What to consider?
When deciding what model of bowls to buy, you first need to consider how you are going to use them.
Do you play indoor, outdoor, or both? This is important as, although both the Ace and Drakes Pride are designed to handle both environments, they are each suited slightly towards one or the other.
Also, if you are already familiar with Taylor models, you will probably have come across their unique bowl grip. This could be an important factor if you are particularly fond of it.
Let’s start with what we already know…
We have found that both models have similar strengths. Their line is consistent and predictable across a set. This makes them ideal for beginners, as it takes some of the guesswork out of learning.
They are both suitable for indoor and outdoor play which is also ideal for those who play all year round and are looking for the one set of bowls.
The differences start when we look a little deeper.
The Ace does have a slightly wider bias than the Professional. This makes it lean more towards being more of an “outdoor bowling” model. This becomes very apparent when playing on slower greens that require a bit more bias to get turn.
We have found the Professional’s line turns slightly earlier than the Ace model. This does make it a bit harder to play “yard on” weighted shots where you only want to add a touch of weight to hold a line. However this difference is small.
As to which wins this round - well, that depends on your needs. If you play outdoors more, then we would suggest the Ace’s take this round. Otherwise it’s a draw.
There is a noticeable difference when we come to price. New Ace models can be purchased somewhere in the £300 price range (depending on where you buy). The Professional model can be found at a low £220 mark.
This trend continues in the second hand market. You will have to stump up over £100 for a decent set of Taylor Ace’s, but Professionals can be found around £40-60.
If price is an essential factor, then Professionals, or second hand Ace’s would be the way to go.
Unique Selling Points
There are other factors to consider when choosing between the two models. Both Drakes Pride and Taylor bowls consider themselves to be “forward thinking” and at the forefront of new developments. Therefore there are elements available on each that you will only find on these models.
Both the Ace and Professional come with the option of choosing one of their uniquely designed grip patterns. The Ace comes with Thomas Taylor’s signature grip pattern, and Drakes Pride offers a variation of the Professional - the PRO-50 - with a deeper grip pattern.
The PRO-50 is a particular favourite of ours, and is one that we cover in a couple of articles. The deeper grip makes the bowl feel smaller in the hand. However, due to the deep cut, it can be uncomfortable if you hold the bowl across the running surface.
The Ace’s grip is a bit more traditional, as it doesn’t cut so far into the surface on the bowl, however it does boast many of the same benefits.
The choice of grip options will come down to personal preference, however, due to the ability to easily control a larger bowl, the PRO-50 is a good option.
If you are looking for a simple answer “Which is best?” - then unfortunately you are in for a disappointment. In our opinion there is no clear winner between the two.
Both are well balanced bowls suitable for any green condition, and are versatile enough to be played equally well indoor and outdoor
It will come down to your personal preference of bowling surface, and your preference in grip styles.
Our overall recommendation is the Professional if you are predominantly an indoor player, and the Ace if you are predominantly an outdoor player.