New Bowlers Guide

Thuringowa City Bowls Club welcomes you as a new bowler and trusts you will enjoy your chosen sport. Within this guide is a basic introduction to the sport.


Membership: As a new bowler, it’s a requirement that you become a financial member before playing competition bowls. If you would prefer to ‘try before you buy’ then you can play up to six games in the Club Thursday Twilight Social Competition before paying membership. There is also the option of Wednesday morning ‘learn to play’ free sessions for new recruits.


Induction: On joining the Club a senior member will show you around the premises explaining, amongst other things, where particular items are located, e.g. first aid kits and who is responsible for certain areas of the Club. At the soonest opportunity you will be presented with a badge, a cloth and a hatband by your Section President.


Laws of the Sport of Bowls: (Crystal Mark 3.1 Edition) The sport of bowls is delightfully complex and has many rules. It is advisable that you obtain a copy of the ‘Laws of the Sport of Bowls’ and learn the rules of your sport. In its introduction Crystal Mark 3.1 Edition states; ‘No laws governing a sport can cope with every situation, and the laws governing the sport of bowls are no exception. Unusual situations not covered within the laws can often arise.’ And they do …that’s why we love this sport!


Governing Body: Bowls Australia is the national sporting organisation responsible for the leadership, development and management of lawn bowls in Australia. Bowls QLD is the controlling authority in this state, ruling over 20 Districts and more than 400 clubs. North Queensland is your District which extends from Bowen out to Collinsville and as far North as Ingham and Macknade; 22 clubs in total.


About You: As with any sport it is generally believed you will only get out of lawn bowls what you put into it. Your approach should be one of enthusiasm, friendliness and tolerance. Bowls is a very inclusive sport: your opponent may be a person with a disability or from a culturally and linguistic diverse group or from a different generation to you. Remember to treat all players with respect. Your club is only as good as the members that are within it, so please play your part in making your club one of the best there is and somewhere that you and other new players will wish to join and remain with for many years to come.

Always be on time for any scheduled game. Switch off your mobile phone. Do not drink alcohol excessively or use offensive language/gestures. The good sportsmanship of a bowler is always to the fore, and this is an essential requirement of all who play. Friendly and polite sporting acts towards team mates and opponents are appreciated and reciprocated. It’s these little extras that make the game of lawn bowls so appealing.


Our Bowling Greens: The bowling green is every clubs most valuable asset. As such it’s essential that the correct footwear is worn when on the greens and bowlers use a good delivery of their bowls to prevent damage to the greens. Never drop your bowls onto the green as this will damage the green.


Fast & Slow Greens: What does it mean when it is said that a green is fast or slow? A faster green means that the bowl takes longer to reach the jack usually somewhere between 14 to 19 seconds. On a fast green a bowl must be rolled to take more grass; it is rolled in a wider curve. On the other hand, on slower (heavier) greens the bowl takes less time to reach the jack, say 10 – 14 seconds, and should be rolled to take much less grass; in a slight curve.


Choice of Bowls: One of your first decisions will be choosing a set of bowls. Your club has some bowls readily available for you to use initially. It is important to try several sets of bowls to find the bowl that suits you. The rule of thumb is to go to the largest bowl you can hold and then go down a size. This will give you effective control of your bowl. Choosing second hand bowls is a significantly cheaper option. Your club notice boards are usually a good place to find second hand bowls available for sale. It is recommended that you consult a club coach when choosing the bowl that’s right for you.


Dress: Club colours are worn for Club days, Championships and Representative matches. Your dress should be styled for comfort and protection from the elements.


Footwear: For the protection of the greens at all clubs it is essential that you wear a pair of flat soled shoes. BOWLS Australia has provided a definitive list of the shoes currently approved for use in Australia for the sport of lawn bowls. Before purchasing your bowls shoes, it may be beneficial to consult the following list.


Bowling Arms & Other Artificial Devices: The Bowlers Arm is designed to assist a bowler who cannot continue to bowl without the aid of the artificial device and can be used in any competition within Australia. Typically, they are used where a person has hip/knee complaints which restrict their ability to bend down to deliver the bowl correctly. There are three manufacturers of Arms for use in Australia.


Personal Safety: Due to the extreme weather conditions in Queensland, it is imperative that members provide themselves with adequate sun protection. Regular fluid intake during bowls is very important. Although lawn bowls is not extremely physically demanding, the body will still lose fluid and this should be replaced. Water is the best replacement however sport drinks or soft drinks are acceptable. Even though alcohol is sometimes consumed, in reality it will dehydrate you. Bowls QLD is conscious of its responsibility and has provided the following policy.


Safety Tips

  • Never walk backwards off the mat after bowling: to avoid stepping on bowls or injuring other players.
  • Always walk up the centre of the rink when changing ends.
  • Never deliver the bowl at full speed unless directed to do so by the skip and other bowlers have been warned if necessary.
  • Bowls should be grouped 6 feet behind and to the left of the mat. Take care not to kick bowls into other players when grouping the bowls.
  • Take extra care when stepping on and off the green. Step sideways rather than forward. Greens are wet in the morning and the ditch edges can be slippery. A lapse of concentration can cause serious injury. Use the pole supports wherever possible.
  • Store your bowls bag and belongings under a seat. Never leave your possessions laying around where they can be easily tripped over.
  • Green Keepers use chemical sprays to contain weeds and kill mould on the surface etc. Wash your hands after bowling.

Arrange for free coaching: It is possible to start the wrong way and everybody will give you helpful advice. To avoid the confusion and teach you the basic skills, objectives of the game, its rules and the etiquette that goes with it, our Club Coaches are ready to get you started on the right foot.


Initial Session: As a new recruit you will be encouraged to take part in an initial introductory session with a qualified coach. The coach will instruct you on a number of subjects called the sub-routine. The sub-routine is feet, placement, grip, stance, bend, step (or step, bend) and deliver. Use all the relevant parts of each sub-routine to develop your own motor program. Have a technique that is simple and allows all muscles and body parts to perform the task of a perfect delivery.

  • The Feet
  • The Grip of the Bowl
  • The Stance
  • The Bend
  • The Step
  • The Delivery

Playing the Game: Lawn bowls can be played as singles, pairs, triples and four player teams. The most common formats of the game of lawn bowls are:

  • Singles: Two players with four bowls each
  • Pairs: Two teams of two with four bowls each
  • Triples: Two teams of three with three bowls each
  • Fours: Two teams of four with two bowls each

Playing Positions:


Newcomers to the Game are strongly advised to practice and play as many competitive games as possible to improve your skills and develop knowledge of the game.

May you have many years of bowling enjoyment at the Thuringowa City Bowls Club, enjoy the facilities and make many lifelong friends along the way.