A Glossary Of Bowling Terms

Back Bowl: A bowl that comes to rest beyond the Jack.

Backhand draw: When a bowl which is aimed to the left of the Jack curves to the right.

Be up (see also Up): Instruction from Skip to bowl at least as far as the Jack.

Bias (see also Wrong bias): Weighted offset to make the bowl curve. The bias side of the bowl is noted by the smaller button. Bias is correct when the bowl curves towards Jack.

Blocker: A bowl that blocks someone (usually an opponent) from reaching the desired target.

Dead bowl: When a bowl either goes in the ditch without touching the Jack or comes to rest outside of the rink in play (see Lane).

Dead end / Burned end: When the Jack has been knocked out of bounds. The end is not counted and is played again.

Ditcher: A wood which ends up in the ditch behind the head whether directly by delivery or as the result of a subsequent bowl knocking it there, is called a ditcher, or dead bowl. A ditcher can never be counted in a score unless it has been previously correctly marked as a Toucher (see Toucher)

Down: When your team does not currently have the Shot Bowl, you are considered to be down. You may be down by one or more points.

Draw shot: Shots where the bowl is rolled to a specific location without causing too much disturbance of bowls already at the Head. (See Hand).

Driving (or Firing): This involves bowling with considerable force with the aim of knocking either the Jack or a specific bowl(s) out of play.

End: This means playing the Jack and all bowls of both opponents in the same direction on a Rink. Bowling to the Jack is called one end. The number of Ends played is decided by Club Rules.

Foot fault: A foot fault occurs when the bowler does not have one foot on or over the mat on the release of the bowl.

Forehand draw: When the bowl is aimed to the right of the Jack, and curves to the left.

Grass: Apart from the playing surface itself, grass is the directional line the bowl takes in order for it to curve towards the Jack. So too much grass bowl will be wide.

Green: The whole area on which lawn bowls is played. The Green is divided into separate rinks.

Hammer: The final bowl of an end. Rules allow the winning team on an end to give away the mat and so retain control of the hammer.

Hand: The side on which the bowl is delivered: either Forehand or Backhand.

Head: The area covering delivered bowls and the jack indicating the score at any given time in a game. Reading the head is a skill that enables a player to decide which shot will be the most effective.

Hog line: Special markers at the side of a green indicate the minimum length beyond which the jack must be rolled for the end to be valid.

Holding shot: Team with their bowl(s) closest to Jack (see also Shot Bowl).

Jack: Small white or yellow ball or kitty used as a target to play to, which determines point scoring (see Points).

Lane (see also Rink): All games are played within Lanes that are at least 14 ft. wide. The lanes for a given game are designated with markers on the edges of the green. This way, multiple games can be played simultaneously on one green. Bowls that come to rest out of their lanes are Dead Bowls and are removed from the end.

Lead: The person who starts off the play for each team. Lead also places the mat and rolls the jack if their team has the matï either by winning the toss at the start of the game or has won the previous end.

Line: Describes the path of a bowl between the delivery hand of the player and the Jack. Good Line and Length combined lead to the perfect shot.

Long: A bowl that passes the head and ends in a position unlikely to affect or influence the outcome of the end is described as long.

Mat: The actual mat that is placed by the team winning the previous end, to start the next end. This is also known as having the mat. The team with the mat always rolls the jack to start a fresh end.

Measure: At the close of an end, when bowls are too close to visually decide which one is closest to the jack, the distance of separation is measured. Special tape measures to do this. The actual distance is irrelevant so the tapes are only used to see who is closest.

Narrow: Bowler didn’t deliver the wood far enough away from the centreline to the jack.

Pairs: Bowls games in which each team has a pair of players (Skip and a Lead)

Points: The units of scoring, are derived from the total number of bowls from the same side that end up closest to the jack in any end played.

Potato (see also Pineapple): A badly thrown (or released) bowl that hops, skips, and jumps.

Promoting: Creating contact with one of your team’s bowls in order to improve its position in the head.

Rink: The Lane on the grass playing surface. Each Rink is defined by coloured markers at each end to clearly define the Lane.

Rinks bowls: A game in which there are 4 players per team – a Skip, a Number 3, a Number 2, and a Lead – using 2 bowls each.

Skipper: Team captain or Skip who always plays last at each end. This person is usually the most experienced player, who also guides the strategy.

Short (see also Long): A bowl which fails to reach the head is described as short.

Shot: The bowl closest to the jack.

Tie: When the two closest bowls are both exactly the same distance from the jack and belong to opposing teams, even after measurement, the end is declared a tie.

Touchers: Bowls that hit the Jack after delivery. These bowls are marked with chalk and remain alive even if they are in the ditch.

Trial ends: Formal practice ends, usually only allowed at the start of a tournament, in which each team rolls 2 bowls down and back to get a feel of the green. Such ends do not count in the scoring.

Triples: A game in which each team has 3 players a Skip, a Number 2, and a Lead each using 3 bowls.

Up: When your team is holding a shot (with one or more bowls) you are considered to be Up…

Weight: The amount of speed applied by a player to the bowl from the mat to the Jack. Heavy weight means that the bowl stops beyond the Jack, while Light means that it stops short of the spot desired.

Wide: The bowler delivers the wood too far away from the centreline to the jack. This can also be described as taking too much grass.

Wick: When a bowl bounces off another bowl (usually accidentally) and ends up in a favourable position.

Wood: An alternative term for a bowl.

Wrong bias  Describes the action of delivering a bowl that bends in the opposite direction to that which is intended caused by failing to check the grip and bias on the bowl before delivery

Yard On: A shot delivered with an extra degree of speed, slower than firing, in order either to displace or disturb other bowls or to be certain of coming to a stop in the area behind the jack.

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