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Lawn Bowling Set: What They Are and the Best Way How to Choose One

Lawn bowls, in the targeting sports category, 7 bowls on the green

For some time, you could only play bowling at your local alley. Well, that’s simply not the case anymore. If you want to get a taste of the lanes in the comfort of your own backyard, you can get your hands on a lawn bowling set. But it’s not that simple; there are several things that you should consider before getting one, and that’s where we can help.

This article tells you everything you need to know about lawn bowling sets and its variations. Let’s get right into it!

What is a Lawn Bowling Set?

A Lawn bowling set, also known as a bowls set, is a collection of bowls used to play the sport of Lawn bowls. Lawn bowls is a precision sport where players take turns rolling biased (uneven) balls, typically made of a heavy material like wood or resin, on a grass or artificial turf surface towards a smaller target ball called the “jack.”

The objective of the game is simple, get your bowls as close to the jack as possible. Typically, a lawn bowl set includes four bowls or balls. Bowls come in a variety of designs.

Red lawn bowl closeup on white background. These can be purchased in store or online

How to Choose a Set of Lawn Bowls as a Beginner

Choosing the right lawn bowling set is important since not all are created equal. There are multiple types for sale, and one may be designed a little differently from the next. Keep reading as we discuss size/weight, grip, and markings of bowls, all things that create a difference in bowls.

  1. Size and Weight: Bowls come in various sizes and weights. New bowlers should be aware of the different sizes available and how they affect the feel and performance of the bowls. Typically, the sizes range from 000 to 5. Generally, heavier bowls are more stable and suitable for outdoor greens with various conditions, while lighter bowls are more common for indoor play.
  2. Grips and Handling: Different bowls have various types of grips on their surface edging. Some have dimples, while others have more intricate patterns. New bowlers should try different grip styles to find what feels comfortable and controllable.
  3. Markings: Bowls typically have unique markings or symbols on them that identify their owner. This is important in identifying which bowls belong to whom, especially in a game involving multiple players. Bowl markings can be customized.

When selecting a set of bowls, new bowlers should consider their skill level, comfort with the weight of the bowls, and the conditions they will be playing in (indoor or outdoor greens, varying weather conditions). Consulting experienced players or visiting a specialized bowls shop can help in making an informed choice.

Selecting the right lawn bowl set for your backyard can significantly affect your game’s authenticity and fun. Here are a few main things to consider:

  • Quality and Material: When choosing a lawn bowl set, the material should be one of your primary concerns. The bowls should be made of a durable substance like dense plastic, rubber, or composite materials that can withstand outdoor conditions. Quality sets often have a consistent weight (across the balls in the set) and an obvious bias to provide an authentic roll on the grass, mimicking the performance of professional lawn bowls.
  • Accessories and Extras: Many lawn bowls sets come with additional accessories like jacks, markers, a measure, or carrying cases, which can enhance the game’s convenience and portability. Consider whether the set includes everything you need to play, or if you’ll need to purchase any extras. Some sets even include instructional guides or scorecards, providing helpful information for those new to the game.
  • Cost: What you’ll find when shopping for a lawn bowls set is that they can be steep. But you should remember that when it comes to these sets, you really do get what you pay for. Going with the rock-bottom cheap option could mean being stuck with equipment that doesn’t stand up to the weather, degrades prematurely, or doesn’t perform as expected.

While looking for these features, we urge you to read customer reviews at a minimum. Doing so will help you get a good idea of the quality of the set. And if you’re really serious about finding a quality set, you can also check out online forums. They can provide insights into brands and models that other enthusiasts love.

Lawn Bowls - How To Know What Size To Use?? Nev Rodda

Other Types of Lawn Bowls Set

There are other, alternative “lawn bowling” sets available that are worth mentioning. They are just as cool and fun. We want to clearly distinguish between traditional lawn bowling and other games that are played outdoors that are not Lawl Bowling.

Bocce Ball

Bocce ball is not lawn bowling. It is a distant cousin. Similar to its cousin, the Bocce ball has no pins – it’s all balls. There are the balls that are delivered called Bowls. Also, there is the target ball called Pallino. Read this article to learn more about the differences between Lawn bowling and Bocce ball.

A typical kit can include four large bowls or balls (2 pairs), and a smaller ball to use as the target, called a Pallino. A set can also include a measuring device and storage/carrying case.

The Bocce balls are perfectly round, with no bias. They are typically made of hard plastic, resin, or wood. Bocce balls are in different sizes ranging from 77mm (3.03 inches) to 107mm (4.21 inches) and can weigh anywhere from 9oz to 2 lbs. The Pallino is usually either white or yellow.

It’s important to note that 106-107mm (4.17-4.21 inches) are designated as the official size for tournament play, according to the United States Bocce Federation (USBF).

10-Pin Inspired Lawn Bowling Set

Regular or tenpin bowling is traditionally played indoors with a bowling ball, bowling pins strategically placed at the end of a bowling lane. It’s a distant cousin, twice removed, of traditional Lawn bowling. They are not the same. However, we now have a form of ten-pin bowling inspired by traditional lawn bowling- Outdoor 10-pin bowling.

Outdoor Tenpin bowling sets can include oversized bowling pins and two bowling balls or more oversized bowling balls. Other sets may include equipment that is smaller than what you’ll find in the bowling alley.

Sets are usually made of wood or plastic with some type of filler material on the inside. There are also inflatable sets that can be purchased online. These are more kid-focused toys that are softer and lighter.

When looking to buy an outdoor bowling set, keep the following points in mind:

  • Ball Weight and Coating: The ball(s) should be relatively heavy – enough so that they can roll over an inch or two of grass. And should not be heavier than 6lbs. In addition, the ball should have some soft coating on it to protect your lawn and make it easy for people of all ages to handle.
  • Pin Base: It’s critical to ensure that the pins are weighted at the base so that they’ll remain upright until the ball hits them. If the pins aren’t weighted, you could spend a lot of time picking pins up that the wind knocked down on a windy day.
  • Extras: Consider extras that can add to your outdoor bowling experience. For instance, you can go with a set that comes with pin guides, scorecards, mats, or a carrying bag for easy transportation. The types of extras you might find valuable will depend on who will be playing: adults, children, or those with accessibility concerns.

Note: The best lawn bowling sets will have some type of protective coating or be made with ultra-durable materials to withstand outdoor conditions.

What’s the Difference Between Lawn Bowling and Bocce?

Lawn bowling and Bocce are both popular outdoor bowling games where you roll balls with the goal of getting them closer to the target than your opponent(s), but they have distinct differences that make them unique.

Lawn bowling is played with asymmetrical biased bowls, causing them to curve as they roll toward a smaller ball called the “jack”. The game’s strategy involves (1) understanding how these bowls curve and (2) controlling their path. In contrast, Bocce is played with symmetrical balls that roll straight, and the players aim to get their balls closest to a smaller target ball called the “pallino”.

Bocce balls are usually larger and heavier than Lawn bowls, and the game can be played on various surfaces, whereas lawn bowling typically requires a well-maintained, flat grass surface. The two games’ rules, scoring, and strategies also differ, reflecting these fundamental contrasts in equipment and playing fields.

For an in-depth guide, read this full length article on the differences between Lawn bowling and Bocce.

Three-person team, all using blue bowls on very low-cut grass

What Is a Set in Lawn Bowls?

In Lawn bowls, a “set” refers to a specific grouping of ends (rounds) that make up a segment of the match. A standard game of lawn bowls is often divided into sets, with each set containing a predetermined number of ends (usually 6 or 7). The player or team with the highest score at the conclusion of all ends in a set wins that particular set. That winner may get an extra point.

Playing in sets adds an additional layer of strategy and excitement to the game. For example, if a match is played in a best three out of three, a player or team would need to win two out of the three sets to win the overall match. This format allows for comebacks and keeps the competition alive, even if one side has a bad set.

Bowlers on the 4 teams wait to hear the winner of the tournament

Is Lawn Bowling the Same as Regular Bowling?

No, Lawn and Regular (ten-pin) bowling are distinct games. Lawn bowling is played outdoors on a flat grassy surface, using biased bowls that curve towards a target called the “jack.” Whereas, Regular bowling is an indoor sport where the aim is to knock down ten pins with a spherical ball.

While both involve rolling a ball toward a target, their equipment, playing surfaces, objectives, and techniques differ substantially, making them unique in experience and strategy. Though you’ll find “lawn bowling” sets that mimic 10-pin bowling, this is not technically lawn bowling. It is 10-pin bowling tailored to backyard play.

What Bowling Is Played on Grass?

Lawn bowling is typically played on grass. But not just any grass if you want a regulation-type game. The grass should be meticulously manicured to be about a quarter of an inch or less. That way, the bowls will be able to roll freely without much resistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a set of lawn bowls cost?

Cost of lawn bowls

$100-$200 on the low end and $300-$800 on the higher end.

The cost of a set of lawn bowls can vary widely depending on several factors, including the brand, material, and quality of the bowls.
The cost might also be influenced by factors such as the size of the bowls (different sizes are suitable for different players), the type of bias (how the bowls curve as they roll), and any additional features or customizations.

How do I choose a set of lawn bowls?

How to choose lawn bowl set

3 things to consider: weight, comfort, and cost.

Your set should be heavy enough to deliver repeatedly without pain. Your hands should hold the bowl comfortably. Lastly, the bowl set should be within your price range and is ideal for your outdoor conditions.

What are the best lawn bowls to use?

Best lawn bowling brands

Here are the top 11 Lawn Bowl brands:
*Taylor Bowls USA, *Henselite USA, Lawn Bowls USA, Aero Bowls USA, Henselite, Aero Bowls, Taylor Bowls, Almark Bowls, Drake Pride, Thomas Taylor, Hemslite Tiger EVO

*Bold are USA manufactures

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So, there you have everything you need to know about lawn bowling sets. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you tons of outdoor fun with friends and family, regardless of the bowling set you decide on.