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Bowls Etiquette


Etiquette is a code of behaviour whereby individuals treat one another the way they would like to be treated. Breaches of etiquette are sometimes wilful, and sometimes inadvertent. Particularly in the latter case, injured parties should avoid overreacting, or else a breach of etiquette more objectionable than the original could occur.

Etiquette is an important part of Bowls and all clubs and their members should not only practice it, but inform new members what is proper and expected behaviour on the green and in the clubhouse. Thoughtfulness and common sense are the keys to etiquette.

Rules of etiquette for lawn bowling

Rules of etiquette for lawn bowling include (but are not limited to):

1. Players and spectators at the head end should stand still and keep quiet.

2. When it’s your team’s turn to bowl it’s your mat and head, your opponents should be away from both, if they are not ask them nicely to move.

3. Wait for your skip to tell you which shot you should play, keep up with play at all times.

4. There should be no trespassing into neighbouring rinks; this includes going to or from the clubhouse, moving to better see the jack, and particularly when walking from one end of your green to the other. Please be aware of others playing. If you are helping your teammate aim, do not infringe upon neighbouring rinks.

5. Walk up the centre of the rink with minimum delay, if it is not your team’s turn to bowl DO NOT STOP TO CHAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RINK, IT’S NOT YOUR MAT OR HEAD.

6. After bowling each bowl, step off the mat to the right. As you approach the mat to bowl, do so from the rear left. Though not essential, this is a useful habit of convenience to avoid collisions!

7. Always show good sportsmanship by acknowledging a display of good skill by another bowler.

8. Never applaud lucky shots, never complain about lucky shots, and admit a lucky shot with good grace. Do not say thanks for a bad shot that goes you way.

9. Do not criticize the playing surface.

10. Do not criticize the performance of colleagues. No one plays a bad bowl on purpose.

11. Avoid delaying play by leaving the rink without the knowledge of the other players.

12. Avoid interfering with the head until the results of the end have been agreed upon by the vices.

13. If an Umpire is called, move away, you’re done, his/her decision is final.

14. Bowlers should shake hands at the end of a game.

15. Be a gracious winner and a good loser.

16. The plinth area of the green is fragile and should be treated with care. This includes, but is not limited to, wearing proper footwear, not dropping or tossing bowls on the green, and not spitting or pouring liquids (water, coffee, etc.) on the green.

17. Punctuality for all games is a courtesy to the other players.

18. While standing a the head end waiting for the player on the mat to bowl, stand between the markers so the bowler can see and use the markers to aim.

19. Generally, the vice or skip at the head will signal the bowler on the mat the position of bowls in the head using hand signals denoting for and against.

20. Bowlers not raking the bowls after an end should assist by kicking the bowls into an approximate line, thus making raking easier and faster.

21. Players at the head end should be ready to stop deflected bowls from crossing into the adjacent rink and interfering with neighbouring games; likewise, be alert to prevent bowls from adjacent rinks from messing up your own head. Pay attention!

22. No rules prohibit bowlers running after their bowl (enthusiasm nor youthful fitness is discouraged) but you must try to arrive at the head before your bowl stops. Some clubs consider following your bowl up the green poor etiquette.23. One minute between the time when the opponent's bowl stops and the next bowler delivers his/her bowl should be sufficient. When there is clear violation, an umpire or club official who is notified should take action.

24. All bowlers are urged to have chalk and a measuring tape when bowling so that bowls that touch the jack can be immediately marked and, if necessary at the finish of an end, measuring can be undertaken without delay.

25. All bowlers should remember to clear the equipment from your rink after your game.

No laws governing a sport can cope with every situation. Unusual situations not covered can arise. The Laws of the Sport of Bowls have been drawn up in the spirit of true sportsmanship. Common sense should be used when unusual situations not covered by the Laws arise.

All lawn bowlers should familiarize themselves with “Laws of the Sport of Bowls Crystal Mark 3rd Edition, 2014”.