How to clean your Lawn Bowls

How to clean your Lawn Bowls

Lawn bowls is a popular game that involves rolling balls, known as bowls, toward a target on the playing green. Since this game is usually played outdoors, your bowls may get scuffed or accumulate grime and dirt during play. If your bowls get dirty, you can clean them with gentle soap and warm water. Polish your bowls regularly to maintain proper grip and a nice shine.

Removing Dirt and Grime

1. Use a wooden toothpick to clean the grips. Many lawn bowls have grips to help you hold the bowls more easily during gameplay. Dirt and grime can quickly build up in the grips, especially if your bowls have ring or groove grips. Before washing your bowl, chip any stubborn dirt out of the grips with a large wooden toothpick or skewer.

  • Don’t use a metal toothpick or skewer to clean the grips. This could scratch up your bowls.

2. Wash the bowls in hot water with mild detergent. Once you’ve scraped any excess dirt out of the grips, soak your bowls in hot water and soap or a gentle detergent, such as laundry detergent or dishwashing liquid. Rub the bowls with your hands or a microfiber washcloth to dislodge any stubborn dirt.

  • You can also use a steam cleaner, like those used to clean bowling balls, as an alternative to washing with soap and water.

3. Use mineral spirits to clean off tougher dirt. You can remove stubborn grease, dirt, and stains by wiping your bowls with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits. You may wish to do a spot test first to make sure the mineral spirits don’t damage the paint on your bowls.

  • Mineral spirits are also known as white spirit, mineral turpentine, or turpentine substitute. You can purchase mineral spirits at a hardware or home improvement store.

4. Dry the bowls with a microfiber towel. Once your bowls are clean, you can either air dry them or wipe them dry with a soft towel or polishing cloth. If you use a towel, choose one made of soft microfiber so that you don’t scratch up your bowls.

  • After the bowls are dry, polish them with some bowl polish and a polishing cloth, then put them away in their bag or carrier.
Bowls Basics

Bowls Basics

Lawn bowling is a sport with many traditions. Like curling, there are a few rules, a number of conventions, and a reliance on fair play that depends on the honour system.

The number of players on a team can be from 1-4. A Skip is designated as the captain, who plays last.

Playing from the mat (dark grey in the picture), the team Lead places the white target, called a Jack, by rolling it toward the Skip at the other end of the rink, or lane. At the start, the Jack is moved by the Skip, directed by the Lead, to centre it in the lane. After that, the Jack may be moved in the lane by being hit by bowls, thereby changing the location of the target.

Once the Jack is placed, that Lead rolls (not throws) the first bowl, trying to place it as closely as possible to the Jack. The next bowl is rolled by the Lead from the other team. Next, the first Lead plays their second bowl. This continues, with alternating team players rolling each of their bowls until the Skips have delivered all their bowls. That completes the End, and a score is determined.

The closest bowl to the Jack is 1 point.  If the same team has more of their bowls next closest to the Jack, each one counts 1 point. For instance, in the picture above, if we assume the 3 brown bowls are from the same team, the score would be 3 points for Brown.  Scoring proceeds until the other team’s bowl is determined to be next. So, for an End, a team may have 1, 2, or more points. That score is placed on the scoreboard.

The bowls are then raked up and a mat is placed in the centre of the lane at the, now, opposite side. The team winning the last point goes first, rolling the Jack down the lane for centring by the Skip.

Play generally proceeds for 10 ends, in friendly club play. This takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The number of ends can be agreed to be a different number for special occasions. Competitive play may have 16 or 20 ends.

Technical Stuff

In the picture above, we see that a bowl will take a certain trajectory, rather than being able to go straight. This is because bowls are made with one side actually smaller than the other side. A bowl will, therefore, always turn toward the “small” side – see the lower drawing. This side is identified on each bowl by a smaller circle imprinted on that side.