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Bowls lingo for the uninitiated

Losing a bowls tournament is no laughing matter but life is too short to dwell on bowling wins and losses. Have some fun during your time on the green with some friendly bowls banter. Our team at Taylor Bowls have outlined bowls lingo for the uninitiated.

What are common phases and translations in bowls lingo?

  • “Good weight!” – lousy line
  • “Good line!” – lousy weight
  • “Good back bowl” – you were lucky you didn’t put it in the ditch
  • “That’s in their way” – that’s in my way
  • “That could be useful up there” – that bowl is closer to you than it is to the jack
  • “Get it next time” – you sure didn’t get it this time
  • “He/she is surprisingly good” – you’re surprised he/she ever makes a shot
  • “I’d bowl with him/her any day” – he/she always buys the first round

What are the different bowls terms used in different clubs?

  • A jack is also known as a cot, the pill, the dolly, kitty or the white
  • A bowl is known as a wood
  • The ditch can also be referred to as the gully, trench or bin
  • The rinks are also called the greens or the blue
  • A heavy bowl is known as the drive, a fire, a dam buster or a slam
  • To draw or touch the jack is a toucher or kiss
  • The grass is also known as land

Keen to impress your friends? Try using the following bowls lingo

  • Head – the collective term for the bowls that have come to rest after being delivered
  • Back bowl – a bowl that comes to rest beyond the jack and at the back of the ‘head’
  • Blocker – a bowl that blocks the path of the intended target
  • Foot fault – when a bowler does not place their foot on or over the mat at delivery
  • Lead – the person who begins play for a team at each end by placing the mat and rolling the jack
  • Skipper – the team captain or ‘skip’ always plays last and is usually the most experienced player
  • Touchers – bowls that hit the jack are marked with chalk and remain alive even if they are in the ditch
  • Bias – every bowl has bias. Bowls are designed to travel a curved path because of a weight bias in the shape of the bowl. A bowler determines the bias direction of the bowl in his hand by a symbol on one side.
  • Play a draw – roll the ball as close to the jack as possible
  • Play a yard on shot – arrive with a yard of weight and move jack back five feet
  • Tactical bowl – round the back to prevent dropping a count
  • Running wood – take out a bowl and stop in place
  • Trail the jack – play a bowl in order to move the jack to another position on the rink
  • Take it out – an instruction to a bowler to bowl with sufficient pace to push an opponent’s bowl away
  • Short bowl – a bowl that has not been delivered with sufficient pace to reach its objective
  • Heavy bowl – where a bowl has been delivered with too much pace and will end beyond its objective
  • Pace or weight – the amount of force with which the bowl is delivered to execute a particular shot
  • Live bowl – any bowl that comes to rest within the rink and is acceptable under the conditions of the game, or any toucher in the ditch

Taylor Bowls – home of the best lawn bowls brands at the best prices

Keen to talk bowls with the best? Taylor Bowls is the place to go for helpful advice and the best bowls at the best prices. Taylor Bowls stock most bowls sizes and designs in store and what we don’t have we can order. Browse the entire range online and check out our clearance bowls here.

Get in touch with our friendly team at Taylor Bowls today. Visit our store at 5/95 Eumundi Road, Noosaville, or phone 07 5449 9011.


Learn the lingo and bowl a winner – RetireAustralia

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