Games And Sports: The Official Rules Of Lawn Bowling

The rules of lawn bowling have evolved since its origin in the 13th century, but standard rules are now known all around the world!

Lawn bowling is a game dating previous to 13th century Europe, known by many names, including "bocce" and "bowling on the green". It is played on a 120-foot square grass or merl area that is divided into six sections called "rinks".

The rules of lawn bowling have evolved over the years, but they are fairly standard in all playing countries now. The bowler keeps one foot on a 14 by 24 inch rubber mat before rolling the ball, known as a "bowl". It weighs about three and a half pounds and is not completely round, to ensure that the bowl curves once it is rolled. The bowl is often made out of a hard wood called lignum vitae, though optimal bowls differ by region and land conditions, and the bulge that initiates the curve is known as the "bias". Each player receives two bowls to play with.

An interesting aspect of lawn bowling is the attire worn while playing. For tournaments, white is usually worn, and often players will wear the standard color shoes of their country. Though no color is traditional in the United States, players will often wear the same color shoes as their teammates. Lawn bowling shoes should be completely flat so as not to damage the green.

The game is played by rolling the bowl at a white target ball known as the "jack". The jack is much smaller than a bowl and weighs 10 ounces. The first player will roll the jack, aiming for a distance of 75 feet away or more. If they do not succeed or the jack rolls out of bounds, the other team will roll instead. Once played, the jack becomes the target for the game.

Lawn bowling is generally played by two teams with four members each, however it can be played with just two or four people. The bowler who rolled the jack initially is known as the "lead", while the team leader is known as the "skip" and always rolls last. (The skip often stands aside to direct the team's play.) The lead will go first and will often make or break the game with the first ball, one reason why your most valuable player should be placed in that position. He or she will roll two bowls towards the jack. The other team lead will then roll two, then the rest of the players, until no more bowls remain. If the jack is knocked out of bounds it must be re-rolled by someone on the opponent's team to bring it back in. Hitting a bowl belonging to the opponent's or your own team does not constitute a re-roll. Hitting your opponent's bowls away from the jack or deflecting the jack closer to your team's bowls are popular winning strategies, however, you must be careful not to hit the jack too far, lest the opposing team score themselves a re-roll.

Once no bowls remain, the scoring system is very similar to horseshoes: 1 point is awarded to a team for each ball that has landed nearer to the jack than any of the opponent's bowls. The game can be ended here by awarding the win to the team with the highest number of points, or the bowls can be collected and re-rolled, repeating the playing and scoring processes until the 21st point.

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