Terminology used in the Game
Backhand Draw: When the bowl is aimed to the left of the Jack, and curves to the right
Be Up: Instruction from Skip to bowl longer (don't be short of Jack).
Bias: Weighted offset to make the bowl curve. The bias side of the bowl is noted by the smaller circle. Bias is correct when the
bowl curves towards the Jack.
Blocker: A bowl that blocks someone (usually an opponent) from reaching the desired target.
Dead End / Burned End: When the Jack has been knocked out of bounds. The end is not counted and is played again.
Draw Shot: Shots where the bowl is rolled to a specific location without causing too much disturbance of bowls already at the
Head. (See Hand).
Drive: This involves bowling with considerable force with the aim of knocking either the Jack or a specific bowl(s) out of play.
Dead Bowl: When a bowl either goes in the ditch without touching the Jack or rests outside the rink field of play (Lane).
Down: When your team does not have the Shot Bowl, you are considered to be Down. You may be down by one or more
End: Means playing of the Jack and all bowls of both opponents in the same direction on a Rink. Bowling all of the Bowls to
the Jack is called "one end." The number of Ends played is decided by Club Rules. A typical game has 14 ends in
social games, 18 in tournaments.
Foot Fault: A foot fault occurs when the bowler does not have one foot over the mat on release of the bowl. A Foot MUST be
on or over the mat when the Bowl is delivered.
Forehand Draw: When the bowl is aimed to the right of the Jack, and curves to the left .
Grass: Apart from the surface, the directional line the bowl takes in order for it to curve towards the Jack. So a "too much
grass" bowl will be too wide.
Green: Lawn bowls is played on a square "Green" of grass, with directions being alternated on a daily basis to protect the
Hand: The side on which the bowl is delivered: either Forehand or Backhand.
Head: Bowls resting near the Jack and such bowls that have come to rest within the boundary of the Rink and have not been
declared dead during thee End.
Hog Line: Special markers (often flags for tournaments) that dictate the minimum line beyond which the jack must be rolled
for the end to be valid.
Holding Shot: Team with their bowl(s) closest to Jack (see also Shot Bowl).
Hook: The direction Bowls take as they slowly roll to a stop, especially older Classic bowls with extreme bias.
Jack: ( approx 2.5" )White ball or "kitty" used as a target to play to, this determines point scoring (see Points).
Lead: The person who starts off the play. Also places the Mat and rolls the Jack if their team "has the mat".
Mat: The actual mat that is placed by the team losing the last end, to start the next end. This is also known as having the Mat.
The team with the mat always rolls the Jack.
Measure: When bowls are too close to visually decide which one is closer, it is known as a measure. Players carry special lawn
bowls tape measures to do this. The distance is irrelevant so the tapes are only used to see who is closest.
Narrow: Bowler didn't start out far enough from centerline to the Jack.
Pairs: Bowls games in which each team has a pair of players ( a Skip and a Lead)
Points: Whoever gets their bowl(s) closest to Jack at conclusion of an End.
Potato Bowl: A badly thrown (or released) bowl that hops, skips and jumps.
Promoting a Bowl: Pushing up one of your team's bowls to a better position.
Rink: The space on the Green's playing surface. Often 15 feet wide from one end to the opposite end. The Rinks for a given
game or tournament are designated with markers on the edges of the green. This way, multiple games can be played
simultaneously on one green.
Rinks bowls: A bowling game in which there are 4 players per team a Skip, a Vice, 2nd Lead and a Lead. Typically then
players only use 2 bowls each.
Skip: Team captain or Skip who always plays last. This person is usually the most experienced player, who also guides the
Shot Bowl: The bowl closest to the Jack.
Tie: When the two closest bowls are both exactly the same distance from the jack and belong to opposing teams, even after
measurement, the end is declared a tie.
Touchers: Bowls that hit the Jack. These bowls are marked with chalk and remain "alive" even if they are in the ditch.
Trial Ends: Formal practice ends, usually only allowed at the start of a tournament, in which each team rolls 2 bowls down and
back to get a feel of the green. Such ends do not count in the scoring.
Triples: A game in which each team has 3 players on their team - a Skip, a Vice and a Lead. Typically each player then only
uses 3 bowls each.
Up: When your team does have the Shot Bowl, you are considered to be Up. You may be Up by one or more points.
Vice: The person who plays after the Lead and is responsible for deciding the winner of a head, and recording the results.
Weight: The amount of speed applied in delivering the bowl from the mat to the Jack. "Heavy" weight means that the bowl
stops beyond the Jack, while "Light" means that it stops short of the spot desired.
Wide: The bowl is started too far out of the centerline to the Jack (also called taking too much "Grass").
Wick: When a bowl bounces off another bowl. (This term is derived from curling).
Woods: An old term for bowls.
Yard On: A shot delivered with an extra degree of speed to displace or disturb other bowls in the Head with intent of killing