The entire grassed surface on which the game is played. Many clubs have changed to synthetic/carpet greens but the concept remains the same. Greens range in length from 31 metres to 40 metres.


The section of the green in which your game is played. Rinks are between 4.3 and 5.8 metres wide. The rink is numbered on the centre line and identified by yellow or white pegs/posts on the bank (ends) of the green.

Rink Boundary

The boundary of your rink and marked on the green with lines in line with the pegs/posts on the bank and the ditch at each end.

Centre line and 2 metre mark

The centre line of the rink is usually marked on the green in line with the rink number. It is the line on which the jack when first rolled is placed. The 2 metre (six foot) mark is the end of the centre line at each end of the green.


The raised section around the green where players, having delivered their bowls or not bowling, often stand or sit during a game.


A game is played over a number of ‘ends’ depending on the competition in which you are playing. An ‘end’ is playing all the bowls in one direction of the green and the scoring of the result. Playing back in the opposite direction on the green constitutes two ‘ends’ played, so you go up and back until the required number of ends are played. Games vary from 10 ends to 27 ends in length.

‘Up and back’

Called out by the skipper when there are two ends remaining to play in the game.

The ditch

The depressed section at both ends of the green. Usually contains soil or beach sand in which the jack or a live bowl rests if knocked into the ditch.


The small white (or yellow) ball that you are trying to get as close to as possible. Has additional nicknames of kitty, kate or cat!!

The mat

A rectangular non-slip rubber mat on which you stand to deliver the bowl. Part of one foot must remain on or over the mat at all times during delivery of a bowl.


The natural arc of the bowl as designed. The small ring/insignia side of the bowl will always be the “inside” of the curve as the bowl is rolling.

Wrong bias

When a bowl has been bowled and turns away from the direction intended – so away from the jack!


When a bowl delivered has hit the jack. The bowl is marked with chalk or spray to indicate it is a toucher. Touchers remain “live” if it comes to rest in the ditch.

Dead bowl and out of bounds

A dead bowl is one when delivered ends up in the ditch without touching the jack. Out of bounds (when a bowl when delivered finishes outside the boundary line of the rink) is also a dead bowl.


For a right-handed person, when the bowl is delivered down the green on the right hand side of the centre line. The bowl turns left towards the jack. For a left-handed person it is the opposite. The bowl is delivered down the left hand side of the centre line and turns right towards the jack.


For right-handed person, when the bowl is delivered down the green on the left hand side of the centre line. The bowl turns right towards the jack. Vice versa for the left hander.

The narrow hand

Can either be the forehand or backhand shot but is generally determined by the prevailing wind blowing across the green. The bowl is working against the wind pushing it away from the centre line and the jack, so it curves less than expected

The wide hand

Will be the opposite hand to above with the wind pushing the bowl towards the centre line and jack. The bowl curves more than expected.

A drive or “up-shot”

When a bowl is delivered either forehand or backhand at speed so as to take some or most of the bias out of the bowl. It is an attacking bowl designed to change the standing of the bowls already delivered.

‘Take more grass’

Requires the bowler to deliver wider from the centre line than a previous bowl.

‘Take less grass’

Requires the bowler to deliver closer to the centre line than a previous bowl.


The power used in the arm action when delivering the bowl to reach the jack. On a heavy or slow green you will need more weight but on a quick green, less weight. “Benders” or up-shots need more weight.

Green speed

This is determined by the time it takes the bowl to travel at draw weight over 27 metres. On a quick or fast green this will be about 16 seconds and a slow green, about 10-12 seconds (as a rough guide).