Umtentweni Bowling Club

About Bowls

Be bowled Over!

Origin & History of Lawn Bowls

Archaeological findings suggest a sport that was played with biased stone balls as far back 7000 years ago. A variation of this sport, named bocce, was played in Rome during the reign of Julius Caesar. The oldest surviving bowling club dates back to 1299 and is located in Southampton (UK).

Lawn bowl player

Fun facts:

  • The sport is referenced in several of Shakespeare’s works, with references to jacks, kissing the jack (hitting the jack with your ball), and bias (the weighted ball).
  • An amusing anecdote about Sir Francis Drake relates that he was playing a game of bowls at Plymouth Hoe, when he was warned of the approach of the Spanish Armada (1588). Drake is said to have remarked that there was plenty of time to finish the game and still beat the Spaniards.
Sir Francis Drake whilst playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe is informed of the approach of the Spanish Armada. Bronze plaque by Joseph Boehm, 1883, base of Drake statue, Tavistock

Bronze plaque on Drake statue in Tavistock. Photo credit: Lobsterthermidor at en.wikipedia | Creative Commons

Playing Lawn Bowls

Lawn Bowls is a target sport played on a flat surface (grass, synthetic grass or carpet) with biased balls (bowls). The target is a small ball called the “jack”, usually white or yellow, which is rolled out on the rink.

Once the jack has been rolled, each player in the opposing teams deliver a set number of bowls, placed as closed to the jack as possible. Points are allocated according to the distance of each player’s bowls from the jack.

After each “end” (when all players have bowled), players then bowl back in the opposite direction. A game can be a set number of ends.

About Bowls

Bowls can be played by people of all ages and abilities, from young children to older adults. Most persons with disability can play bowls with able bodied athletes, e.g., the game is very suited for totally blind and partially sighted players, as only very minor adaptations need to be made. Visually impaired bowlers can play in teams and they often play against fully sighted players.


Rink: the area in which play takes place, usually a flat grassed area.
Jack: small white or yellow bowl rolled out before play commences. The idea is to place the bowls as close as possible to the jack.
Bowls: balls used by the players.
Mat: small mat on which the players stand to bowl.
Draw shot: a slow, measured bowl intended to place the bowl closest to the jack.
Drive shot: a hard, fast bowl delivered with the intention to knock the opponent’s ball away.


The player stands on the mat, feet together, knees and waist bent slightly. The bowl is held in the preferred hand (right or left). The player steps out with the opposite foot, take a small back swing, bend down and roll the bowl along the ground.

Bowls are designed to travel a curved path because of a bias that is produced entirely by the shape of the bowl. A bowler determines the bias direction of the bowl in his hand by a dimple or symbol on one side.

Our Generous Sponsors

We would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support. Please support them like they have supported our club.

National Lotteries Commission
3rd Avenue Pub & Restaurant
WeaverWorx Website Designers
Wimpy Oribi Plaza
Green Chilli Restaurant & Take Away
Panarottis Shelly Beach
Trinity Unisex Hair, Nail & Beauty Salon
Mugg & Bean
Harbourview Superspar
Above All Funeral Services
South Coast Herald
Ocean Basket Shelly Beach
Warwick Financial Maturity
Status Panelbeaters

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