What to wear & What you need
For the vast majority of the time the clothing code whilst playing is mufti - whatever you feel relaxed and comfortable in - but with some competitions and tournaments requiring club uniform to be worn.
Footwear is important to avoid damage on greens that have either natural or artificial surfaces. The key thing with shoes is that they should not have a defined heel; flat or ridged soles are fine and any colour goes.
If you are new to the game the first set of bowls you start playing with will probably be;
a. Club bowls, available in a variety of sizes.
b. Maybe a set that has been hanging around within the family for years.
c. A set borrowed from a friend or fellow club member.
Once you have decided that lawn bowls is for you, it makes sense to purchase your own set of four bowls. There is plenty of advice available from our club coaches and members but please do not rush into buying a set until you are happy they are the right ones for you. The cost of a new set of bowls can be anything around $500 to $800 so another reason to get it right.
Size along with a bowl's arc characteristics are the two main factors to consider, along with weight and a grip to suit. So how do you know which is the right bowl for you?
Finding the right bowl for you will not automatically ensure you a place in The Black Jack Team but will allow you to feel more confident and relaxed, and this in turn means all the difference between enjoyment and satisfaction, and going home frustrated.
1. One rather crude method of guaging the correct size of bowl is to place your middle fingers and thumbs around the running surface of a bowl and if the tips just meet that's good for starters. 2. With a bowl held correctly in your bowling hand can you extend your arm in front and behind you, palm facing down, and comfortably hold the bowl without it slipping out of your hand? 3. By far the best method of finding the right bowl for you is to try as many different types as you can. Club members will let you try their own bowls and another suggestion is to go to a bowls shop where they will have a selection of bowls available to try out. Locally that would be a visit to Stoke Bowling Club and having a word with Mike Carter 027 547 8036 or Neil Olsson 027 2846 424.
For comprehensive information about bowls and their varying characteristics have a look at the following manufacturers websites where you will find bowls of all sizes, weights, grips and some amazing colour schemes as well as a huge selection of logos to personalise your set if going brand-new is for you. Most sites also allow you to 'build your own bowl'.
Aero (click here) See how an Aero bowl is made (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVNmHD6aqcg)
Henselite (click here)
Drakes Pride (click here)
Taylor (click here) The story of Taylor Bowls (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5YltN7q4DY)
Used bowls are nearly always available, and usually at a greatly reduced price,
Is a set of bowls all I need?
Most sports require a certain amount of paraphernalia to aid play and lawn bowls is no exception, but please don't feel that you must rush out and aquire everything below before you can start playing. Some items you will already have and the rest just seems to accumulate over time.
Club uniform and shoes have already been covered but here are some suggestions.
1. A bag of some description is essential to protect and carry your bowls along with everything else you have decided is essential. These days, many bowlers opt for a bag with wheels; carrying can be quite a weighty business.
2. A small cloth to keep your bowls dry and clean throughout a game is essential. Many players, irrespective of conditions, can be seen with a cloth in their hand at all times. Remember the kid's security blankets?
3. For those wet days, and it does happen occasionally, something to keep the rain out.
4. A hat of your choice is vital. Shade is always available around greens for a short break now and then but there could be long periods on the green without a break during an afternoon or full day of play.
5. Don't forget eye and skin ptotection.
6. Bowls require 'marking' occasionally so a suitable spray marker or pen would be useful. Good old fashioned chalk is still in use by many.
7. A means of enhancing grip on a bowl is used by many and these range from a variety of propriety brands such as 'Grippo' to a mix of rose water and glycerine or simply a damp cloth.
8. A measuring tape for those times when the eye is just not good enough to determine which is the shot bowl.
We have Grippo and spray markers on sale at Mapua Club and Stoke Bowling Club has a shop that caters for most other things you'd ever need for the game.
Mapua Bowling Club - Sport for all abilities and all ages