Etiquette     'Customs of behaviour regarded as correct in social circumstances'

An appreciation of Etiquette within the game is important and will honestly help you, your game, and fellow players enormously, yet sadly some points of etiquette are often either ignored or misunderstood.

The following list, which is admittedly fairly lengthy, will hopefully guide you through a game, as well as before and after play commences.

Our prime concern is to promote good sportsmanship and if the following helps, great.


1. Bowling is a friendly game and all players should show courtesy and good sportsmanship.

2. When playing away from home, you are representing your club and should behave appropriately.

3. Negative or disparaging remarks directed at the opposing team or players is not good sportsmanship. Avoid unseemly language and behaviour.

4. Please deal sensibly with all litter. 

5. Respect the smoking policies at all clubs.

6. Be sensible with mobile phone use around the green and respect a player's need to concentrate.

7. It is good manners to thank markers and offer some refreshment at the end of a game. They have been on their feet for some time, often in the hot sun, in order to facilitate YOUR game.

8. Do not be lazy - leave the scoreboard clean and ready for use next time.

9. Spectators are not allowed on the green, in fact they should not be within three feet of the face of the bank. They should not walk behind the head while a bowler is on the mat.


1. Ensure that you know the dress code for the game or match in which you are participating.

2. Do not be disrespectful by arriving late for home or away games.  Be ready.

3. When entering the green do not walk across rinks that other people are using.

4. Introduce yourself and shake hands with your opponents and your team before play commences and after the game is complete.

5. If you have lost 'the toss' hand the jack to the opposing lead when he/she has placed the mat.  When the jack has been delivered have their first bowl ready to hand to them. This friendly gesture sets the tone of the game.


1. Do not walk behind a head when a player is on the mat preparing to bowl.

2. Do not drop your bowls onto the green, and try to prevent causing scuff marks.

3. Some players like to see the rink boundary markers and the rink centre marker so take care not to obstruct them.

4. All players should stay behind the player on the mat and out of their line of vision.

5. It is not only against the Laws of the Game, but is contrary to etiquette to attempt to distract the attention of the player on the mat as they are about to bowl.

6. As well as avoiding noise and movement behind the player about to bowl, avoid distraction at the head - deliberate or unintentional.

7. Congratulate an opponent on a well-played bowl and don't moan if they have a lucky shot.

8. Take an interest in the game. Follow how the head is building up so you do not waste time by having to ask other team members, not least the embarrassment of asking an opponent!

9. Do not walk around talking to bowlers participating in other games. Allow them to concentrate on their own game.

10. Be aware of casting a shadow over the mat area when a player is about to deliver a bowl. Avoid shadows over the head.

11. All players should be ready to play as soon as 'possession of the mat' is theirs. Scrambling around searching for your bowl is not acceptable, especially in a timed game.

12. Warn players on adjoining rinks if a drive is about to be played and be ready, if you are at the head, to try and stop bowls going into other rinks and disturbing their head.

13. When ready to bowl be aware of adjoining rinks. Delay your shot if otherwise it would interfere with play on either side of you.

14. If you want to follow your bowl's progress down the rink, you must be behind the head as the bowl stops i.e. you must beat your bowl to the head and not be wandering down the rink when possession has transferred to the opposing team.

15. Singles - You have the right to inspect the head after your third bowl. If you feel the need to inspect the head after two bowls, firstly ask the marker's permission.

16. It is unlawful as well as discourteous to encroach on adjoining rinks.

17. Possession of the rink belongs to the team whose bowl is being played. When the bowl comes to rest possession is transferred to the other team - allowing time to mark a 'toucher'.  Do not linger on the head and thereby obstruct the following player.

18. It is customary to pick up the mat after your opponent has delivered the last bowl of an end.

19. It is courtesy to place on the mat the bowl of the previous end's winning skip before players change ends.

20. Do not pass or walk in front of the player who was last to play - they have the right to see how their bowl progresses. Wait until they start moving up the rink.

21. Allowing time for a 'tactical chat', walk quickly when changing ends and walk within the confines of the rink you are playing on. Wasting time in a timed game is frowned upon.

22. When required to direct the skip it is the number 3 in fours, the number 2 in triples and the lead in pairs. Other players should not interfere unless invited to do so.

23. If you are on the head you can only make comments and see what position your bowls are in if you are in possession of the rink.

24. If you are at the head it is your responsibility to take care of bowls coming into the head from adjoining rinks.

25. All players should stand at least two metres back from the head while the skip bowls, with the exception of the player who is giving the skip directions.

26. It is not etiquette for the skip to go to the head and interfere with decisions regarding scoring.

27. Disturbing the head before an opponent has a chance to determine the result is illegal and unacceptable.

28. It is the player claiming the points who is responsible for measuring and/or removing shot bowls from the head not the player conceding.

29. Help clear the head after the result has been determined.

30. When 'kicking back bowls' leave a clear area behind the mat in order to avoid trip hazards.

31. Retire from the area when an umpire has been asked to measure.

32. Appreciate a marker's obligations when it comes to answering your questions. 

33. Make yourself available to mark when you feel confident. It is not good to be sitting on the side watching a game being played unmarked. Others will mark a game for you, return the favour.

If anyone disagrees with any of the above, would like to make some additions, has any comments, or needs further information on the Etiquette within the game please contact us and we will do our best to help.