The etiquette of the game of bowls is a combination of good manners, sportsmanship and sociability. These courtesies are best described as the unwritten Laws of the game. They are extras and designed to promote social ability and the excellent reputation for friendliness and sportsmanship the game of bowls has rightly earned.
Before the Game
- Be conversant with the Laws of the game and observe them.
- Be punctual to commence play at all matches and be properly attired.
During the Game
- Keep quiet and refrain from moving when players are on the mat. Movement at the head or talking at the mat end is very distracting.
- Stand behind the mat while your opponent bowls.
- Always allow your opponent the right to the head as spelt out in the Laws of the Game, failure to do so decreases the enjoyment of the game.
- Keep track of play, be ready to bowl when it is your turn. Always play your bowl with the minimum of delay BUT NEVER deliver before the previous bowl has come to rest.
- When changing ends, walk close to the centre of the rink with minimum delay, you could distract play on the next rink. Do not walk up the rink ahead of the last player if they stay on the mat, they are entitled to watch their bowl finish.
- Don't just step on the mat and indicate which way you are playing, wait for the Skip's instruction.
- Never applaud or complain about lucky bowls, accept them graciously. They tend to equal each other out over the course of the game.
- Respect the decisions of the Umpire. It is polite to thank the Umpire of the day before leaving the club.
After the Game
- If you lose, be a good loser. Don't blame your loss on other people, the green, the weather etc.
- Win or lose, always shake hands with your opponent and thank them for the game. Don't be too taken with your win today, the position could be reversed tomorrow.
- Offer your opponent and marker (if playing singles) a drink after the game. Be sure to thank the marker and remember that they have given their time to assist your game. You can repay them by being courteous in return.
- Learn to be a good marker. When offering your services remember that a marker can make or break a game.
- If you are a spectator do not engage in conversation with a player(s), this could be distracting for players on adjoining rinks. Do not attempt to give a player advice, even if they ask for it.
- Respect the green at all times. Do not drop bowls on the green, stand on the edge of the green or walk in the ditches. Always take care to protect and conserve the green at all times.
Above all, enjoy the game of bowls for its' pleasure and the lasting friendship it provides.