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Getting Started

New Members

Petts Wood welcomes both women, men and youngsters who wish to take up bowls, and also experienced bowlers.

New members who are experienced bowlers will be able to put themselves down for selection for Men’s and Ladies friendly matches against other clubs as applicable, plus mixed matches and the LX League (Men) and Jubilee League (Women). Where appropriate they may also be asked to play in North West Kent League matches.

People new to the game will be given taster sessions by our qualified coaches to help them decide whether they want to play the game. They will then be provided with follow-up coaching before they join the club and the coaches will also be available to give advice about bowls equipment after joining. New bowlers will be encouraged to play in our weekly roll-ups and will be able to put their names down to play in friendly matches when and if they want to.

Joining the club couldn’t be easier. Either contact the Ladies or Men’s Secretaries or turn up at the club on Monday, Thursday or Friday afternoons between late April and the end of September.

New members are given a ‘mentor’ in their first season to give them advice about our club, for example playing times, matches, competitions and social events. 

Taster Sessions

If you are interest in learning to play bowls then please attend one of our taster sessions or get in touch with our Men’s or Ladies Secretaries.

We have a number of experienced coaches who will chat about the basics of the game and we can provide bowls and shoes so that you can try it for yourself (you are welcome to bring your own flat soled shoes).

There is always a ‘cuppa’ and biscuits after the play to talk to club members.

Bowls Basics

Bowls England provides the following information about bowls basics:

‘The object of the sport of bowls is essentially simple. It is played on a square of closely cut grass called 'the green', which is divided into playing areas called rinks. The green is surrounded by a small ditch to catch bowls which leave the green, and a bank upon which markers indicate the corners and centrelines of each rink.

Players take turns to deliver their bowls from a mat at one end of the rink towards a small white ball, often referred to as 'the jack' at the other end. Bowls are shaped so that they take a curved path towards the jack. To be successful the bowl must be delivered with the correct weight, along the correct line.

The object is to get one or more of your bowls closer to the jack than those of your opponents on each end – one point is scored for each counting bowl.

There are many different formats to the game, but the most common in England are singles or in teams of pairs, triples or fours. In singles, the winner is the first to score 21 points. In the other three team formats, the winner is the team that scores the most points over a set number of ends.’


Bowls come in different sizes and weights and have a bias on one side of the bowl that can be used to curve it either towards the right or the left of the target jack. Bowls are manufactured with different biases which means that they swing to a greater or lesser extent. Bowls have unique symbols / pictures on each side of the bowl to help with identification. It is important that new bowlers at Petts Wood Bowls Club seek advice from one of our coaches on the type of bowl that will best suit them in terms of size, weight and bias.

The Game Itself

New Bowlers who join our club will normally start by playing in rinks (4 a side) or triples (3 a side). For rinks the order of play is Lead, 2, 3, and Skip. Initially for rinks games new bowlers will play at number 2 while they get used to the feel and mechanics of drawing a bowl onto the jack. When they have gained sufficient confidence at number 2 they will be moved to Lead to learn the art of ‘putting up the jack’. New members can expect to get assistance and encouragement from other members.


Bowls is a great and very sociable sport but there are a few simple rules that make the game enjoyable for everyone:

Friendly sporting acts towards your team mates and opponents are appreciated and reciprocated. Keep still and quiet when a bowler is on the mat preparing to bowl; don’t move around when you’re standing behind the Jack waiting for the Skips to bowl; when walking from one end of the rink to the other walk down the middle of the rink in order not to distract people on adjacent rinks; commend a good bowl by a team member; be frank in admitting a fluke when you receive one, and remember it when at some time later an opponent gets a fluke against you.  Please browse Etiquette for more details.  

What to Wear

When receiving coaching prior to joining Petts Wood Bowling Club there is no dress code except for flat shoes – shoes with heels could damage the green.  For roll-ups, some friendly matches and drives the dress code is flat bowling shoes, white tops, and grey trousers, skirts, cut-offs or shorts. For some matches white trousers, skirts, cut-offs or shorts will be required. On certain days e.g. Charities Day and the End of Season Drive the dress code could be smart casual or themed. The dress code for individual games can be found in the Club Fixture Booklet.

Please see "Lawn Bowls – A Complete Beginners’ Guide" on for initial information, you'll also find some coaching links on our links page. 


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