Learn to Play

Overview of Bowls in New South Wales

Bowls in New South Wales is played competitively by close to 40,000 members and many more social members.

There are a variety of competitions on offer to players at all levels. Club and zone hosted events plus state, national and international coordinated events are played throughout the course of the year.

In New South Wales, we have strong representative pathways for players to compete in.  We have considerable representation from both city and country players.  Aspiring players have the opportunity to represent Bowls NSW Ltd at a Junior (Under 18), Under 25, Over 40, Open or Senior level in multiple Interstate Test Series’ conducted annually. Many of our players, coaches and managers move on to represent Australia with the national body.

Recently, bowls has also seen a shift from competitive bowling pathways to a social bowling framework.  Whilst there has always been a strong social bowling culture, the introduction of ‘barefoot’ bowls provides greater opportunities for participation, and this is reflected across Australia.

The bowling clubs are the facilities that host the sport. These locations can be found all over the state and support your bowling experience. They are wanting you to participate and they do have people ready to welcome you and get you involved.

Bowls is a sport that provides great companionship, gamesmanship and competition. It can be played on equal terms by almost everyone. Bowls is a sport for all ages, from the young bowler through to adult bowlers. It doesn’t require special strength or athletic ability. You can be any body shape or size and is inclusive of disability athletes.

Bowls is known for the great spirit with which the game should be played.  Get in the spirit of bowls and see where it can take you.

How to Play Bowls


  • Get your bowl(s) closest to the jack (little white ball).

Delivering a Bowl:

  • Stand on the mat facing the direction you’re going to release the bowl.
  • Take the bowl in your preferred hand.
  • Ensure the bias (small logo on bowl) is on the inside (towards the middle of rink). The bias is the side the bowl will curve.
  • Choose the direction of your delivery remembering the bias will curve the bowl, therefore you should start outside the line of the jack.
  • Take a small back swing.
  • Step forward with your opposite foot.
  • Bend your front and back knee and roll the bowl.
  • Remember that the bowl will head out in a straight line, and towards the end of it’s journey start to angle back on its bias.
  • Avoid dropping or bouncing the bowl.


  • The player who has their bowl closest to the jack scores a point.
  • Points are awarded for each bowl closest to the jack until the opposing player has the next closest bowl.
  • Players can judge which bowl is closest by eye.
  • If unsure of the distances, a measuring tape is used.