lawn bowls for seniors
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An Introduction to Lawn Bowls for Seniors

The game of bowls is loved the world over and played in an organized way in more than 50 countries around the world with many different variations and styles, from the French Boulles to the Scandinavian Tra Bowls. No variation, however, is quite as popular as the game of lawn bowls. Here’s a quick introduction to the game and how it’s played.

History of Lawn Bowls

It’s believed that the game of lawn bowls is an old one, originating as far back as the 12th century. It quickly gained in popularity thanks to the low physical effort required to enjoy it as a sport. The game was played everywhere, from schools and universities to dedicated social clubs. It was easy to set up and enjoy and didn’t need a lot of space. It suffered a short ban in England because there was a worry in the parliament that it might lead to a decrease in people participating in archery and other sports that served as war training at the same time as being recreational. 

The first country to formalize a league was Australia, which formed the Victoria Bowling Association towards the end of the 19th century. 

The Aim of the Game

The goal of lawn bowls is to roll your bowl (a ball) as close to a smaller white marker ball (a jack) as possible. At the end of each round, the player whose ball is closest to this jack is the winner of the round. The scoring system is similar to that of tennis, where a number of games are grouped into a set of 9 ends. To win you need to win two sets or win one set and tie a second.

The simple rules and execution of bowls make it a perfect sport for all ages, but it is particularly enjoyed by seniors – so much so that many senior living facilities have bowling greens on their premises.


You actually need very little to get started with Lawn Bowling. You’ll need the actual bowls themselves. They come in sets of four and are specially designed for the sport of lawn bowls. Each ball is biased and are not perfectly round, which leads to the path each ball takes being slightly curved. You’ll also need a bag to transport your bowls, as well as a jack of your own. A measuring tape is also handy to settle any games that are too close to call by eye.

The Health Benefits

There are many health benefits associated with lawn bowls and playing the game. You’ll naturally enjoy better physical fitness, better coordination, and the development of skills, but players also report feeling more self-confident and happier thanks to the social aspect of playing bowls with friends or members of a club.

It’s a game that offers a lot for seniors, just remember to warm up and stretch before the game and to apply sunscreen before heading out onto the greens to avoid the biggest risk of a good game of lawn bowls – a bit of sunburn!

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