Barefoot Bowls – Tips & Etiquette

It’s that beautiful time of the year again – no more frosty mornings, just long balmy afternoons that run well into the evening, perfectly suited for sipping a cold one while catching up on the latest from your mates.

And what better activity is there for doing this than lawn bowls? Unlike other Club games like darts and pool, bowls is played outside in the fresh air with all the rays of sunshine and cool breeze that come with it.

Now is the most popular time for bowls at the RUC, and we see a lot of first-timers try their hand at one of Australia’s most played sports. We love welcoming new players to the game, and you’ll often find that some of the more experienced bowlers are all too happy to share their wisdom with beginners over a few frothy ends.

With all the sunshine and wet weather this spring, our greenskeeper has been doing an incredible job maintaining our beautiful surface. Greenskeeping is an art, and often one that is only noticed when it’s done poorly, so we have put together some tips and etiquette to not only ensure all bowlers have a great time, but also to support the maintenance of our fine greens.

  • Although it’s called ‘barefoot bowls’ other flat-soled shoes, such as thongs and sandals, are absolutely acceptable. Please respect our rule that heels and shoes with tread are not to be worn as they will damage the greens.
  • There is no eating or drinking permitted on the actual greens themselves, food and beverages are fine on the surrounds of the greens. Food and drinks dropped on the lawn can cause the grass to die, and broken glass is dangerous to bare feet and the greenskeeper’s machinery.
  • In barefoot bowls, driving of the bowls (bowling with force to knock other bowls out of play) is a big no-no. You can damage the bowls and the plinth, interfere with other people’s games, or even run break someone’s ankle. Bowls is a game of finesse, and it’s a better time for everyone when players are trying to play their best game rather than trying to disrupt the opposition. Be nice, play fair and everyone will have a great time.
  • It’s important to bowl from both ends of the green. We work hard to ensure that our greens are kept in tip-top shape, and bowling from both ends means that the grass stays even and there is no need to “bowl the bowls back” to one end only or collect them after each end. Want to hear a piece of wisdom from a wise old bowler? If you buy two drinks, you can leave one at each end for maximum convenience!
  • Bowl from as low to the ground as possible. Lobbing or chucking the bowl is not only bad for the greens, but it also won’t be as accurate or effective.
  • Sitting on the edge of the green is not permitted. Placing your feet on the edge of the grass may cause the edge of the green to break away, damaging the surface, plus a wayward bowl could come cannonballing at your ankle when you’re not paying attention. There are plenty of chairs and benches surrounding the greens for punters to sit back and relax.
  • Always bowl with a mat to avoid scuffing the grass at the point of delivery.

When everyone follows these rules, we’re able to maintain the great natural surface that players love bowling on. The most important thing for us at the RUC is that bowlers bring a good attitude to the game and respect other players.

If you want to find out more about the rules, or if you want some more tips, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly staff. We’re more than happy to show you the ropes and explain the game if it’s your first time, so don’t be shy!

Check out our Barefoot Bowls page to find out about all our members’ bowls specials or to book your spot on one of our greens.

Watch our video on Barefoot Bowls Etiquette at the RUC

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