Salisbury Bowling Club


We of course want you to enjoy the sport – but good manners and etiquette play a big part.

Bowling Green Etiquette – Good Manners

(Bowlers and spectators)

You are representing your club – you are an ambassador for your Club.

Behave appropriately – show respect



  • Do not distract bowlers who are bowling towards you, by moving or walking across the end of the rink. Wait until the bowl has been delivered, then move.
  • Do not interrupt players on the green, particularly during competitive matches. If you need to speak to players do it before or after their game.
  • Spectators who are in the player’s line of vision should keep still while bowls are being delivered.


Before the Game

  • Make sure you know the rules of the game or competition you are playing.
  • Be correctly dressed. Punctuality for all games is a courtesy to the other players.
  • Ensure that jacks, mats, scoreboards and other equipment are ready for the beginning of the game.

During the Game

  • Introduce yourself and shake hands with your opponent
  • Players should use the steps provided (if any) when going on or off the bowling green – do not walk across other players’ rinks.
  • Don’t drop your bowls onto the green and ensure that your delivery is not damaging the green.
  • Introduce yourself and shake hands with your opponent(s) both before play commences and after the game is complete.
  • Keep to your own rink. Don’t become a wanderer and distract other bowlers.
  • Walk down the centre of your rink when you are changing ends.
  • Walk around the head to ensure you don’t displace any bowls. Be aware of players on the next rink.
  • Don’t sit on the bank with feet on the green – it can cause unwanted wear on the edge of the green.
  • Always help to clear the bowls, except the lead, who will be placing the mat.
  • Do not smoke on the green. Do not use mobile phones on the green.
  • Do not move around the head when your opponent is about to deliver his bowl.
  • Stand well back from the head, keep quiet and do not do anything that would distract your opponent. Wait until the bowl has been delivered before moving.
  • Observe the rules for possession of the rink – Possession of the rink (Laws of the Sport of Bowls)
    • 13.1 Possession of the rink will belong to the player or team whose bowl is being played.
    • 13.2 As soon as each bowl comes to rest, possession of the rink will transfer to the opposing player or team after allowing time for marking a toucher as soon as it comes to rest.
  • Players at the mat end of the rink who are not delivering a bowl should stand at least 1 metre behind the mat.
  • After you have delivered a bowl and before it has come to rest you have two options. If you want to track your bowl’s progress you must be behind the head as it stops.
  • If you don’t go to the head you must be behind the mat as your bowl stops.
  • Avoid delaying play by leaving the rink without the knowledge of the other players.
  • On sunny days ensure that your shadow does not fall on the jack or allow it to fall in front of the mat when a player is about to bowl.
  • Standing directly behind a white jack in white shoes can make the jack difficult to see.
  • Do not disturb the head until the result of the end has been agreed.
  • Encourage, rather than criticise – no one delivers a bad bowl intentionally. Admit a fluke gracefully.
  • Commend good shots. Don’t applaud a team member who has outrageous luck. Learn to accept lucky shots, both for and against you – they will balance out in the long run.

After the Game

  • Shake hands. Congratulate and compliment the opposing team and offer to buy your opposite number a drink (after singles matches, your ‘marker’ should be included in the invitation).
  • Remember that your opponent is a guest of the Club.
  • Ensure that jacks, mats, scoreboards and other equipment are returned to the store.
  • Avoid making excuses for your lack of success the topic of conversation.

Following the above guidance will make you a better respected bowler, and will contribute towards the enjoyment of the game for everyone involved, both on and off the green.

Bowling is a friendly game and all players should show courtesy and good sportsmanship.