Why Play Bowls?

If you’re looking at this website we’re going to assume that you know what lawn bowls actually IS! And a simple web search will give you all the history, rules, etc.

The question is, ‘Why would you want to take it up as a sport’? Here are a few random thoughts from some Malvern Bowling Club members …

  • ‘I like the fact that it’s one of the few sports where men and women compete on equal terms and actually play together. Strength counts for little. And once they showed me the basics, I quickly realised that anyone … and I mean anyone, regardless of size, shape, age or gender can bowl a good bowl!’

  • ‘Don’t care whether I win or lose. It’s just the friendships and the laughs’.

  • ‘I tossed up between golf versus bowls when I retired. I’d always been a social golfer, never tried bowls, so I gave it a go. I found I was good at it and now, I’m addicted. It beats golf in every way, plus I reckon I’ll still be able to play when I’m in my 80’s. Not so sure if that would be the case with golf.’

  • ‘I thought it was a sport for old people – until I found myself playing against a 23-year old and two 30 somethings in my first Pennant game. I now realise that it’s a sport for all ages.’

  • ‘The reason you see a lot of older people playing it is that it’s one of the few sports where the advantages of strength and youth can be offset by skill and tactics. You can actually get better at it as you get older and gain experience.’

  • ‘It’s as cerebral as it is sporty. I love it! Someone once described it as ‘chess on grass’, which I reckon is pretty apt’.

  • ‘I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I took up lawn bowling because, as a single person, I figured it was a good way to meet other single people, while having fun. And I was right’.

  • ‘Some days it does your head in, other days you’re “in the zone”. God only knows why! But it’s always great fun and a laugh with mates, regardless of how you play on the day’.

  • ‘I love the fact that I can wander down the club and even if I don’t feel like having a bowl, there’s always someone there to chat to, or a game in progress to watch’.

Bowls vs Golf

What’s the difference between bowls and golf?

Many golfers take up lawn bowls and wish they’d made the switch ten years earlier! Speaking as ex-golfers and committed bowlers, we love the following things about bowls;

  • You can generally walk to the local bowls club and ‘have a roll’ in minutes, compared to a frustrating drive through traffic to the nearest golf course.

  • If you’re a bowls club member, you don’t have to book a ‘tee off’ time. Just turn up, grab your bowls out of your locker and start bowling! And nine times out of ten there’ll be one of your fellow club members having a roll on an adjacent rink, if you’re looking for some conversation or company.

  • Bowls is a wonderfully mindful sport and a proven way to de-stress. Just breathe … aim … release … walk … repeat … ahh …

  • Cost – Leaving aside the difference in membership fees between golf clubs and lawn bowling clubs, the cost of equipment is significantly cheaper. Most bowls clubs have sets of old club bowls that they’ll loan you when you’re starting out. What golf club offers that??

  • When you’re ready to buy your own bowls, a brand-new set of lawn bowls will cost you around $600 and last for at least ten years (they’re actually date stamped!). That’s $60 per year over 10 years for your bowls equipment. And they’re almost unbreakable. Compare that to constantly upgrading golf clubs!

  • Bowls is much more social than golf. Hit a bad slice and you’re on your own in the trees, avoiding snakes, swooping magpies and breaking your ankle in rabbit holes, while searching for it. With bowls, you’re constantly able to sledge your mates and solve the world’s problems, while sipping refreshments between deliveries and enjoying a periodic 40 metre amble to the other end of the green.

  • A recent study showed golf and bowls of equal exercise value per hour.

  • 9 holes of golf = four hours. ‘Jack Attack’ bowls = 1 hour. Frankly, bowls is much more time efficient, given today’s busy lifestyle.

SBS Promo Video

Click the link below to view a great promotional video from Royal District Nursing Service (now called Bolton Clarke) that was shot in 2016, at Malvern Bowling Club. The video uses bowls to explain the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Comm. Games

Bowls is one of the sports of the quadrennial Commonwealth Games competition. Find out more details here. If you’re good enough you may even be lucky enough to play in them!


The Ultimate Bowls Championship (UBC) is being run and is screened on 7plus on your digital tv.  You can view past episodes from their website which is here. This features competitions from various places around Australia.