Game Suggestions


Following are some suggestions to make your Bowls Events and Social Days more interesting…..

Green on Green Day

This is a very funny day that could be used on any occasion. But as the name implies, use it for St Patrick’s day.

Advertise it as a special day telling prospective players;

  • There will be a competition for the best green costume.
  • Some different and interesting things will happen (but don’t tell them what you plan).

Play three bowl triples with two games of eleven ends, and play 4 “special” ends in each game.

  • End three – long bowls removed – Any bowl which passes the jack is removed and placed on the bank (this includes bowls knocked past jack high by other bowls).
  • End six – short bowls removed – Any bowl finishing short of jack high is removed and placed on the bank. If the jack moves, bowls then short of jack remain on the green. If the jack goes into the ditch it is replaced on the centre spot.
  • End nine – reverse order of play – The jack is not delivered. The skippers play their bowls, then the seconds. The leads then deliver the jack and play their bowls.

 Order of play

____Skips______3a,3b,3a,3b,3a,3b skips go to head



  • End Eleven – powerplay end – The number of shots scored on this end is doubled

Give the FIRST PRIZE to the team with the lowest score.

Melbourne Cup Day – ‘Club Cup’

  • Play a short morning game as members who play social bowls every Tuesday will still want a game.
  • When the bowlers arrive, ask them if they want to participate in a “draw bowling” competition with an entry fee of $2. Give the competition a name. For example, the “Bowlers Cup”.
  • During the morning, one of the club officials rate the players who have entered, putting a price on them from $1 to $4
  • These prices are put on a sheet of paper, and during lunch all present are asked if they would like to buy a ‘horse’ in the “Bowlers Cup”.
  • Use your “target bowling mats”. Each bowler in the first round bowls two bowls at the target mats, and any bowl finishing on the mat goes on to a second round. In the second round, the places are determined by closeness to the centre of the mat.
  • Prizes are paid to the “place getting” horses and owners. 


Rules may vary from club to club

  • Dress mufti.
  • Prize money to be determined on the day, depending on the number of players.
  • Each player will play with three bowls only, with a maximum of four players per rink.
  • The player drawing the lead position on the first end on each rink will keep the score card for the entire game. Other players to measure and declare the results.
  • On the first end the player drawing the lead position delivers the jack a minimum length of 21 meters, and to be played to where the jack is rolled (don’t move it to the centre). Should the jack be delivered out of bounds or in the ditch, a penalty of two shots shall be deducted from the offending player.
  • On the second and subsequent ends, the player with the highest score on the previous end will lead followed by the player with the next highest score and so on.
  • Game will be 18 ends maximum, or on the bell as decided by the controlling body.
  • On each end, the scoring will be:1st shot-four points, 2nd shot-three points, 3rd shot-two points, 4th shot-one point.
  • No driving is permitted. If a player knocks the jack into the ditch, the end will be declared dead and five points deducted from the offending player. The end will count.
  • A bowl knocked into the ditch or out of bounds will incur a penalty of two points by the offending player.
  • A bowl in course rolling into the ditch or finishing out of bounds will incur a penalty of two shots. This players remaining bowls are included in the final count.
  • Players are not permitted to inspect the head; a penalty of five points will be deducted from the offending player.
  • The winner shall be the player with the highest overall score.


This is a fun way to keep people involved while waiting for an event to happen – for example: the organised play to start time is delayed, or a meal break. As most clubs always need extra funds, you could charge a small amount per bowl.

  • Place a mat 3m from the edge of a corner of the bowling green. Place a jack 5-7m from the edge of the opposite diagonal corner.
  • Players take turns in trying to draw to the jack, with the closest bowl remaining on the green and the unsuccessful bowls returned. 
  • Players may move the jack and move the current shot bowl out of play. 
  • If the jack is hit into the ditch, it is returned to the starting position. 

Once all the players have had their fill, the current shot bowl wins.


This is often used as a fund-raising event, usually for a local charity.

  • A jack, possibly with a toy spider or a coin, is placed in the centre of the green, lined up with all four corners. Sometimes coins are also scattered randomly around the central area of the green.
  • All participants line up on all four sides of the green, with one foot in the ditch.
  • Inform the participants which target is the main prize if there is more than one item on the green. 
  • At the word from the organiser, all players deliver their bowls simultaneously, attempting to become the closest bowl to the jack (or the spider or a coin).
  • The closest bowl wins.


  • Place a mat 4m from the rear ditch. Set up 2 bowls on either side of a jack, spaced by the width of a jack; 28m from the mat-line.
  • Participants drive in an attempt to hit the jack into the ditch.
  • At a promotional event, spot-prizes may be awarded to successful participants.
  • This could also be turned into a competition, set up on a number of rinks, where participants are allowed a certain number of bowls per round; scoring 1 point if they hit either of the bowls cleanly and 3 points if they hit the jack cleanly. Only 1 point would be awarded for a ricochet. The two players with the highest points could then have a “shoot-out” to determine the winner.

Club Fun Day 

  • All members are asked to bring at least one non-bowling friend for a fun morning of bowls. Organise with your members to make their extra 2 bowls available for the visitors, and have a coach spend 20 minutes giving the visitors a quick lesson in order to maximise their fun. 
  • Organise the players in games of 2-bowl triples or 2-bowl pairs – do not organise non-players in fours games as they do not understand the nuances of the game and get bored standing around; you want the turnaround time between deliveries to be as short as possible. 
  • Play a mini-tournament of 3 games of 6 ends, with a tea-break after the 1st round, and a social lunch at the end with prizes and lucky-draws.

Two Jack Bowls

With just four changes to the normal rules, the game is very different. Two Jack Bowls provides a new and exciting bowling experience to all bowlers looking for something a little different. The game is a challenging test, met by the careful use of draw shots and tactical decisions. The drive has been taken out of this game entirely making it a great fun alternative for social bowlers of all standards. It is extremely competitive, yet has maintained the vagaries inherent in the regular game. Two Jack Bowls is really absorbing and fun to play.

Two jacks – Two heads – Each lead rolls one jack. They are lifted and placed 1m either side of the centerline. Usually both jacks remain separate targets throughout the end, which encourages every player to rely on direct draw shot skills to score points.
Tactics – No two games can ever be the same. Every shot from Lead to Skip may require a different tactical approach to gain progressive scoring advantage. This could include trying for shot bowls to both jacks. Moving a Jack away from an opposition bowl(s). The Lead and Second quietly setting up a few shot bowls close to one Jack, the Skip then goes for the other. The scoring tide can turn very rapidly and never forget the opposition might be up to the same tricks and be better tacticians. Be ever vigilant!
Bonus Points – A bonus point for a “toucher”. Anyone, at any time (including brand new player)s can actively score points for their team. It is not unusual for a team to have 5 or more “touchers”, so bonus points can win or lose the game.
Penalty Points – Drives accrue two penalty points. This is to encourage bowlers to draw and to actively discourage bowlers charging through the head, ‘looking’ for luck. A drive is a bowl that finishes in the ditch. 
Scoring – The normal score system is used and begins from either jack. This first jack is then removed. No bowl is to be disturbed. The same normal scoring system is then applied to the second jack. The score totals from both jacks are recorded on the card.
Competition Winners – Any established system can be used, but a “point system” is ideal for the game. The suggestion is; 1 Point for a winning end. 1 Point each for a drawn end. 1 Point extra for an end winning advantage of 3 shots. 2 Points extra for an end winning advantage of 4 or more shots. Bonus and Penalty points are to be taken into account.

2-Bowl Triples

This is a good game to play with the youth and new players, as there is a minimal turnaround time for each player between deliveries.

2-4-2 Pairs 

  • This is a good game to play at club level, to allow new players and front-rank to develop back-rank skills; and to remind long-time skips what it is like to play lead! 
  • Each end, the players who start the end play 2 bowls each, then go to the head. The players, who started at the head, now play 4 bowls each before returning to the head. The players, who started the end, now play their remaining 2 bowls. This means that the “leads” start every odd end and the “skips” start every even end.


  • Usually these sides are made up with at least one member of the opposite sex. 
  • Rounds would have alternative formats with fours and singles in one round and trips and pairs in the next round. This type of tournament is usually played over 2 days, with mens singles one morning and ladies singles the other morning.


  • Usually these sides are made up with at least two members of the opposite sex. 
  • Rounds would have alternative formats with fours and pairs in one round and two trips games in the next round, with one member of the opposite sex in each team.

3-Team Triples

  • Three triples teams play 2-bowl triples per rink. This could be especially useful to small clubs with only one or two greens, in expanding the number of teams they could host from 12 (24) to 18 (36).


  • This is a good, fun way to get players on the green on a summer, Friday late afternoon, to prepare for the matches over a week-end. 
  • Three or four players play on one rink, delivering their bowls alternately, scoring individually. 
  • The closest 4 bowls to the jack score as follows: 1st = 4 points, 2nd = 3 points, 3rd = 2 points and 4th = 1 point – 10 points per end. 
  • If this is played as a mini-tournament over a set number of ends and you have one or two rinks of four players with other rinks of three players, the players on the rinks with three, loose 25% of their score. 
  • Alternatively, if you have an odd number of players turn up for a social afternoon, these three players could play “Hundred-Up”; where the first player to reach 100 points is the winner.


  • Two players and one non-player play in a triples tournament over 18 ends. 
  • The tournament is played on a round-robin basis at club level to determine the “Club Buddy” champion team. It ensures that all “Buddies” get to play a few games, and hopefully get hooked on bowls. 
  • The club-champions play a final event at district level to determine the “Buddy Team of the Year”. 
  • Prize money could be made up from the entry fees.


  • This is a tournament that can be played before or after regular bowls days at the club, up until the closing date set by the district.
  • Participants pay a small fee (e.g. $10) where 60% goes to the club and 40% to the district. This allows 4 trial bowls (1 on each side, both ways) and 8 target bowls.
  • 3 jacks are placed 25cm apart on the 2m mark and the mat is placed on the 2m mark.
  • Participants must play both ways – i.e. 4 up the green and 4 down. 
  • Scoring: 1 point for hitting the outside jacks, 2 points for passing between the jacks and 3 points for hitting the centre jack. A bowl not reaching the ditch may not score. If a player decides to use any of the trial bowls as scoring bowls, this will diminish the number of target bowls played. 
  • This competition could be run at 4 levels – separate men and ladies; open and novices. 
  • The club champions would get together for a fun morning of driving competition to determine the winner in each category, with a fun social thereafter. Final prize money is determined by the amount of money (40%) received from the clubs.

Mix and Mingle

The Concept – the afternoon consists of four games of 7 ends of two bowl triples or three bowl pairs. In each game you play with and against a different team

  •  This is a good ‘getting to know you’ afternoon. It began when a small group playing winter Saturdays wanted to do something different. They tried this style and they liked it so much that they played it every week from then on. After the game the players would sit around as one group, and those with good scores would ‘claim’ the prizes.
  • If you have the draw sheets, it is one of the easiest of all tournaments to organise. You do not need names in advance, you just take the players money and keeep a count of how many have paid. At the starting time you decide which set of cards is needed and hand them out. Everyone who turns up can get a game without causing you any problems.
  • The organizer can play the full afternoon if the number of players is even. If it is odd, then they find someone who is happy to share and play two games each. This avoids a pair having to play a triple. At the interval between games, no rink can start a new game until everyone has finished the previous game.
  • During the day each player will play with or against most of the other players.
  • Because the draw allows for any number between 12 and 48, anyone who arrives can play.

The Draw

  • We provide four draws (download links below) – three rinks for 12 to 18 players, four rinks for between 16 and 24, and six rinks for between 24 and 36 players and eight rinks for between 32 and 48. If you have more than 48 players you could use two sets of cards and put them on different greens.
  • There can be up to four games during the day.
  • When playing, re-number the rinks you are using as 1 to 3,4,6 or 8.
  • To run the day you can write the cards from the draw list which shows for example “card 12 4A 3B 3B 1B”. This means that for the first game player 12 goes to rink 4 and plays in team A
  • To make it even easier for you we have included downloads for sets of cards for 12-18 players, 16-24 players, 24-36 players and 32-48 players. Print sets for each of these and only start to distribute them when you know which set best fits the number who have arrived.

The Game

  •  With twelve players you play three bowl pairs on 3 rinks. As the numbers increase some games change to two bowl triples. When the expected numbers are over 16 you use four rinks and cater for up to 24 players, then 6 rinks if you have 24-36 . Where the expected number is over 32 go to 8 rinks with up to 48 players. If you expect over 48 you use two sets of cards, which will lead to some rink numbering problemsAt the start of each game the players meet on the rink and decide who will play each position in the pairs or triple. Since the total number of players is even, if five players arrive at one rink, there must be 5 on another rink, so one player moves to another rink to make one rink of pairs and one of triples.
  • Some time is wasted at changeover because the slowest game sets the pace. It is best to go in for a beer after two games.


  •  All players keep their own cards and at the end of the day there are individual winners.
  • At end of the game, each player works out the number of points scored and writes it on the card.
  • Each game is scored as 10 points for a win, 5 points for a draw and one point for each end won. If you want to introduce your own system, you can edit the cards as you wish.
  • The players keep their cards and the organiser counts down from the maximum possible score to determine the winner.

Download files can be found here.

A summary of useful FREE files to download……….

The above software comes with easy to understand “Video Tutorials”, much thanks to Geoff Graham.

Visit Geoff on Facebook and ……….