Friday, 9 October 2009

The Different Bowls Models

Currently there are 17 different models available on the UK market, most models being made in 2 weights, with 6 different sizes in each, and some models made with 2 different grips, WOW ! that’s means a possible 300+ combinations of model, weight, size, and grip, add to this 12 different colours offered by some manufacturers, and its well over 3000 combinations offered in the UK alone. Hence there can sometimes be a long wait for your particular colour bowl you want. In this blog I will try and guide you through each UK model, and what it has been designed to do. When choosing your model bowl, you must always consider,
1. Where you will be playing most of your games (ie your home club),
2. Weather playing indoors or outside, or if both what do you enjoy most, or where are you most competitive. Taking these into account you should always choose the bowl which will suit the majority of the games you play, unless you are able to afford more then one set of course.

Taylor Bowls Range (Glasgow, Scotland)

Lazer Designed to take a narrow even draw line to the jack, it will perform best on very fast greens, such as indoor, or fast running outdoor greens, normally would suit Lead’s and number 2’s. The most noticeable difference with the Lazer is its slimmer shape, which makes it very comfortable to hold for players with smaller hands. It is available in black colour only, and sizes 00 to 5, both medium and heavyweights. With the Taylor Progrip (dimple) no size 00 in medium weight).

Vector VS The original ‘Vector’ was introduced some 9/10 years ago to combat the ever increasing number of faster running indoor greens. It soon established itself as the No.1 best selling indoor bowl in the UK, it received a cosmetic makeover 4 years ago, and is now known as the Vector VS (vector sport). This bowl has narrow draw with a even draw back to the centre, it plays best on faster running greens, and would suit Lead’s or number 2’s, who are looking for a bowl which has a forgiving a draw line, providing you have learnt to bowl a consistent weight, these bowls could help improve your game. Available in sizes 00 to 5 medium & Heavyweight (no size 00 in mediumweight), Plain of Progrip (dimple). Black & various colours see

Ace The Ace is the preferred bowl with top end International and County level bowlers. It is used by many of today’s top bowlers, and has been used to win many World Championships. It is a mid bias bowl, which makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor bowling, it can also be used for any position of play. The consistent even drawl line lends itself well to the most accurate draw shot, running bowl, or all out drive. Available in sizes 00 to 5 heavyweight & Mediumweight, (no size 00 medium) Plain or Progrip, (dimple) Black & Various Colours see

International Similar draw line to the Ace, slightly wider draw, slightly slimmer shape, most noticeable difference is the ‘crescent’ style grip, which is standard on these bowls, can be used indoors, but most players would agree to them being a little too wide draw, unless playing on a very slow pace indoor carpet. Available in sizes 00 to 5 medium & heavy weights, (no size 00 in medium), crescent grip as standard. Black & Brown, and Various colours see at

Legacy SL A slimmer shape bowl, which makes it easier to handle, it has a wider draw, with a slight hook finish, designed for heavier pace surfaces, ideal on any outdoor grass surface. Can be used for any position of play, the most popular selling beginners bowl for outdoor bowling. Sizes 00 to 5 heavy & medium, no size 00 medium), progrip only. Avail. Black only.

Lignoid The original Taylor model bowl, traditional shape made to mimic the line of the old Lignum’s (wooden bowls), they take a wide draw line, with a strong hook finish, ideal on slower pace surfaces, good beginners bowl for outside, most recently lost its popularity to the Legacy SL. Sizes 00 to 5 heavy & medium, no size 00 medium), progrip only. Avail. Black only.

Henselite Bowls Range (Australian)

Dreamline Originally designed for the very fast greens in Australia, The dreamline satisfies the needs of competitive bowlers, it is ideally suited to indoor of fast running outdoor surfaces, it has a flatter profile and a narrower width, with the scallop shape grip, it will suit leads and number 2’s. Available in sizes 0 to 5 in Heavyweight black. And Red,Blue, Green, and Burgundy Colours.
Tiger II The Tiger II is a contemporary design of bowl with a gentle and predictable trajectory, it has a narrow to mid bias, It is highly suited to second’s, thirds and skips, who are playing on free running surfaces, that require a bowl that has a relatively strong finish to the draw, which will allow draw shots around short bowls in the head, but still has a narrower line. The ergo profile, with the scallop grip will maximize comfort and add precision to every delivery. A narrow to mid bias bowl offering both the experienced and new bowlers alike, the greatest potential range of shots. Available in sizes 0 to 5 Heavyweight only. Black, Red, Green, Blue, Burgundy, Galaxy, Planet Earth, Comet, Midnight, Ruby Rich, Austral, White/Red Speckle.
Classic II The Classic II was first introduced as a result of standardisation of the WBB Rules (at the time IBB) for the Game of Lawn Bowls, The Classic II is manufactured with a narrow bias and has less bias than the original 'Classic' bowl. It also features a distinctive finish (commonly referred to as a 'hockey stick' finish) which is reminiscent of the original Classic but without the wider draw of the Henselite Original bowl. Since its release, Classic II became the most consistent selling of the Henselite models in all states of Australia and New Zealand. This was due to its adaptability for bowlers changing from the old bias to the new. The Classic II, despite it's narrow draw, is very well suited to medium paced greens, because it is truly a narrow biased bowl, the Classic II is well represented on the faster greens of Australia and New Zealand. It also performs well on the faster indoor or carpet greens here in the United Kingdom. It is regarded, at all levels, and under all conditions, as one of the 'best performing' modern bowls. Available in Sizes 0 to 5 medium & heavyweight, Black, and colours Red, Blue Green, and Burgundy.
Tiger The championship winning ‘Tiger’ Bowl has taken the UK outdoor market by storm over the last 5 years, originally described as a ‘Mid’ bias bowl, it is felt by many to be a mid to wide drawing bowl, most suited to our outdoor playing conditions, and those requiring a wider drawing bowl indoors. It has a slimmer shape, with scallop grip, and the ergo profile with its self correcting properties, it is a very comfortable bowl to hold. Ideal skips and no.3’s bowl for all playing conditions. Available in sizes 0 to 5 heavyweight Black, Red, Green, Blue, Burgundy, Galaxy, Planet Earth, Comet, Midnight, Ruby Rich, Austral, White/Red Speckle.
Classic The Classic has derived from the original henselite supergrip/ championship bowl, it has gone through a couple of name variations through the years (ie Classic Deluxe), but essentially is still the same bowl with the renown ‘hockey stick’ finish, It was the most popular bowl on the UK market throughout the 70’s 80’s & 90’s, but has now lost some of its appeal to the Tiger. Ideal skip’s bowl on heavier grass green’s. Available in sizes 0 to 5 medium & heavy weights, Black Only.
Almark Bowls (Australian)
Almark Bowls came onto the market in the mid 80’s, with a bit of a ‘Bang!’, they became known for cracking in half, due to a faulty batch which was made, unfortunately this reputation did the brand no favors over the proceeding years, even though it was just one batch in the 80’s. The factory in Cumbernauld closed a few years ago, and now all production has been taken back to the Henselite Factory in Australia. The Edge model is very popular in Australia on their very quick greens.
EdgeThis is probably the narrowest drawing bowl available on the UK Market, it has the unique square grip associated with all Almark Bowls. Feels comfortable in the hand, would suit lead’s who play on very quick greens, on indoor surfaces, if you can’t play the ditch hand with these, nothing will !.
Sterling Slimline This Mid-Bias bowl has a very narrow profile, making it easy to hold, has the square grip, ideal for leading or number 2’s, very popular with smaller hand players, and beginners being at the lower price end of the market. Available in one weight heavy/medium sizes 00 to 4 Black, Red, Blue, Green, and Burgundy.
Sterling Gold The gold has a wider draw making it more suited to the heavier grass greens in the UK. It has the square grip associated with all the almark range of bowls. Ideal bowls for those on a budget, being at the cheaper end of the scale. Available in medium & heavyweights, sizes 00 to 5, Black Only.

Drakes Pride Bowls Liverpool, England)
Advantage predominately a leads bowl has a very narrow draw, suited to very fast playing surfaces, such as indoors, or artificial outdoor surfaces, made with dimple grips or plain, Heavyweight only. Sizes 0 to 5 Black and range of colours see
Professional The best selling Drakes Pride Bowl, has been arounf for what seems like forever, but is still as popular as ever, probably for its easy to read line, it has a steady constant draw, and will play well on almost any pace surface you throw at it, a good all-round bowl, for any position of play. Available in medium & heavyweight, sizes 00 to 5 and some ½ sizes to order, dimple gripped or plain. Full range of colours available see
Jazz The newest model added to the Drakes Pride range this year, it has a wider draw, more suited to outdoor play, but still has the constant draw line of the Professional, new modern design. Available in Heavyweight only, sizes 00 to 5, and full range of colours, see

Friday, 21 August 2009

The Bowls Buying Guide

First and foremost is the size of bowl that you choose to play with, it must fit your hand without being so big as to slip, but equally not to small so that it sits too far back in the hand, which leads to you coping the bowl out, instead of it rolling of the fingers. There are a few ways you can tell if a bowls is the right size for you. Firstly place the bowl in your hand that you would normally bowl with, place your fingers around the bowl in your normal 'claw grip' then extend your arm to arms length, at this point turn your hand upside down, you should be able to do this without the bowl starting to slip, and without your hand shaking. Taking this into account, you should play with the largest bowl you can execute this exercise with. As a guide the most common Gents size bowl is a size 4, a size 3 being the smaller hand gent, and a size 5 being the larger hand gent. most popular Ladies size is a size 1, with a size 0 being a smaller hand lady, and a size 2 being a larger hand lady, but remember this is only a guide it will greatly depend on the size of your hand, length, width, and strength of grip. Measuring your hand is unsatisfactory as you cannot determine if you will be able to handle the weight of the bowl you have chosen, this particularly applies to Ladies with long slender fingers, which upon measuring leads you to buy a much larger bowl then is suitable, because is has not got the width in her hand, nor the strength required. You will normally find players at your local club, will let you hold their bowls for this purpose, If you haven’t got a specialist bowls shop nearby.

Next is the weight of bowl, this is not quite so important, most bowls are made in a medium and heavyweight, and some slimmer shape bowls made in a heavymedium weight. The weight difference is very small only 3oz on a size 5, dropping down to under 1oz on the size 0 bowl, but surprisingly it is noticeable when coming to bowl. I would normally recommend a mediumweight bowl for outdoor grass surfaces, and a heavyweight bowl for indoor and artificial surfaces, mainly because the mediumweight bowl will get a little more turn at the end of the draw, which is usually a good thing on the heavier grass surfaces, and with heavyweights it is the reverse, just stoping them from getting a couple more rolls on the indoor surface, it can also help the bowl from being displaced so easily, particularly indoors. It is a popular misconception that the heavvweight bowl will roll further having the momentum to carry it on, not so we are told. From research we know that although the heavier bowl will be carried by the momentum in the first half of the draw, it will slow down quicker as it comes to rest, as the heavier weight begins to dig into the surface, of course the heavier or wetter the surface the more this will be noticeable.

Now the interesting part, well for me anyway. What make and model shall I buy ?, This is where your bowls specialist can really play a part in determining you go away with the right bowl for you. There are now over 15 models available in the UK, from 3 different manufacturers, then given the various weight, grip, size and colour combinations, there is hundreds of outcome’s. Taylor bowls are the oldest manufacturer, dating back over 200 years, they are based in Glasgow, Scotland, in the UK, they have 6 current models available, The Lignoid, Legacy SL, International, Ace, Vector VS, and Lazer. In Liverpool we have Drakes Pride, the only English bowls manufacturer; they have the Jazz, Professional, and Advantage models on the UK market. Then we have probably the most well known manufacturer, Henselite, they are based in Australia, and were the first company to develop a composition bowl as we know it today, it was developed in Australia with the help of a British scientist during the early 50’s to combat the heat from the sun, which was shrinking the wood in the old wooden bowls and having an effect on the bias.

You should first determine where you will play most of your games, is it indoors or outside, is the surface, considered fast or slow, are the end rinks a problem (being able to take enough green) what position will you play most of your games Skip, No3. 2nd, or Lead. Armed with this information, your chosen Bowls Specialist should be able to steer you through the minefield of different models available.