How to Play Lawn Bowls in New Zealand: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Are you looking for a fun and exciting outdoor activity to enjoy with friends and family?

Look no further than lawn bowling!

In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to play lawn bowls in New Zealand. From the basics of equipment to strategies for success, we’ve got you covered.

What is Lawn Bowls?

Lawn bowls, also known as croquet or bocce ball, is a competitive game played on grass with four balls and one large pallino (or "puck"). The goal of the game is to roll your team’s balls closest to the center of the lawn (known as the "pith") while avoiding the other team’s balls.

Equipment Needed

To play lawn bowls, you will need the following equipment:

  • Four balls per player (typically wooden or plastic)
  • One large pallino (made of rubber or wood)
  • A ball for each player (known as a “wicket” or “beaver”)

  • Shoes with flat soles and good grip
  • Sunscreen and water for hot days

Before you start playing, make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of the game. Each team takes turns rolling their balls, and the ball that lands closest to the pith earns the most points. The game is won by the team with the highest score at the end of the match.

How to Roll a Ball

To roll a ball in lawn bowls, follow these steps:

  1. Hold your ball firmly with two hands and keep your wrist straight.
  2. Use a flicking motion to release the ball from your hand, making sure to maintain good control over its speed and direction.
  3. Focus on rolling the ball along the ground, rather than lifting it into the air.
  4. Practice, practice, practice! It takes time to develop good technique, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time.

Tips for Success

Here are some tips to help you succeed at lawn bowls:

  • Keep your body weight evenly distributed over both feet to maintain good balance and control.
  • Practice rolling the ball at different speeds and angles to find what works best for you.
  • Use a consistent follow-through motion to ensure that your ball is rolled smoothly along the ground.
  • Pay attention to where other players are on the lawn and avoid collisions with their balls.

Real-Life Example
One of our readers, Jane, recently took up lawn bowls as a fun way to spend her weekends. She found that practicing regularly helped her develop good technique and improve her game. "It’s such a relaxed and enjoyable activity," she says. "I love spending time with my friends and family while getting some exercise."


  • What is the difference between lawn bowls and croquet?

    While both games involve rolling balls on grass, there are some key differences. Lawn bowls is typically played with four balls per player, while croquet uses six mallets and smaller balls. The goal of croquet is to hit your opponent’s balls off the lawn, while in lawn bowls you need to roll your balls closest to the pith.

  • Can I play lawn bowls on my own lawn?


    With a few pieces of equipment and some practice, you can set up a lawn bowls court on your own lawn. Just make sure to choose an area that is flat and free from obstacles like trees or rocks.