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Bowls Selection

This section of our website offers some help for both the beginner and the experienced bowler in selection of bowls.

The sections are split as follows:

  • Bowls Introduction
  • Weights
  • Density
  • Manufacturers/Brands
  • Part Exchange

Indoor and Flat Green Bowls Bias Introduction

Not so many years ago all bowls were wooden and the only variation was size. In the modern game, the majority of bowls are manufactured from special composite plastic material, which is far more resiliant to 'knocks', is cheaper and more easily manufactured, and offers far greater consistency in both shape and performance.

Within the range of Composite bowls there is the choice of Weights (which determines physical size), however there is also a choice of Density (which impacts on physical bowl size for a given weight, but also changes the characteristic of the bowls slightly)

The information below seeks to give some guidelines on Weights and to explain the impact of Density of the bowl on its performance. We stress these are guidelines only... the beauty of the game (and often frustrating fact!) is that skill and experience still count for everything, and, even then, variables such as ground and weather conditions and opponents tactics all have a bearing.

Having the right/appropriate equipment will help, but putting it to good use is down to the player!


Crown Green Bowl weights generally start at 2lb 0oz and go up to 2lb 14oz in 2oz increments, 

In certain bowls we stock 2lb (usually for children), and we also go up to 3lb Bowls in some ranges and have 'odd' or 'inbetween' weights (e.g. 2lb 9oz) in other ranges.

The heavier the bowl the larger it will be in the hand. All other things being equal, Heavier bowls [larger bowls] will tend to run further distances and, of course, are less easily 'knocked' out of the way by opponents' bowls.

Common convention is, therefore, that you should bowl with the heaviest bowl you can comfortably use to get maximum 'reach'. HOWEVER, accuracy and control are vital.... so you should not choose weight at the expense of these factors. Finally, comfort is paramount, apart from anything else, if your bowl is a comfortable fit to your hand your game will be far more consistent, and it will allow you to concentrate on accuracy without being hampered by tiring hands as the match proceeds.

It is important that your Bowl sits comfortably in your hand, and you are able to grip it without discomfort to hand, fingers or wrist and without risk of it slipping out of your hand prior to delivery. We suggest you try various weights of bowls in your hand, testing for comfort and ease of grip. If you already own a pair of bowls.. are your hands and fingers getting tired? is the bowl slipping out of your hand? .. Once you have chosen a comfortable weight (size), the next decision is on the density of bowl.


Standard Density Bowls

These are the most popular bowls available, they work well on fast or slow greens, not as well as high density on fast green or low density on slow greens, but better than high density on slow greens or low density on fast greens. They are good general purpose bowls and purchased by bowlers who wish to finish the season with the same bowls as they started. They are also the most competitively priced, without any maintenance costs. Strongly recommended for beginners as well as County bowlers.

High Density Bowls

These have become very popular over the last few years. They are manufactured using a denser plastic which reduces the hand size of a bowl for a given weight. For example, a 2 lb 10 oz high density bowl will be the same physical size as a 2 lb 8 oz one. This creates two advantages and one disadvantage :

Advantages :

Bowlers with smaller hands can bowl heavier. For example a bowler that bowls 2 lb 6 oz Standard Density can bowl 2 lb 8 oz High Density with no increase in size. Exellent performance on fast greens, because the bowl is denser it pulls-up, instead of running past the jack and perhaps falling into the ditch.


High Density bowls do not perform as well on slow greens and are often short of the jack and need to be sent with more effort, this can sometimes lead to inaccuracy. It has become quite normal for bowlers to possess more than one pair of bowls, using high density when the greens are very fast and other densities for different conditions.

Low Density Bowls

These have become very popular with County and Competition bowlers. Low Density bowls are either manufactured from wood (Lignum Vitae) or Plastic. Lignum Vitae, being a natural product, is not as dense as standard density plastic, the result is that the physical bowl size is greater for a given weight.

For example, a 2 lb 10 oz wooden bowl will be the same size as 2 lb 12 oz standard density. Low density plastic bowls try to emulate the properties of wooden bowls and therefore are likewise larger in size than standard density bowls. This creates one advantage and two disadvantages :

Advantages :

Exellent performance on slow greens, because the bowl is less dense, instead of being short of the jack they travel that extra yard. To use a crude analogy, they are more like a football than a canon ball.

Disadvantages :

The bowl is bigger in the hand, so a 2 lb 8 oz low density bowl feels like a 2 lb 10 oz standard density or a 2 lb 12 oz high density bowl. This means that to maintain one's hand size a drop in weight is require, normally 2 oz. Low density bowls can run for ever, like perpetual motion, on a fast green. So many beginners find it difficult to control low density bowls because of their bulk and running ability. Some more experienced players overcome this problem by having their bowls lacquered or by using grip wax.

Manufacturers / Brands

Drakes Pride Crown Green Bowls

B2210 Richmond (No Grips) Available in Black and Brown

B2220 Deluxe (With Grips) Available in Black or Brown

B2221 Hi-Density Deluxe (With Grips) Available in Black or Brown

B2222 Lo-Density Deluxe (With Grips) Available in Black only (Lacquered) Drakes Pride have a wider and flatter sole than Taylors bowls and opinion suggests they do not run as far, although it is considered they do tend to have more traction. They are narrow in the hand (between the mounts) which makes them feel very comfortable.

The B2220 is the same product as the B2210 with Deluxe ornamentation, check the position of the grip before investing in the more expensive product. Deluxe does not mean better plastic, it simply refers to the engraved ornamentation around the bowl. It does give the option of Brown instead of Black.

The Lo-Density (Excel) is bigger in the hand than the Standard or Hi-Density equivalent weight, but has the same Deluxe ornamentation. It also has a High Gloss lacquered finish which provides better grip, but be aware of the fact that this lacquer will wear through eventually (depending upon how often they are used) and it will cost £39.99 to re-lacqueur.

Thomas Taylor Crown Green Bowls

201/2 Deluxe, Standard Density, Black

203/4 Deluxe, High Density, Black 

219 Deluxe Express, Low Density , Black only

205/6 Grippa, Standard Density, Black

207/8 Grippa, High Density, Black.

Taylor's are a taller and narrower sole than Drakes Pride bowl and many experts say they peg more, even though they have the same bias. All of the products above are the same shape and quality of plastic (with the exception of 209) with variations of ornamentation and grip.

The 205/6 and 207/8 is probably the best type of gripped bowl on the market, with the ornamentation being wider and deeper than Deluxe model. You will find that most top crown green bowlers either use Drakes Pride or Thomas Taylor and they give as many reasons to use each. One theory is that Drakes Pride work better on a green which has a big crown, whereas Taylor's work better on flatter crown greens. The debate goes on.

Henselite Crown Green Bowls

21 st. Century Non Gripped Standard Density, Black only Super Grip Standard Density, Black only Non Gripped High Density, Black only Super Grip High Density, Black only

The 21st Century range of crown green bowls have similar characteristics to the Drakes Pride one's with the great price advantage of the Super Grip compared with the Drake's Deluxe.

Many bowlers also prefer the grip, which is more like the one found on level green bowls. Please note that this product range does not come with mounts, this does not affect performance, but some bowlers insist upon them.

Second-hand Bowls

We are unusual in that we do offer a part-exchange facility to Showroom visitors.

We will give a fair TRADE price against a new set of bowls.

Normally, we offer £15 per pair for crown green bowls up to and including 2 lb 10 oz and £10 per pair for 2 lb 12 oz or heavier. Lignum Vitaes are only worth £10 per pair (unless they are in exceptional condition) because we have to spend a lot of money to re-model or re-furbish them.

If a customer buys a pair of second-hand bowls from us, we allow a four week trial period. If not fully satisfied, the bowls may be returned for exchange or credit against anything else in the shop. (please note Bowls must be returned at customer's expense and be in the same condition as when they left the shop, this is NOT possible with NEW BOWLS)

Please note that part-exchange is not an economic proposition by mail order due to carriage costs for both parties.

Bias of Short Mat Indoor & Lawn Bowls

Unlike Crown Green bowls which have a standard/uniform bias, with part of the skill being assessing the effect of that bias for each shot on an uneven/'crowned' playing surface, Flat Green or Indoor Bowls have different Bias Characteristics manufactured into the bowl.

These characteristics are best illustrated from a diagram which can be seen by clicking the links below.

Add bias charts here


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