Lawn bowls guide to playing in wet and windy conditions



Performing consistently on the lawn bowls green, hitting the perfect line and judging the perfect weight can be challenging on the best of days, never mind adding some windy conditions and/or some splashes of rain.  Changes in environmental factors will affect every bowler in varying degrees, with some players able to adapt quickly and easily to damp or gusty conditions and others floundering.  Check out the following guides and become a more adaptable bowler when the rain and wind strike during a game.




It may be a simple and common sense thought to be properly prepared when heading down to the greens for a game of bowls, but we have all been part of a team or squad when one player has managed to forget shoes, playing shirt and yes…. Bowls.  Checking your bowls bag that you have everything you might need is a necessity to properly prepare for a game.  A quick check of the weather prior to leaving can give you that piece of mind that you are properly prepared, and you can then begin to focus on your pre-game routine.  If in doubt about wet weather clothing – pack it and don’t be thinking ‘I wish I should have put that extra dry cloth into my bowls bag’ later in the day.  On an overcast day make sure to pack plenty of dry cloths, wet weather clothing and possibly a change of clothing so you are not playing in wet clothing the rest of the day.

When it comes to performing on damp or wet greens it tends to be more rewarding to be a more aggressive player, playing the “up shot” or “on shot” can produce more favourable results.  With slower greens, brings more narrow lines and attempting to play more “touch” bowls can really backfire due to bowls hitting damp/wet patches and pulling up short more quickly than normal.

Short bowls are always a killer, but even more so in wet conditions.  Playing through the head is generally the better game plan so making sure bowls are past the head can play a vital role as the end develops, whilst also providing options for “up shots” and also provide defensive cover if holding shots.  



When bowling greens become wet or have early morning due, they tend to be slower than normal.  This reduction in green speed will tend to favour bowlers who are playing with wider arc bowls.  This is inclined to be the case due to slower greens having narrower draw lines to the jack.  Therefore, players with wider arc bowls will have a slight advantage allowing them to perform a greater array of shots and potentially having a greater ability to navigate around short bowls with a bowl that has a wider arc.

Regardless of the type of bowl you are playing with, one of the key factors to focus on while playing in wet conditions is weight control.  Generally speaking, slower greens are more forgiving when trying to achieve the perfect line, whereas achieving the correct weight can be more of a challenge.


Wind can be a frustrating element to contend with on the bowling green and its effect on the bowls will vary substantially.  The type of green you are playing on, wind direction and strength of the wind are factors that will determine the overall effect the wind will have on bowls travelling down the green.

In order to combat wind that is heavily effecting bowls across the green, if possible try to play the hand that wind is assisting the bowls and its bias with ie. Play the wider hand and play with the wind rather than against it if you have the option.

Another simple measure to negate heavy gusts is to pause on the matt when those gusts occur, there is no time limit on how long you have to deliver the bowl so pause for a moment to allow strong gusts to ease.

If the wind is blowing in the direction of the play ie. Up and down the green rather than across it, strategically use the length of jack to try and even out the direction of the wind. ie. If you are playing up the green with the wind behind you then play a longer jack and when you are playing against the wind with the wind in your face then play a shorter jack when able to.  This strategy will help to keep your weight control consistent and perform a similar delivery tempo regardless if you are playing into the wind or not.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take


The single most important factor to remember when competing in wet or windy conditions is to not get frustrated with the elements.  Sometimes you might feel hard done by with a gust of wind blowing your bowl off target but try to control the aspects of the game you can control.  You can’t control the weather, but you can control your mindset and reactions to the weather conditions.  Try not to overthink the conditions and remember it is the same conditions for everyone playing, be prepared as best you can and play a more aggressive game than normal to help combat testing conditions.

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Author - Simon Lyttle

Author - Simon Lyttle

Simon is the founder of The Bowls Academy. He represented Ireland before permanently moving to Sydney and establishing himself at one of Sydney's strongest clubs, Taren Point. He has won multiple state pennants, zone and club championships and is a current zone 13 representative.

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