To play lawn bowls, you need a flat lawn 40 yards square surrounded by a ditch 2 inches deep and 2 inches wide. Using string, divide the lawn into six rinks, each the length of the lawn and each 19 to 21 feet wide. Place a 14- x 24-inch rubber mat on the center string on the lawn, with one of its short ends 4 feet from the ditch. Players must make all shots with one foot on or over the mat.
The bowls-brown balls made of wood, composition, or hardened rubber-are flattened slightly at one place; this causes them to travel in curved path. Their circumference is no more than 14’/z inches; they weigh 3’/z pounds. When two people play, each rolls four balls per turn; in triples, three; in fours, two.
The game begins with one player rolling the jack, a smaller white ball. It must travel at least 25 yards from the front of the mat; if not, an opponent has a try. After the jack has stopped, center it in its rink. The object of the game is to roll your bowls closer to the jack than your opponent’s; each bowl that is closer than your opponent’s nearest bowl scores 1 point.
Once an end is completed, the players take the mat to the far side of the lawn, evaluate the score, and then play the next end from the opposite side of the lawn. The first player to get 21 points wins. (Pairs and fours play 21 ends; triples play 18 ends.)
Any bowl that travels less than 15 yards is dead and is placed outside the area of play. Bowls that land outside the strings bounding the rink or that land in the ditch without touching the jack are also dead. Bowls that hit the jack are marked with chalk. These are potential scorers, even if they are knocked into the ditch by an opponent’s bowl. To prevent an opponent from getting a good score if he is in an advantageous position, a player can try to knock the jack out of the field of play; this voids the score of that end.