Bowls Measures

On the when two bowls from opposing sides appear very close to the jack and it is undecided as to which bowl is nearest, then the use of a measure is required, these can be string type or the steel type. The string type measure are the most popular, as some associations have banned the use of steel measures.

This following information is for guidance only.

Always refer to the Laws of the Sport of Bowls.


1. When to measure? When you cannot determine which bowl is closest to the jack when the two or more bowls are of opposing sides. It is not done until the last bowl of the end is played and has come to rest.

2. Waiting 30 seconds. After the last bowl of the end has been played and has come to rest, either side is allowed to ask for a 30 second delay before deciding on the outcome of the shots. This would usually be asked for when one or more bowls is leaning and can affect the shots scored.

3. Using wedges. When a bowl is leaning and you are about to measure the bowls, you can use a wedge so as to not let that bowl either fall into or out of the count.

4. Who measures? The laws of bowls does not stipulate as to which team does the measuring, only that the number threes measure the disputed shots. However, by convention, it is the number three conceding the shots who does the measuring. The number ones and twos can make suggestions to their own number three but they should not get directly involved with deciding the number of shots.

5. What to measure? You measure the nearest point between the Jack and Bowl. Remember if there are stickers on the bowls is that the sticker is part of the bowl, so if the sticker is peeling and hanging slightly then the nearest part of that bowl could well be the stickers edge.

6. What to use for measuring? The normal practice is to use a box string measure, but in some circumstances a set of callipers may be required and when you measure with one on the green (Bowl or Jack) and the other is in the ditch then a measuring peg is used.

7. Agreeing the shot or shots. No team member should remove any bowls from the head until the number of shots have been agreed.

8. What if you cannot agree? Then call the umpire to determine who is and how many shots.

9. Tied end. When two bowls from opposing sides are both touching the jack or are of equal distance away from the jack, then it is classed as a tied end, that is a played end with both sides shot count being nil.

10. What if a bowl falls over on its own? It is left in its new position, any shots already agreed still count and the process of deciding the number of shots continues, that is why you should wedge any bowls that are leaning before starting the measuring process.

Looking to purchase a Bowls Measure then check the store page.