Frequently Asked Questions

What is lawn bowling?

Lawn bowling is a game where players try to roll balls (called bowls) so they stop as close as possible to a smaller target ball (called a jack).  

The game is usually played on natural grass greens.  Laguna Woods Village's greens are a special carpet designed for the sport imported from Scotland. We have one of the finest artificial lawn bowling greens in the country.

Team play leads to interesting strategies and excitement. Knocking an opponent’s bowl away from the jack, or tapping a teammate’s bowl closer to the jack, or even deliberately knocking the jack out of bounds are all fair play. 

Lawn bowling is a fun game that’s easy to learn and enjoy right away. But there’s also lots of skill involved in the sport, which bowlers develop over time.

Lawn bowls have two flattened sides one of which is shaped slightly smaller than the other. This bias causes a rolling bowl to curve as it slows down. Lawn bowlers must account for the curved path their bowl will follow and also adjust the speed of their delivery to get close to the jack.

What are the benefits of lawn bowling?

Lawn bowling is a low-impact activity that gets you outdoors and socially connected to others. Many find lawn bowling as stimulating, challenging, and fulfilling as avid golfers find their sport - they’ll always strive to improve. Others will take a lighter approach and are happy to just come down and have fun on the bowling greens.  A short list of the benefits of lawn bowling includes:

Where are the lawn bowling greens?

The bowling greens are located near Clubhouse 2 next to swimming Pool 2, at the far end of the 19 Restaurant parking lot.  (Enter Gate 12 from Moulton Parkway.)

Laguna Woods Village has one of the finest artificial lawn bowling greens in the country, with a fabulous view of the Saddleback mountains.

Laguna Woods Village is a private gated community.  Access is restricted to residents and their invited guests.

What is the Lawn Bowling Club?

Established in 1966, Laguna Woods Lawn Bowling Club's mission is to support the game of bowls at Laguna Woods Village (LWV) in a spirit of recreation and fellowship. The club must comply with the rules, policies, and procedures of LWV's Golden Rain Foundation, which limits the number of non-resident members to 20% of the total club membership. The club belongs to the Southwest Division of Bowls USA, which coordinates tournaments for more than 20 clubs in southern California.

Can I come down and watch a game?

Absolutely!  Village residents and their invited guests are always welcome. There’s plenty of shaded seating along the sides of the bowling green. Bowlers are friendly sorts who love to answer questions and explain the game to visitors.

How long does a game last?

Games usually last between one-and-a-half and two hours.  Games are played by two teams with from one to three players per team.  A game usually has 10 or 12 ends which are like innings in baseball.  The length of a game depends on how many players there are per team and how many ends are being played.

I’d like to give it a try. How do I get started?

The club offers free lessons to any Laguna Woods Village resident.  Just come down to the bowling greens any Saturday morning at 8:45AM, no appointment is necessary.  Be sure to:

New bowlers are expected to complete three one-hour training sessions before joining the club.  During your first session, you’ll learn basic safety rules, learn the object of the game, practice rolling the bowl, and setting the mat.  By the end of your last session, you’ll be ready to join the club and participate in casual Social Bowls. 

The club’s free training sessions are a great way to try lawn bowling to see whether it’s “your thing”. Come on down and give it a try!

I have problems with my back (or shoulders, arms, legs etc.) Will I be able to bowl?

Lawn bowling is a low-impact activity that is enjoyed by many older people with mobility problems.  A few practice rolls on the green is the best way to learn if this is a sport suitable for you.

Many club bowlers use a bowling arm that allows them to deliver the bowl from a standing position. The arm has a grip on one end to pick up the bowl without bending.  The bowler grasps the bowl with the arm, gently swings the arm towards the aiming point, and relaxes a lever on the handle to send the bowl on its way. It takes practice, but the movement soon becomes natural.

 The club has bowling arms for members to use and many members have adopted the use of a bowling arm with great results. You can check an arm out for practice or a game from the shack manager on duty. 

Your trainer will help you decide whether you should use a bowling arm, and you can decide for yourself whether lawn bowling is right for you.

Is there anything to buy?

Club members may use the club-owned training bowls to play in club games.  These sets of training bowls are first-come, first-served, and may only be used by club members to play in a club game or for practice.  These bowls may not be removed from the premises.

While you can use the training bowls indefinitely, you will likely want to buy your own set if you get hooked on the sport.  A used set of four lawn bowls can be found starting from $250.  New lawn bowl prices start at around $450. We recommend new bowlers do not buy bowls until they have played for awhile.

How often are games played?

There are scheduled games seven days a week throughout the year, with the exception of a few major holidays and days when major tournaments are hosted by the club.  The schedule is posted here.