Lawn Bowling
supplementary information for the
Balboa Park: The El Prado Area walking tour

photo of lawn bowling in Balboa Park
Lawn bowling in Balboa Park
The game is played with two teams of three members each. The object of each team is to roll its 3-½ pound bowls as close as possible to the small white ball called the jack. It is permissible to hit the jack with the bowl. Indeed, players often deliberately aim for the jack in order to move it closer to some of their bowls. The eighteen bowls are rolled alternately, each player rolling three.

Notice how the bowls curve as they roll. This is because they are not round, and one side is heavier than the other. The player knows which side is heavier, and therefore can control which way the bowl will curve by the way he holds it. After all the bowls have been rolled, the "end" is scored by a system similar to horseshoes: the team with the bowl closest to the jack gets one point for that bowl, plus another point for each other bowl it has that is closer to the jack than any of the opponent's bowls. The team with the highest score after eighteen ends, wins.

The history of lawn bowling can be traced to ancient Egypt. By 1100 it had reached England. If you will remember your history, Sir Francis Drake is said to have been engaged in a game of lawn bowling when he was told that the Spanish Armada was approaching the English coast. Unperturbed, he finished his game before going out to lead the English fleet against it.

The game crossed the Atlantic to the English colonies about 1690, and flourished there until the American War of Independence. Today it is especially popular in Australia, followed by New Zealand, South Africa, and the British Isles.
San Diego Walking Tours logo

Copyright © by Carol Mendel
Terms and Conditions
for using this material

Walking tours in this series:

Balboa Park
Cabrillo National Monument
Downtown San Diego
The Embarcadero
La Jolla
La Playa
Mission Bay Park
Mission Beach
Old Town
Shelter Island
Sunset Cliffs

San Diego Walking Tours logo
Need a map for getting around the San Diego area?

map image

Check out the
San Diego Visitor's Map,
a pictorial map showing major roads and visitor attractions throughout San Diego County.