Selecting a set of bowls is a very personal thing. What suits one bowler may not suit another so whatever advice you are provided with, you should feel confident in opting for a bowl that is right for you. It’s a considerable investment so you’ll want to take a number of factors into account before making your choice.
Choosing a bias
When choosing a bias there are a two main considerations, the position you play in your team and the greens you will usually be playing on.
In general if you are playing lead, you could have a narrower bias bowl than a skip who will often want to draw around bowls in a head. Take a look at the bias charts for the Henselite model bowls available in your country to see the relative differences between biases.
The greens you are playing on will also affect the model you choose. Around the world there are differences in the ‘speed’ of local greens. The green speed is indicated by the time it takes for a bowl to come to a stop. In Australia (particularly the northern states) and NZ the green speeds are generally faster than other parts of the world, averaging from 14 to 17 seconds. In these countries narrower biased bowls are popular such as the Dreamline XG.
In the UK, USA and other parts of the world, slower outdoor greens for example 9 to 12 seconds mean that a wider bias bowl is more suitable such as the original Tiger or Classic II. Although when bowls is played on an indoor green in these countries this green is faster so a narrower bowl such as the Tiger II would be preferred.
Of course there are also differences between local greens so have a chat to your coach or experienced members of your club to find out what the greens in your local area are like.
Choosing a size
Henselite bowls come in sizes 000 up to 5. The most popular sizes are 2, 3 and 4 with men tending towards the larger sizes and women tending to smaller sizes depending on the individual fit to their hands.
A good rule of thumb is that you want the largest sized bowl you can comfortably hold in your hand. The smaller and lighter a bowl is, the more effort required to deliver it and can be knocked around easily by other bowls in the head.
The best way to find the right size for you is to try out the different sized bowls. Try these different things to find the bowls size that feels the most comfortable for you.
- Wrap both hands around the middle of the running surface so that your thumbs are touching. If your middle fingers are close to touching this indicates a good fit.
- Practice swinging with the bowl in your hand. It’s a good size if you can maintain your grip easily and comfortably.
- If you hold the bowl out in front of you with your bowling hand for 30 seconds without dropping it this is a good indicator.
Choosing a weight
The good news is that there is very little to choose from these days in the way of weight. All bowls made now by Henselite are a single weight – Heavy (or H).
Try before you buy
Your club or coach may have coaching bowls available for you to have a go with or teammates may be able to lend you theirs. Check with your local retail shop, they may have loan bowls they can lend you.
For the best results in choosing a bowl that suits you and your game, try as many as you can and remember that the choice is a very individual one.