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Crown Green Bowls FAQ

Q: Do I need a jack?

If you are wanting to practice or just play socially, then the answer is definitely yes. But if you only play at the club with other club members then it is usual for the club to supply the jacks as they do for matches and then you would not need one. The crown green standard jacks are available from Thurston’s in both the traditional Black and the popular Yellow versions (see B2000 & B2030).


Q: What bias should I use ?

Some years ago you used to be able to tell what area a bowler came from by the bias they requested, but in more recent years the standard bias of 2 full has proved to be dominant. This is the same bias as the standard jacks which most clubs haveOther biases that are available to special order are 2 ¼ bias which is slightly stronger than the 2 full and also 2 ½ bias which is stronger than the 2 ¼.


Q: My friends bowls have no dimple, are they legal?

Yes. Most crown green bowlers prefer to have the dimple in the bias side but some keen bowlers who do not want their opponent to see how they have delivered the bowl sometime opt to have no dimple and occasionally mark the bias side with just a black spot.

Q: What size bowl do I need ?

Bearing in mind the answer to the previous question. The simple answer is what feels comfortable in your hand. Remember that you have to be able to hold the bowl even in wet conditions. IF the bowl feels right, then it is probably the right size and if it doesn’t feel “right” then this will be in your mind when you are playing your shots.


Q: Are wooden bowls still used?

Wooden bowls, which are made from Lignum Vitae, are still used and are very popular. However it is difficult to obtain good quality Lignum to make new bowls but Thurstons do still have limited stocks of timber from which we make Standfast crown green bowls (see B2200). Thurston renovate many pairs of wooden bowls mainly during the closed season are recognised by many as the leaders in the field.

Q: Can I have wooden bowls polished natural?

Yes, any wooden bowl can be polished natural. It should be remembered that all Lignum Vitae bowls have cracks the clear lacquer used in the polishing process will show up any imperfections such as cracks and sapwood. It is therefore somtimes better to have them polished black.

Q: My recently polished bowls are showing pin prick marks, is polish faulty?

Probably not, the usual reason for such marks, which tend to be noticeable at the start of the seaon, is normally caused by the fertiliser and top dressing applied to the green. Granular fertiliser and top dressing can break through the the polish causing blemishes. In most cases top dressing contains 70% sand which creates an abrasive surface. Chemical fertilisers can also break down the adhesion of the polish causing it to coming away.

Q: What size of bowls are available and most suited for my use?

Crown green bowls have always been sold by weight as the size designation. The popular weights being 2lb 6oz, 2lb 8oz, 2lb 10oz & 2lb 12oz. It seems with Lingum Vitae bowls (wooden), bowlers are more interested in the weight and it was certainly true that in earlier years the heavier the bowl one could handle the better.  Modern Crown Green bowls are made from a composite material which is so hard diamond tools are used to turn the material. Thurstons stock a range of bowls  from 2lb for the young beginner upto 2lb 14oz in 2oz increments. We can supply odd weights  2lb 9 oz etc to order.

With regards to which bowls most suit you, the simple answer is whichever feels comfortable in your hand. Remember that you have to be able o grip the bowls in wet conditions. 

Q: What are Hi-density & Lo-density bowls?

Material used for production of composition bowls is a phenolic thermoset material. This can be produced to a specific gravity , unlike Lignum Vitae, were the density depends on the original timber. Therefore if you prefer the weight of a 2lb 12oz bowl but find it difficult to handle, then the Hi-ensity  material allows us to produce a bowl the size of a 2lb 10oz and vice versa for Lo-density.  

Q: Can you explain what advantages high density or standard or low density have compared to each other ?

This requires quite a long answer and must include a reference again to Lignum Vitae (wooden) bowls as well. It is said that a Lignum (wooden) bowl runs on a “yard” after it is stopped. What is being implied is that when comparing the run of a wooden bowl against the original, now called standard weight composition, it is true that for a given strength of delivery the composition bowl will stop about a yard shorter than the Lignum (wooden) bowl. The reason is simply that the standard weight composition bowl is slightly heavier for its size than the average wooden bowl.

What the manufacturers have done is to take a slightly higher specific gravity composition material and produce a bowl which is heavier for its size than a standard composition. For example a high density 2lb 8oz bowl is about the same size as a 2lb 6oz standard weight. High density bowls are useful on very fast greens which usually occur after a period of dry weather or especially after dry and hot days. The other advantage is that if a bowler suffers from a hand problem and they are having difficulty gripping the larger bowl, but still want to maintain the weight, then the hi-density allows them to come down a size but maintain the weight.

On the other hand a low-density composition bowl, made from slightly lighter material than the standard weight and is more similar to Lignum (wooden) bowls in its density is better suited to heavier greens, such as early season or rain effected or “heavy” greens. The reason being that as they are lighter they “ride” the surface more easily and therefore run further. A 2lb 8oz low-density bowl will be approximately the same size as a 2lb 10oz standard composition bowl. 

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