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Bowls truly is a sport for all, regardless of age, sex or ability – and is a game that takes just seconds to learn and the rest of your bowling career to master.

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An Overview of Bowls

There are three different formats of the game recognised in Northamptonshire – flat green outdoor, flat green indoor and short mat – so there are plenty of opportunities for you to give it a go. Click here for a guide on how to play different formats of the game.

Bowls is also a relatively cheap game compared to other sports, whether you choose to join an indoor or outdoor club, or 'pay and play' at your local park.

The sport has four National Governing Bodies recognised by Sport England, that are working together to develop the sport through the Bowls Development Alliance; Bowls England, British Crown Green Bowls Association, English Indoor Bowling Association Limited and English Short Mat Bowls Association.

Play Bowls

The Bowls Development Alliance (BDA) is the body for Bowls England (flat green outdoor) and English Indoor Bowling Association Ltd (flat green indoor), working together, to grow the sport of Bowls.


  • Bowls to be the sport that helps people to live longer, be healthier and have more fulfilling lives.


  • Bowls to become the number 1 sport for participants aged 55 and over.


  • Increase participation in the sport of Bowls focusing on those aged 55 and over.
  • Support clubs to provide a quality experience that will maintain club membership.
  • Provide a quality coaching structure with recognised qualifications for the sport.
  • Provide more opportunities for those aged 16 and over with a disability.

Targets 2013/17

  • Bring 10,810 new people into the sport aged 55 and over.
  • Bring 2,800 new people aged 16 and over with a disability into the sport.

How we will reach our targets?

  • Packages available to ALL clubs to aid recruitment
  • Play Bowls Road Shows to promote the sport
  • Working in 10 identified HOT SPOT areas
  • Supporting Intervention areas from 2009-2013

Disability Bowls

Once a week participation in sport amongst people with a disability currently stands at 17.7%. Evidence shows that just under 2% of the disabled population aged 65+ play bowls. Whilst data regarding disability participation in Bowls is poor at present, this hasn't stopped the BDA including disability as one of the major focuses within their 2013-17 plan. The target that they are working towards is to ensure that by 2017 there are 2,800 more disabled participants aged 16+ playing bowls.

It is important to stress that this is a 4 year target, and a 4 year target for a reason. The BDA are aware that there is a significant amount of work to be done and a number of challenges to be overcome in order to successfully increase disability participation.

The national disability sport organisations are, and will continue to be, key partners for the BDA in their attempts to increase the number of disabled people playing bowls. If you have any impairment specific questions then below are the lead contact details for each of the NDSO's:


  • Lawn bowls provides open-air exercise
  • Comradeship
  • Improved mental and physical facilities


The cost of taking up lawn bowls varies from club to club, so it is always best to contact your local one direct to find out the exact prices. Some clubs ask only for a one off membership fee, but most ask for an annual fee, plus an additional playing fee. Some also offer sessions where you can pay and play.


Playing equipment consists of:

  • A set of 4 matched bowls
  • The jack - a small white ball
  • A mat


  • The 1930 British Empire Games - the first of what would later become known as the Commonwealth Games - were also the first to feature lawn bowls as one of just seven sports on the programme.

Find Bowls Activities Near You

Use the search below to find local activities near you.

Inspire & Include

Age UK Northamptonshire have launched a one-year Inspire & Include programme to increase the participation of older disabled people in sport. The project, working in partnership with Northamptonshire

This Girl Can

Tue, 01 Sep 2020

No one gets to choose how you exercise other than you. Your body, your call. And whatever that looks like, we think it’s worth celebrating.

National Governing Bodies

Bowls England

Contact Name
Bowls England General Enquiries
Contact Email
Contact Telephone
01926 334609

British Crown Green Bowling Association

Contact Name
Bowls England General Enquiries
Contact Email
Contact Telephone
01926 334609

English Indoor Bowling Association

Contact Name
General Information
Contact Email
Contact Telephone
01664 481900
Duston Sports Centre

Duston Sports Centre

Duston Sports Centre is run on behalf of Duston Parish Council by Trilogy Leisure and includes a Trilogy Health & Fitness state of the art gym, dance studio, 4 court sports hall, function room, bar and sports pitches.

Wellingborough Swanspool Seniors Bowls Club

Wellingborough Swanspool Seniors Bowls Club

Swanspool Seniors Bowls Club are a fun club, although like most clubs we like to win matches, if we don’t then maybe next time.


Geddington & Newton Bowling Club

Primarily an outdoor bowls club providing flat green bowling, both competitive and social, from late May to early October. Indoor short mat bowling is also provided from mid October until mid May.
Various social events are also held throughout the year

Northampton and District Indoor Bowls Club

Northampton and District Indoor Bowls Club

You will get a warm and friendly welcome at Northampton and District Indoor Bowling Association. All ages and abilities play here, all year round. If you don’t want to bowl join our social club and still soak up the great atmosphere.

Byfield Bowls Club

Byfield Bowls Club

Byfield is a lawn bowls club in rural south Northamptonshire which welcomes players of all ages and abilities, and offers a friendly environment in which to learn, play and enjoy the game, socially or competitively.

Oundle Bowling Club

Oundle Bowling Club

We are a friendly local bowling club with both lawn and short mat bowling available. Never tried bowling before? Come and have a go. Experienced coaches welcome beginners and the disabled. We have a full social programme with many events through the year


Harpole Bowls Club

Harpole Bowls Club (HBC) is a mixed club offering year-round short mat bowls and outdoor bowls during the season. New and experienced bowlers are welcome.

King's Park Sports

King's Park Sports

King's Park Sports is made up of two centres' Benham Sports Centre and King's Park Tennis Centre. Both are located on the same complex and consist of two indoor football pitches/10 badminton courts, 4 indoor tennis courts and 4 outdoor tennis courts. All


Northampton West End Bowling Club

An outdoor flat green bowling club, located in the area of Duston, Northampton.
Formed in 1897 we are a mixed club playing on Thursday & Saturday from April to September each year. The club also plays in a Triple League on Monday evenings.

Bowls England Coaching Bursary

Bowls England Coaching Bursary

Coaching Bursary Scheme to assist members of affiliated clubs who wish to obtain a Coach Bowls qualification.

Bowls England Development Loan

Bowls England Development Loan

Development Loans are available for Bowls clubs affiliated with Bowls England and relates to any item such as clubhouse improvements, fencing, car parks and changing rooms and loans of up to £20,000 (free of interest), repayable over up to eight years, are available.

Alex Le Guével

Sports Development Officer (NGB's)

01604 367133

Paul Humphreys

Bowls Development Alliance - Development Manager