We use essential cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set analytics cookies that help us make improvements by measuring how you use the site. These will be set only if you accept.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our cookies page.

Essential Cookies

Essential cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. For example, the selections you make here about which cookies to accept are stored in a cookie.

You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics Cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify you.

Third Party Cookies

Third party cookies are ones planted by other websites while using this site. This may occur (for example) where a Twitter or Facebook feed is embedded with a page. Selecting to turn these off will hide such content.

Skip to main content

Info. for New Bowlers

Information for New Bowlers at Orpington Bowling Club

Welcome to Orpington Bowling Club. We hope that you will find it a friendly club and that you will enjoy your time here and make many new friends.

This paper has been prepared to give you some information which we think will be useful to you. It may not answer all your questions so please don’t hesitate to ask any of our more experienced members if you have any queries. If you have views on anything further which could be usefully included we would also like this feedback.

Above all, if you have any complaints at any time please let your Captain know, do not just complain to another member. If we know of a problem we can usually solve it quite quickly whilst unsolved problems only create more.

Bowling at Orpington

Bowling times

The Club is open every afternoon and evening at which time Stewards will be on duty to help.

Afternoon bowling commences at 2.15 for normal casual play, 2.30 usually for club matches, drives and special days. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the starting times.

Evening bowling commences at 6.00 pm (5.30 in August and September).

(Please note; if the green is not being used and no one has arrived 45mins after the opening time and not notified the Steward, then he is allowed to close the green)

Morning bowling is permissible for competitions and is recommended for Tuesday mornings plus weekends. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings  are green mowing days, if you are playing on these days you could be asked to leave the green whilst it is mown. The care of the green has priority. 

Types of play


For the afternoon session, when you arrive add your name to the blackboard inside the clubhouse and the steward will arrange the games for you. In evening there is not usually any arranged play and this is a good time for purposeful self practice.

NB: There is usually a rink available for casual play but consult your fixture book and the diary inside the club house as on occasions all rinks may be taken for matches/special events.

Australian Pairs

This is a competition run throughout the season on Monday afternoons and is a good introduction for new bowlers, but as teams are formed at the very beginning of the season it may not be possible to bowl in this the first season, but make enquiries.

Friday Aggregate

This is an ideal competition for new bowlers and again runs throughout the season, on Friday afternoons. You can join whenever you like and as long as you play on any 10 Fridays you will qualify as your 10 best scores during the season are totalled at the end of the season.

lnternal club competitions

The club runs a large number of internal competitions including men's and ladies' handicaps, ladies pairs, mixed pairs, men’s pairs, two woods, 100up, men's and ladies, championship, the Pearce Trophy (for those who have not won an internal singles or pairs club competition at this club or any other outdoor club).

For singles competitions a marker is required (see note on 'marking', below).

Before playing a competition, a rink must be drawn from the available rinks.   The steward will assist with this.

We also hold a Captains' day, President's Day, Palmart Cup and other events as noted in the fixtures book.

Club Matches

The club enters teams in several leagues but we also each week usually have at least two friendly matches, one mid-week and one at the weekend.  As soon as you feel ready or your Captain or Coach encourages you,  please put your name down for selection. The Captain or Vice-Captain will explain the procedure.


Drives are games which are usually held on a Bank Holiday where interested members put their names on a list and are organised into teams on arrival.
The nature of the game will depend on the type of drive taking place.

Other competitions

For the more experienced bowler there are other competitions e.g. Nationals, County etc.  We also play in a number of leagues and trophy events such as the North-West Kent Leagues, the Private Clubs' League, LX league for men (over 60) and the Jubilee League for ladies.
We are also invited to take part in invitation events at other clubs, and each year arrange days out, this year to New Romney, Whitstable, Broadstairs and Birchington.

Newer bowlers however are recommended to take part initially in the internal club competitions so that they gain experience.

Format of the game

See 'Guidance for New Bowlers' issued by Bowls England. All members of OBC receive a copy on joining.

Dress code


These should be regulation flat-soled bowling shoes. Those wishing to wear sandals must sign the disclaimer in the book.  Please see notice regarding sandals. Sandals however, are not recommended.


  •    Casual play:
           Regulation grey below the waist i.e. trousers, skirts.
           (Jeans are not allowed) 
           Regulation white tops (i.e. with collars and sleeves)
  •    Drives and special days:
            As above but with regulation white trousers/skirts.
    ​        Club blazer badges and ties (for men) and flashes (for ladies) are available.
  •    Matches against other clubs
           ​​Regulation grey or white below the waist
         (see details of the specific match on the team selection notice or fixture list)

          Club shirts, if playing away, travelling with blazers is recommended.

 NB: The wearing of grey or white shorts as appropriate is allowed at home but acceptance from the club being visited is necessary for away games; check with the Captain of the day.


All singles competitions require a marker to keep track of the scores and assist the players in their game. New bowlers should have a least one year's experience of playing in the club competitions before marking for such.

Each season we run a Marker's Course for those who are interested, and usually a Marker's Familiarisation Day for those who just want to know what to expect before playing their competitions.


New bowlers will already have had some coaching, but it doesn't stop there. If you are having difficulty or indeed just want to improve your bowling; speak to the coaches whom you have already met and they will be pleased to work with you.


Initially new bowlers require shoes, clothing and bowls. Regarding bowls it is often a good idea (if you haven't got some already) to buy second hand bowls (see the notice board) until you have a little experience as new bowls are quite expensive and you want to be sure that you are buying what you really want. Ask for advice. You should equip yourself with chalk {stick or spray}, a string measure and wedges as soon as possible because these are used in everyday bowling.

Care of the green

The green is carefully maintained at great expense to ensure the best possible playing surface. Please ensure that you take care of it by:

  • wearing only appropriate footwear
  • using nets when the surface is likely to be damaged, or as directed by the Steward
  • not running on the green
  • taking care not to damage the edges


See 'Guidelines for New Bowlers' for the duties of each player during a game-

Like most sports there is an etiquette which will have been covered in coaching but two points to be stressed are always be courteous to other players and if they are bowling (especially towards you) stand still until they have delivered their bowl before walking or moving across their line of vision.

Other club activities

Social events

We have a number of these throughout the season and all members are encouraged to take part as they are fun and help to bind the club together and for members to get to know each other. Keep an eye on the notices for details (several of them are in the fixture book so you can put them in your diary).

Stewards/Tea ladies

The men have a Stewards Rota and take the responsibility for opening up the club in the afternoon and evening, and getting out the appropriate equipment for the day etc. A familiarisation meeting is arranged for new members. Usually it means a member being a Steward once or twice a month.

The ladies operate a tea rota, doing this duty twice per season. New members will be paired with at least one experienced lady. The duty involves laying up the tables for matches and preparing the tea and biscuits for the break in play.

For both stewards and tea ladies, if you cannot fulfil your allocated duty it is your responsibility to find someone to take your place, and to change the rota accordingly.

Junior Club

We have a Junior Club (ages normally from 8 to 18 years) which meets every Saturday morning so come and watch them, or if you have children or grandchildren etc who you think would be interested bring them along.


Much additional information is displayed on the internal and external notice boards.

Please ensure that you read these regularly to keep yourself up-to-date with everything that is happening within the club.

Remember this is your club, you are a full member, join in; you will get out what you put in. Being a member entitles you to all the privileges which go with being a member and of course the same responsibilities.