There are literally thousands of options for a bowler to choose from.
Just from the combinations above it is quite possible for every bowler in the world to own a unique set of bowls; however the unique identity of a set of bowls is actually provided by a serial number stamped onto every bowl.
Aero – Australia, Sydney
Almark – Australia, Melbourne – used to be in Scotland, Cumbernauld
Drakes Pride – England, Liverpool
Greenmaster – Australia
Henselite – Australia, Melbourne
Thomas Taylor – Scotland, Glasgow
Ayres – London
Boardman - Bolton
Bussey – London
Cotswold – Stroud; made by Drakes Pride for Mike Newman
Dunlop – Birmingham; first manufacturers of compound bowls in 1918
Grays - Cambridge
Jacques – London
Lawrie - Glasgow
Lindop - Manchester
Mackay - Edinburgh
Riley – Manchester; bought out by Thomas Taylor in 1999
Slazenger – bought out by Dunlop in 1959
Taylor Rolph - London
Current Popular UK Models
Defiance, Groove, Maxim, Profile, Quantum, Sonic, Space
Arrow, Sterling Gold, Sterling Slimline
d-tec, Professional, Pro-50, XP,
Classic II, Classic II TRL, Tiger, Tiger EVO, Tiger Pro, Tiger TX, Tiger II
Ace, Blaze, International, Lazer, Legacy SL, Lignoid, Vector VS
Non-Current but Recent UK Models
Clubmaster, Commander, Crusader, Edge, Sterling, Sterling King
Crescent, Goldline, Silverline
Advantage, Fineline, Fineline Xtra, Jazz, Professional Plus, Pro-50, Willie Wood
ABT-2000, Dreamline, Emerald, Melbourne, Sapphire,
Drakelite, Elite, Solitaire, Spectrum, Vector
World Bowls Legal Sizes are 0000 to 7
Sizes 0000, 000, 6, and 7 are rarely made in the UK, but can be specially ordered.
Aero will also make a half size to special order.
The maximum weight of a bowl is 3lbs 8 ozs or 1585 grams. Manufacturers however will only state on the bowl whether it is medium, heavy or extra heavy weight (M,H,or X). Weights of bowl vary by model and size
Weight Chart in Grams
Essentially two options, gripped or non-gripped. Gripped options vary by manufacturer and model. Current UK trend is for the scooped out grips which are becoming available by all manufacturers.
Aero currently have three options of grips for the UK market. From the left is a Z scooped grip, the middle is a Z grip, and the right hand example is a dimple grip.
Almark keep it simple with either round dimples (on the left) or rectangle dimples.
Drakes Pride Grip Options
Or the scooped grip, known as the Channel Grip by Drakes Pride
Henselite also keep it simple with either round dimples (on the left) or spaced round dimples.
Thomas Taylor Grips
Thomas Taylor offer a rectangular dimple or the scooped grip defined as the Extreme Grip
Numerous options available.
Black – which are much cheaper than coloured.
Single Colour – slightly cheaper than multi-coloured.
Multi-coloured – usually a single colour base layer with different coloured spots speckles and streaks. Avoid duo or tri coloured bowls which are arranged across the running surface.
Choose from standard list of emblems or
Send your own emblem for copying onto bowls (£30-£50 extra).
Henselite even offer specific wording on a set of bowls (i.e. Club Champion 2022)
The following tparagraphs highlight the differences in bias between the various models.
Tight, Narrow running bowl with little bias.
Aero Defiance, Almark Arrow, Drakes Pride Advantage, Thomas Taylor Lazer and Vector VS
Medium Running Bowl
Aero Profile and Quantum, Almark Sterling Slimline, Drakes Pride d-Tec and Professional and Pro50, Henselite Classic 2 and Tiger 2 and Tiger Pro, Thomas Taylor Ace and Blaze
Wider Drawing Bowl
Aero Groove and Maxim and Sonic, Almark Sterling Gold, Drakes Pride XP, Henselite Classic and Tiger and Tiger Evo, Thomas Taylor International and Legacy and Lignoid.
All bowls have one or more stamp marks on them denoting the last time that the bowl was tested for compliance with the rules.
Stamps after 2013 are oval shaped whereas those before that may be of a different shape – mainly hexagonal. The information within them is the same though. The WB, BB, IBB stamp at the top or bottom denotes the regulatory authority (World Bowls) and the R denotes a registered trade mark. The number is a year date. Anything from 1985 (85) is legal to be used apart from in National Championships and Internationals when the stamp must be current year or greater. The letter to the left of the stamp indicates who the Tester was:
A – Thomas Taylor
K – Almark UK
N – Henselite
P – Pershore Testing Centre
X – Drakes Pride
Z – Aero Bowls
Over the years 24 letters have been used (I and O excluded).
It is advisable to get bowls checked every ten years at least. Through normal usage individual bowls in a set can adopt different patterns of play. When viewed on a testing table it is quite common for several bowls in a set to finish in different positions on the testing table – if you think your playing performance is erratic maybe it is the bowl.