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Dumping ban generates discussion

Arm bowlers and bowl dumping

The Bionic Bowler Ian Rowan stimulated a lot of conversation following his bowl dumping article.

The Bionic Bowler (Ian Rowan) wrote an article about dumping bowls in the last Bowls Plus and we’ve received numerous comments.

Ian wrote about Bowls Australia and Bowls Queensland issuing a strong reminder to all bowlers about their Greens Protection Policy or “No Dumping” Policy and pointed out that his club, North Mackay Bowls Club, recently spent $500,000 for new carpet playing surfaces for eight rinks.

The club is using the new carpets to serve as a reminder to dumping culprits by serving warnings and finally, a ban on players who continue to dump their bowls.

While many clubs have dumping bowlers, some of these players may have physical limitations which might be helped by switching to a bowling arm. However, arm bowlers can also be dumping culprits due to an early or late release from the arm.

Ian called on all fair-minded bowlers, with or without arms to have a quiet word with the “dumpers” in their club and protect our precious playing surfaces.

Here are some of the comments/letters received:

“About time”

“Should be”

“Most arm bowlers I’ve seen are careful when they first use the arm, but I have seen a few drops from a height and I’m sure that would have damaged the green.”

“I’d be annoyed if a bowler had a ‘quiet word’ with me!”

“Good. Some people don’t care about what happens to our green. The barefoot bowlers are the worst.”

“This is exactly the reason why people don’t want to play bowls anymore. People getting all high and mighty about others just having fun. Stay old and watch your clubs disappear, which they will if you old people continue to have these petty rules.”

“We at the Lyrup bowling club adopted the Bowls SA policy about dumping. You would be amazed at the damage caused by a bowl dumped above 30cm (1 foot in the old measurement). It frustrates me the amount of people that take their bowls out of their bags and throw them onto the green from the bank!”

“I agree. However, getting bowlers to use a bowling arm is like trying to get blood out of stone. And when you succeed in getting a bowler to use a bowling arm, they are called cheats, especially when they beat an able body person. I love it when a bowler takes up a bowling arm in order to keep bowling.”

“Way to go driving more people away from bowls clubs.”

“Finally someone is doing something about this. People won’t listen unless there is a consequence. Let’s look after our greens!”

“LOL I can see all the bowlers spying on others waiting for someone to drop their bowl, just so they can dob them in.”


  1. John Maroulis says:

    Are there regulations regarding taking up a bowling arm. Because of my knee and hip replacement I am finding it hard to get down to grass the bowl. When I do get down I nearly fall arce over head and usually stuff up my delivery. I still think I would feel embarrassed about using one though. (Pride!!!) Plus I live for my lawn bowling!!

    • OSAAT says:

      See my previous reply regarding the bowling arm policy from BA… In response to feeling embarrassed, I think there are more and more people who have chosen to use an arm rather than miss out on playing bowls, so you might find that you are in good company and there will be more arm bowlers around you than you think. The arm bowlers that I’ve spoken with have never looked back – rather be on the green than on the sidelines! Good luck and happy bowling.

  2. John Maroulis says:

    Because of my knee and hip replacement I am now finding it hard to get down to grass the bowl. Are there regulations and forms etc to fill out to use an arm? e.g. forms to fill out and approval to seek?

    • OSAAT says:

      Yes John, have a look at the overarching Bowls Australia Artificial Devices Policy here: https://assets.sportstg.com/assets/console/document/documents/98A33F12-5056-BD5F-F8389D02364050AE.pdf

      Currently you need a doctor’s certificate in order to obtain approval, but I have heard that this may be changing in the future. It’s also a good idea to check and see if your state body such as Bowls NSW, Bowls VIC or Bowls QLD have their own policy. There are also various arm bowling courses around the country so see if you can sign up with one of the coaches as it’s quite a change to move to an arm but once you’ve done it, you’ll be so glad you did! Keep bowling!

  3. Tom Marley says:

    Can you explain what damage can be caused to an artificial surface by people who dump their bowl? Is the concern regarding the carpet or the sub-structure?

  4. KEVIN JOHNSON says:

    Kevin Johnson Purnim Victoria member Terang Bowling Club would like to comment on the use of bowling arms:
    I have been bowling for 29 years, and have used a bowling arm for the last 5 years. A lot of talk about having an advantage, now with restrictions being eased let the cheating stick critics come forward see how hard the game still is. It has taken 29 years to win an A-grade Club Championship with an arm lost a lot by hand, so maybe I have an advantage now but I am looking forward to meeting the people who are critical of armed bowlers.

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