Let’s face it, some sports struggle in the face of negative perceptions, though those perceptions are seldom accurate. When most people think of bowls, they think of a stiff and genteel pursuit played in silence by retired men and women. They think of Tony Allcock and the pipe-smoking David Bryant, or even of Borat struggling to understand when ‘Jack’ arrives.
Bowls, however – in particular lawn and crown green bowls – is undergoing something of an image change and a surge in popularity, with more young people playing the game. So why is this?
The most sociable of sports
Its popularity surely lies in its accessibility, sociability and inclusivity. A healthy number of pubs around the country – usually called The Bowling Green – have their own bowling green, with equipment often available for a returnable deposit, while almost every town and village in the UK has its own bowling club – there are around 7,500 clubs up and down the country. In fact, bowling clubs are bustling hives of activity – offering the chance to spend a summer’s day with friends, perhaps enjoying a drink, and some competitive sport.
28 year old Keith Woodford has been playing bowls since his teens, and he has seen first-hand the increase in interest among younger people.
Some of the stigmas have definitely started to erode. There’s been a relaxation in the old, formal dress-codes – with more colourful gear now allowed. And the game has become more aggressive, in a positive way. The power with which the woods strike is far greater now, and it makes it more exciting. The fact you can spend the day enjoying a few beers is undoubtedly a factor too – a day down the bowling green is a hugely sociable affair. In fact league games now can get pretty feisty, which is mostly a positive thing but as with any sport it can occasionally go over the top. That’s something you accept playing sport, and for the most part this healthy element of keenly-contested competition is a good thing.
It’s perhaps just as well that bowls is embracing colourful clothing. Premium KUDOS lawn bowls shirts can be designed in a range of stylish and striking colours, and are made-to-order in a variety of fabrics – allowing your team to stand out off the green as well as on it. Fully customised to create a completely unique design, all you need to do is choose one of our performance designs using our one minute kit designer, and customise by adding your team colours and logos. And to cap it all you will receive your bespoke bowls kit in just 6 weeks or less.
With the introduction of slightly new twists on the sport like Barefoot Bowls – a modern and urban variation – bowls is showing that it is more than capable of moving with the times, shrugging off that misleading image of a stuffy old game set in its ways. It’s fun, it’s easy to pick up and it’s accessible. If you fancy giving it a go, find your nearest bowls club and get involved!
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