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Bowls is a game (usually on turf) for individuals, pairs, triples, or fours (rinks) in which biased bowls ("woods") weighing 31/2 lb. are rolled at a smaller ball ("jack"). A rink is not more than 21 ft wide by 120 ft long. The game was known in Britain by the 13th century and was banned by various monarchs as being a menace to archery practice. Scottish bowlers prepared the present rules about 1850, and the first national association was Scotland's, founded 1892. Today the International Bowling Board, founded 1905, has nine members, mainly British Commonwealth countries, plus U.S.A.

In England bowls is played on flat greens or on sloping (crown) greens.

The game is no longer confined to the elderly and middleaged of both sexes.

(The Penguin Encyclopedia)

They say that when the Spanish invasion fleet, the Armada, was sighted approaching the shores of England in 1588, Sir Francis Drake,* was playing a game of bowls at Plymouth; and Englishmen love to relate how he is supposed to have said, "The Armada can wait. I must finish my game first." And still, up and down the land of England, business is forgotten while elderly gentlemen go down on one knee and carefully bowl a big black wooden ball in an effort to get it as near as possible to a little white ball placed about the length of a cricket pitch away from them. The art in the game consists in taking into account the fact that the ball being bowled ("the wood") is not properly balanced - it has a 'bias'. The game is played in the open on bowling-greens made of the very finest turf obtainable which is kept in perfect condition.

* (Francis Drake (c. 1545-1596) - an English sea rover and circumnavigator; completed his voyage round the world in 1577-1580; knighted by Queen Elizabeth.)

(Pattern of England by C. E. Eckersley and L. C. B. Seaman)

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