Fake Testing Issues
update 2015..World Bowls continues to falsify the complying bias stamp on thousands of sets of bowls manufactured after 2002.
The 'test' is a fake and World Bowls simply refuse to fix it. They now claim they 'signed off' on their test proceedure in 2002 and are happy with it. What! How can the governing body of an international Sport act in such a cavalier manner? It is their duty of care to make sure equipment used in the Sport actually does comply with on-green bias Rules...read on....

Summary of the main points of how so many bowls got sold without min legal bias.    link to BOWLS TECH EXPLAINED

The testing of bowls at manufacture is designed to verify the set has at least the min bias of the WRB out on a green. Since it’s impracticle to use a green to verify this, indoor test tables have been designed to emulate the green bias. The 9 mtr run distance on a table is critical to get the same result as a green.

Bowls track down the green due solely to the shape of the curve across the running surface or crown.

This curve shape can be constructed in 2 design methods:
balanced or continuous curve,
un-balanced or variable radius, sometimes refered to as “dual bias” curve.

The green reads both of them in upright wobble –free delivery.
The test table only reads the balanced type in wobble-free delivery.

So the test on a table consisted of canting the bowl at 7deg to average out the other part of the curve that the green automatically does. This was/is the method that got the green and the table to agree.

By removing this aspect of the test, the green and the table now only agree on those balanced curve models. This leaves the vast majority of models sold over the past 80 years outside the ability of the “test” to verify the green bias in relation to the required WRB minimum.

So manufacturers have exploited this inabilty of the current wobble-free table test and the absence of any greens comparison of any sort to issue models that have the WB minimum bias stamp of approval but take much less bias out on the green than the said WRB.

Clearly the current test is not valid for the job it is designed to do in relation to Rule 8.2.1/52.2.1 in repect of the models it can’t read.

The WRB is a balanced curve type. It cannot verify the “dual bias” type unless the comparison is done on a green or the bowl is wobbled if using a table.

The video1 at www.bowlsdirect.co.nz shows this very fact, i.e. the true green comparison of the 3 bowls is only displayed on the table if wobbled, just look how close the Impact goes to hitting the sidewall. At the end of the video you see the Professional and Impact on the Omokoroa green run down a chute and the result is the same as the 7 deg cant/wobble test on the table. It is completely different to the current test where we are not allowed to check on a green or do the wobble test as in the past. This explains why so many sets of bowls have been manufactured since 2002 with less than WRB/Test Bowl green bias, we simply are not doing a valid test.
This also explains how difficult it is to get this type of bowl to play consistently, if I cant at 3 deg it goes where the Dreamline went at 7deg.
All these models suffer from the same thing, they need perfect delivery on perfect greens with no wind. Not likely for the average player.


For some years it has been known that bowls bearing a legal bias WB stamp are being used in the sport that, on the green, take much less bias than the Test Bowl or WRB and do not comply with Rule 8.2.1 now 52.2.1
As bowlers don't have the training or equipment to quantify the problem, it has been very difficult if not impossible to discuss with administrators who often don't know themselves.
"If it has a legal stamp it must be ok" is about the answer from most people.

This has left the sport with no actual minimum green bias at all. Manufacturers can make models that go almost straight, as we show in the video clip table bias on these narrow models has no relation to their actual green bias, but still show healthy test table bias under the current faulty test. The 3 bowls demonstrated are 1. Professional 2. Dreamline 3. Impact. Bowlers know from experience that these 3 models that show almost the same bias on the table have completely differing green bias. This situation needs to be discussed worldwide and there are thousand of sets affected. The culture of no testing or checking of bowl biases over the past 25-30 years has culminated in this present situation.

Below is a discussion document sent to World Bowls and others outlining the how and why this situation has happened. We believe it needs to be fixed or at very least show in the Rules that no minimum green bias exists in the Sport of Bowls as in the past. Bowlers could then decide on possible course of action as to the game they wanted to play or be involved in. Video shows why the current table test does not show the true on-green bias of bowls.

Video no.1 shows the difference between balanced sole Professional and un-balanced sole type bowls Dreamline and Impact. Green demo included that shows a reversal of the table read and explains why narrow models have been allowed to have a legal bias stamp even though they take much less bias than the Test Bowl /WRB and do not comply with Rule 8.2.1 [ fully explained on the tech-issues and bowl-tech page. Pls  ]


a. Illegal un-balanced/variable radius sole-design bowls produced in past decade.


The testing of lawn bowls could be carried out either on a green over a distance of approx 90 feet or a test table over a distance of approx 28 ft and were interchangeable with eachother. Each would show the the bias of bowls in relation to the Master or Test Bowl . An IBB stamp was engraved to show the set having at least the bias of the Test Bowl. However there was one very important difference in testing in the 2 locations.
On the green test, a bowl was run down a chute with no wobble, but for a table test a 7 degree cant or wobble-test was required to emulate the green test. This is because the footprint imparted onto the table surface from the bowl running surface was too small to actually get a true and accurate reading or comparison with the green test counterpart. The table would show a bowl to have much more bias than it really had if compared to the test bowl on a green. The cant/wobble was needed to equalize the test with a green or the table test would be invalid. NB. This only applies to un-balanced sole bowls.

In 1998 World Bowls received a submission to abandon all greens testing and the 7deg wobble test that only the test table used, these are the only aspects of testing that verify actual green bias.
Two manufacturers warned WB that removing these 2 facets of testing would result in illegally biased bowls being sold on the market. However this warning was ignored leaving the test to show nothing of actual green bias in relation to the test bowl known today as the Working Reference Bowl or WRB. The only part of the table test that showed the true green bias in relation to the WRB Test Bowl was removed. [ Only un-balanced sole models affected, see tech page. ]

NB. The current WRB is a balanced sole bowl and any balanced sole model that has a minimum pass with it on the table will pass by similar amount on the green. Any un-balanced or variable radius sole bowl that has a minimum pass on the table will not pass on the green. This is at the heart of this discussion. Our checking of WRB no. 12 showed approx 1.75 mtr draw over a distance of 30 meters on a 16.5 second green of Maniatoto grass in New Zealand.

1. Does testing/running a bowl on a green reproduce the actual bias of both types of bowls? A. Yes

2. Does the current table test, carried out as per WB Ltd regulation, reproduce the actual green bias of both types of bowls? A. No

3. In the past did table testing, carried out as per IBB guidelines, used by manufacturers guarantee that bowls bearing a legal date stamp would have WRB legal bias on a green? A. yes, both types.

4. Does the current test/date stamp on bowls gurantee the bowl will have WRB legal green bias? A. No

5. Is the table capable of testing bowls to have the minimum WRB green bias standard? A. Yes, if the wobble test is objected to for reasons of inconsistent operator application, then one way of ensuring models of dis-similar sole type to the WRB would be spec’d to a “master bowl standard” for that model which was known to comply with the WRB and minimum green bias Rules. Or have various models pass by X or Y distance on the table that was known in the trade to be a pass for that year/model.

6. Is the current test valid?  
A. Yes, on balanced sole design &
      B. No, on un-balanced sole design bowls being 60-80% of sales past decade.

7. Why? A. The 7deg cant test [ as per 5 D ii see pdf file extract below ] needed to average out the sole due to the footprint imparted onto the table being too small to show the actual green bias was withdrawn. This type of bowl shows greatly added bias on the test table that needs to be allowed for in table testing only.

8.  What is the significance of dropping the cant/wobble test? A. The cant test was needed to produce the result seen on a green. By removing it we have now 2 different model bowls with the same minimum bias on a table and both equal to the WRB, but 1 having sometimes half the bias of both the WRB and the other model bowl when played on a green. The test was skewed to give this result.

9. Is green testing capable of failing a bowl that may pass on another day/location? A. Yes, small variation can occur because the green might not be suitable for a particular model/style of bowl. But not a reason to have none at all.

10. Is the test table capable of failing a bowl that may pass on another day/location? A. Yes, nothing is perfect.

11. Which is more tolerable?  
i. A few sets failing on a green by accident or
      ii Thousands of sets produced with a legal bias stamp not having WRB green bias on purpose and some by as much as 50% less? 
     A. Greens testing was not perfect
but the current test is not a valid test at all.

12. Did WB know at the time of greens-test abandonment that the subsequent table test instituted was flawed and would produce illegal WRB green bias bowls? A. Yes.

13. What is the effect? A. No minimum bias now in the Sport of Bowls. [see further explanation below]

14. Were the players worldwide told? A. No

15. Has it affected both quality of play and enjoyment of the game. A. Yes

16. Did the Rule Book reflect the change? A. No

17.  Did any other communication reach the players explaining the Sport now had no minimum green bias and the game was now played to no basic standards of player-known bias? A. No

18 Did WB intentionally or un-intentionally cause this change? A. As the then  Officials who produced the regulations were relying on their consultant’s reports it was probably unitentional.

19.  Was undue pressure from mainly 1 source put on WB to make the changes? A. World Bowls made the decision to accept without question, advice from the consultants who either, genuinely do not know un-balanced sole bowls show far more bias on the table than the green, or misled the Board deliberately.

20.  In weighing up the decision, did WB rely too heavily on only 1 source of technical information? A. Yes, a statement made at one meeting by two manufacturers that it would allow illegal bowls to be made was ignored.

21. Could greens testing be re-instated as an option to fix the problem? A. Yes, bowls that fail can be sent to a table operator to make the bias adjustment required. It gives member nations some way of checking bowls post their manufacture date who don’t have test table/bias adjustment equipment. Greens testing does not have to be the primary method, just having the option and possible “random testing” would keep things in line.

22. Will it mean a return to the known WRB green bias standard? A. yes

23. Is there player dissatisifaction over the use of bowls that seem to them to be “illegal”?
      A. Yes but not communicated by them to WB whom they see as
 unapproachable. Players don’t have the technical ability to quantify the problem.
      We are aware of at least one Associated Country writing a letter of complaint about narrow running bowls.

24.  What options are open to players if status quo remains? A. Form another Union or conduct tournaments, with certain bowl models/dates excluded, among others.

b. Use of sand topped greens in the sport of bowls

1. Does sand cause sometimes-rapid deterioration of the bowls running surface often causing severe changes to bias and grouping? A. Yes.

2. Did NZBA know at the time when the first sand-filled greens were laid in 1983? A. Yes.

3. Have NZBA/BNZ communicated the wear factor problems to players/clubs/centres involved with the sand-type product? A. No

4. Was the 10-year test that would pick up these sets and allow restitution withdrawn? A. Yes, 27 years ago.

5. Has the ensuing wear been a factor in poor play and loss of game enjoyment? A. Yes, but not communicated by players to WB/BNZ.

6. Can the problem be fixed? A. Yes.

7. Is the problem now widespread? A. Only in countries or areas of countries that have sand involved in any way on the green and in contact with the bowl-running surface. The argument that all countries should return to testing just to fix a local problem is invalid.

8. Has the Sport of Bowls been brought into disrepute due to administrative decisions taken on the 2 topics under discussion? A. Yes

9. Are the above cases examples of serious mismanagement or at best, ineptitude? A. Yes.

10. Can we fix these problems? A. Yes.

11. Does WB/BNZ want to fix them? A ?

Extract from Guidelines for Table/Green Testing circa 2001 drawn up for IBB by manufacturers.

(d) (i) All bowls must be run without a wobble. If however a bowl is badly delivered it will be seen to wobble both on the chute and on the green. If this happens the bowl should be stopped and returned for re-running.

(d) (ii) In table testing in addition the bowls under test should also be run with a 7 degree cant to average the running surface of the bowl as the contact area on a table is much less than on a green.


I have reservations re the annual GBP5000-plus fee charged to manufacturers by WB to put a legal bias stamp on new sets of bowls knowing many do not have WRB green bias. As the stamp has no quantifiable meaning to bowlers and does not indicate WRB green bias on both types of bowls I submit the fee should be withdrawn.

You can not have a test that shows model A & B having exactly the same WRB minimum bias on the test table only to find 1 of those models has WRB green bias and the other has half the bias of the other and the WRB on the green and yet both carry a WB legal bias stamp. To charge manufacturers a fee to comply with this situation is asking them to be complicit in the deception.


The topic of illegal bias bowls is not about small variations in testing at either green or indoor table testing sites. It is about the decision taken that allowed bowls to be marketed bearing a WB stamp indicating minimum bias requirements that simply come no-where near meeting that standard by very large margins. The statement by WB consultants that bowls are taking a narrower path on the green due to extra distance is not verifiable and totally incorrect.

This discussion is not about rivalry or healthy normal competition amongst those in the bowls business.
Over the past 30 years there has been a move by administrators to pay very little attention to quality control of bias seen on greens around the world. Also a great reluctance to discuss a subject that is much easier to see than hear about. If any Board members want help on this I can do table and greens demonstration for anyone in NZ at anytime and in the UK Drakes Pride would be available also.

World Bowls must seek more than just one source of information in making decisions pertaining to bias tests. It is the reason why the game worldwide is in the position it is. The most fundamental part of the Sport is that bowls must take a detour down the green and the Governing Body has a duty of care to uphold the minimum bias standard, not dispense with it altogether.
There may have been criticism of greens testing but the current test does not test minimum bias at all.

ps. If you need help understanding the difference in balanced sole design and un-balanced or variable radius design bowls, please see our Bowls-Tech page

Q. We have also been asked to explain why the current test essentially means there is no minimum bias in the Sport of Bowls.

A. The test table only reads a very small portion of the bowls running surface. This is enough to accurately predict what the green bias will be on a balanced sole type bowl. But on the complex variable radius/un-balanced sole models it is not and this type of bowl can be made like "baked beans 57 varieties". Many of the models of the past decade have almost the same table bias but have differing
green bias. When checking against the WRB Test Bowl they will take something close to 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%  etc less.

On this basis manufacturers can alter the sole shape to essentially make the bowl go almost straight on a green but still show similar bias to the WRB on a table. The straighter a bowl goes the more unbalanced the sole shape is and playability and consistency is compromised as there is very little bias left on the bowl to "bring it home".

It is our view that some bowl models sold breach the Fair Trading Act. The WB stamp says it has at least the minimum bias of the WRB in play on a green, but many don't meet this standard set by Rule 8.2.1 and a simple check on a green will confirm this. It is also part of the reason for our table being un-registered. We don't want to charge our customers for a service to test bowls to a standard the Rules demand and not fulfill that standard. The current test only checks the 100mm circle grouping not the bias.