|Points to remember:
A bowl is only "reading" the green and acting
accordingly. Sometimes a wider draw set will go very narrow especially
on a heavy or wet green and a narrower running model can sometimes have
a lot more turn at the finish than it would on a hard and fast green.
You may also experience a much wider draw on the forehand than normal
and almost no draw on the backhand, usually caused by cross-wind and angles will change playing from the
other direction. Various playing surfaces can have your bowls doing something different to normal when they are heavy.
Frequently Asked QuestionsQ. Why has my play deteriorated recently?
A. The 2 main reasons for poor play are:
a] playing on sand-filled synthetics that sand your bowls as you play
thereby altering the bias. As there is no current rule to test bowls
many players take this to mean there is no need to test. NZ has the
highest failure rate of bowls not complying with the rules, approx 60%
we've checked in the past 9 years.
changing to a narrow running model that simply cannot work due to the
inherent design flaw. They require perfect greens, no wind and very
delivery with no wobble, many players deliver from a greater height as
they age or pay little attention to the way the bowl arrives onto the
green. Older, wider drawing sets, and balanced sole type are much more
forgiving than the recent models that have a high degree of un-balance
on the sole to achieve the narrow path on the green but still have
full legal bias on the table. Any model that goes more than about 10%
narrower than 1.75 mtrs of draw on 17sec green is employing greater
amounts of the un-balanced sole design and will not play consistently
in this country. About 12 models sold here in the past 9 years fall into this category.
Q. Why are
some bowl models much easier to play, why do some
models go so narrow but play so erratically and are they really legal?
A. This is the most asked question/s and can be a bit confusing.
All bowls are currently considered legal as defined by the Rules if
have at least minimum legal bias as set down by World Bowls and group
within 100mm on a test table. But due to the sole shape engineering
many recent models take much less bias on the
green than is present during table testing. These models subtract or
negate bias as they run down the green, the Test Bowl [type A] does not
do this and presents all its table bias on the green. World Bowls has
not allowed for this in their test proceedure...a topic covered on the tech issues page
Basically there are 2 types
of bowls, non sole-shape sensitive and sole-shape
based on the
shape of the crown which could be descibed
as self-correcting or "balanced arc, or uniform shape sole"' and
"un-balanced arc or variable geomertry sole shape" The uniform arc type
including the WRB test Bowl does not subtract bias when played on a green and the variable geometry
sole models do.
Sole shape and effect explained: [ simplified ]
Variable geometry bowl models will go
narrower when wobbled and the sole shape or type is then displayed.
Most of the old sets did this but had so much bias that they still went
quite wide even with some bias-subtraction happening. If this happens
it has a dual-sole or
split-running sole i.e the arc of the sole that touches the green is
made up of 2 different shapes joined together. We could call them A at
the apex and B on either side. The A part at the apex tells the bowl to
turn and the B part tells it to go straight. Neither win out so a
compromise is made as to the actual bias path on the green and some
bias subtraction happens.
On the test table only part A
touches and shows all its bias. On the green both A & B touch and
so the bias-subtraction part kicks in. The difference is in the size of
the footprint contact between the table material and the green, like
between your kitchen lino and carpet in the lounge.
The only way to see the final
green result on a table is to wobble the bowl which averages out its
sole shape, at present not allowed as part of the test and not needed during the
years of greens testing.
"variable geometry arc" type has the advantage of being made to take different
tracks down the green
and go narrower than stated bias, play the weighted knock-on shot a
little better but
can suffer in even quite normal weather conditions as many bowlers can attest
to with models sold
here over past few years that simply don't play well outdoors, i.e. you get varied results due to the sole geometry. You
either play the odd brilliant game or just plain terrible,
consistency is hard to come by. The biggest problem is the greens we
have in many parts of New Zealand and sand filled synthetics that won't
allow some bowl models to take consistent lines down the green and have
consistent turn-in at the finish. The
balanced sole bowl overcomes these problems but can't be made to take
the very narrow line down the green that some players want or have been
told to buy to get selected in top teams or rep play.
Drakes Pride models Professional [made since 1986] and Special 
have the "balanced sole type A" design and our new models
Direct, Corsair and Delta now give players the choice of flatter finish
bowls that have the consistent line and turn-in of these well known
models as they are based on the balanced sole technology.
Q. Which model/track should I use?
A. Depends on the type and speed of
the green and to some extent your skill level. In general the Ultra, Professional and Delta are slightly easier to use and more
forgiving than narrower running bowl models which require good weight control, but play the weighted shot on fast greens better.
Drakes Delta model takes a banana arc to the jack and is good for
greens running 13-16 seconds.
The Corsair adds to this by holding a straighter
line for a longer distance before even flatter entry to the jack, and is recommended
for 16-19 sec greens.[our biggest selling model ]
Direct takes this 1 step further and is like the Professional but has a
narrower line down the green, and has the turn-in of the Delta. [ skips
seem to prefer this model ]
The Striker SF is a slightly narrower
version of the Corsair with longer finish and is our narrowest model
without using too much vrg on the running sole shape.
In general the trend in the last few
years is towards narrower running models. Bowls that were considered
narrow 15 years ago are now put in the too wide category. The dilemma
for players who have plugged into the really narrow game of late is
consistency. Quite simply it's just not possible to make bowls that go
very narrow on a green, but still show full bias and pass on a test table, play
on most NZ greens. The new Drakes Pride models now give those players
wanting the flatter entry to the head sets that have our robust tried
and true playing
characteristics. Our new engineering has resulted in the most
consistent play of any bowls I've seen in NZ over the past 40 years.
Q. How do I know what type of bowl I have?
If you deliberately wobble the bowl and it takes virtually the same
line as non-wobbled you have type A or balanced sole type. If it goes
narrower than normal delivery it is type BAB including all the very narrow running models of the past decade.
Q. How do I tell if my set is narrow or wide in comparison with the Test Bowl?
It's 32 years since sets were regularly tested so the comparison with
the Test Bowl is a vague recollection for some and a total unknown for
those entering the game since. Our greens testing has shown the Test
Bowl to take approx 1.75 mtrs of draw over a distance of 30 mtrs on
sec green speed. [ If your set takes a narrower line than this,
it is a model that would not be legal in the days of both greens and
table testing.] This measurement is the distance from the centreline
out to the place where the bowl went to its maximum curve before
heading back to the centreline, not a reference to a marker peg on the
Q. Why do my bowls seem to go much wider than previously?
Many players don't check the measurement properly and often feel their
set has suddenly changed. This is due to using the marker pegs on the
bank at the end of the green to gauge their line and these pegs often
are changed by the greenkeeper to get an extra rink for a big
tournament. If the makers are usually 4mts apart but changed to 3.8m
your "normal line" is now outside these and make you think your set has
suddenly changed. Rink marker pegs can be 3.6 - 5.8 mtres apart,
remember where you aim is not how wide your set goes. Get your bowl to
finish at the jack, walk out after your bowl and drop a coin at its
widest point and then measure or step out the distance to the
centreline, this is how wide your bowl actually goes.
Q. Do I really need more than 1 set?
A. In a word, yes. If you like narrow
running bowls you will need an easy-play set for inferior or windy
greens. If the only set you have is a wider draw
set, competing against narrower models that play the weighted up-shot
well is very difficult as the greens speeds up. It may play brilliantly
on a 15-16 sec green but your options are restricted to only draw shots
on a 19sec green. The new models are designed to give the same range of
shot options as green speed get quicker.
model goes best in wind?
A. All Drake models take consistent lines on windy greens, we've
built our models to cope very well on NZ rather windy greens.
I buy heavy or xtra-heavy weight?
are made from 3 grades/weights of material, medium, heavy &
xtra-heavy which are descriptive terms
only and do not signify a specific weight. As the various models differ
shape, therefore differ slightly in displacement or weight. Modern
slim-style bowls are often
slightly lighter in weight than older broad shouldered bowls,
adding more arguement towards
extra heavy which is only available in black. Coloured bowls available in H only.
Q. Is the weight of an Xtra-heavy
size 3 the
same as a heavy size 4?
A. No. As a general rule
the 3XH bowl is approx 60% of the weight difference between a 3H and 4H.
Q. Why do my bowls track wider than my friends
A. While 2 identical sets
will take the same bias on a test table, the player's delivery has a
great effect on the
actual path up the green.
Q. Why do my bowls pull up short as compared
A. It is surprising how
often we get this comment from bowlers, especially those who have down
It is not possible to make a
judgement unless you use both sets, and there is a re-learning process
when changing your set,
especially from an older wide drawing
model. The weight, size and footprint on the ground all have a bearing.
While there may be a perception that
your opponent has a set that gets upto the jack, your set will also if
you give them slightly more weight.
Remember no set of bowls will jump
out of your hand and go up the green on their own.