New Members Info


President’s message

Welcome to our friendly Morrison Avenue Bowling Club. I hope you are going to thoroughly enjoy being a member. We have excellent all year round facilities for playing the game and also for enjoying the social side of bowls. Please make yourself ‘at home’. This information pack should help you get up to speed quickly with most of the things you need to know – either as a new member, transferring from another club or as a new bowler.
As President I am here to guide you, answer your questions and generally ‘look out for you’ in your first season in the club along with our Club Captains.

Please feel free to call me Phone 352 8547

Also available to help:
Secretary Margaret Shields Phone 352 5666
Club Captains Judith Glasson 359 4716 and Ray Blyth 352.7690

I look forward to your company at Morrison Avenue Bowling Club.


Denis McMurtrie President 2016-


We offer discounted fees for players new to the game of bowls.
1st year you are required to pay just the Bowls NZ and Bowls Canterbury levies ($80)
2nd year a reduced club subscription and levies ($146.50)
3rd year you are required to pay the full subscription ($204.10)

Club Premises Security
Our secretary –Margaret Shields 352 5666 – will explain how our security system works. Please ensure that you follow good safety procedures with the club’s property. When you join our Club you will be given a key which enables you to enter both through the main Gate and the Main door to the clubhouse.


Junior status
When you start playing lawn bowls and join a bowling club for the first time as a full member you are classified as a “Junior Bowler” please note that it has absolutely nothing to do with your age, whether you’re a collegiate player or a retiree you start as a ‘Junior Bowler’. This system applies at all clubs affiliated to Bowls New Zealand. You will be a “Junior Bowler” for your first five years. Juniors are very lucky because they get to play in their own junior – 5 years and under – events in our club, at other clubs, and also in the Canterbury Centre Junior championships. There are well over 20 bowling clubs in our Centre. Please note that’ Junior bowlers’ can also play in the Open events if they wish – and once you’ve learnt the basics of the game it is excellent experience for you to do this. For example, there is absolutely nothing to stop you playing in the Bowls New Zealand National championships (held at various venues in the late December – mid January period) in your very first season, if you should wish to do so. Of course, you may not want to be what we loosely call a ‘competitive bowler’ at all and may decide to only play ‘social’ bowls and enjoy regular ‘roll – ups’ and that’s fine too. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to decide about just how competitive you want to be. Get in and give things a good go in your first year and see how you go! Many bowlers actually play a mix of social ‘roll-up’ bowls and some competitive games as well.

The main thing is – ENJOY YOUR BOWLS!!


Getting sorted with your bowling gear

By far the most important purchase you will make will be your choice of bowls. At first glance it appears to be a fairly simple choice, but when you have played a few times you will understand that there is much to be considered. Firstly there is the make of bowl. Each manufacturer produces a range of models unique to them. Each model within the range has slightly different characteristics and an individual bowl line. Lawn bowls are biased causing them to travel in a parabola (curve). Some take a narrower parabola and some are wider. Some follow a more even parabola and some have more of a distinct hook at the end of their travel. As well as bias there is size and weight to be considered. Bowls range in size from size 00 (smallest) to size 5, and there will be a size that is correct for your hand. It is very important that a bowl feels comfortable in your hand when using your preferred grip. Bowls can be either medium or heavy in weight with some makes and models offering extra heavy. They can be regular or slim in their profile and this has also an effect on the size bowl you can manage. Some bowls have dimples on the side to assist your grip and others are smooth. It’s a personal choice, choosing what feels best. Every set has its own individual colour markings and a motif. With some manufacturers you can pay a little extra and order your own personal motif. Obviously you will then have to wait for them to be made in Australia and shipped. Most people are happy to ‘buy off the shelf’.
Our club has a number of sets of club bowls (located in boxes in the store-room).

As a new member we encourage you to experiment with and practice with our club bowls (for free for the first season) before you decide to buy your own set of bowls. Brand new bowls cost anywhere from around $500 to about $700 (average probably around $550) – with coloured bowls usually being more expensive than black bowls Checkout the following manufacturer’s websites.

Talk to one of our club coaches, quiz other members on their choice – read up about the manufacturers and generally take your time before buying. Some manufacturer’s / agents have sets of trial bowls available – and it’s well worthwhile to trial if you can before you commit. Remember, even experienced, successful bowlers are very unlikely to have personally used certain makes and models and bowlers have a natural tendency to recommend what they use!  Some bowlers inherit a set of old family ‘heirloom’ bowls – beware – it is unlikely they will fit your hand properly and the bowls being made today are definitely superior in handling and running characteristics. Like all sports gear, bowls move on and improve!
When you find a set that suits you – cherish them.  A well looked after set of bowls should last you 15 or 20 years. Dry them thoroughly after use and apply a sparing amount of bowls polish regularly to help protect them from scratching and marking. A few marks on your bowls won’t affect their performance but over time as the bowls wear and get progressively scratched it does affect their bias and run on the green.

Bowls bags
Look around at what other members are using. Bowling bags need to hold a complete set of four bowls, compartments for other gear, are priced from $60 to $140.

Many women bowlers (and a growing number of men) are now using the ‘glide’ type of bag, with wheels that you can easily pull along, rather than lifting. Bags are typically made in tough vinyl or fabric. The fabric tends to last longer. Check the quality of the zips – that is very important. To start, you may opt to use an older, second hand bag and that’s OK – as long as it protects your bowls properly. Do not overfill your bag with unnecessary items as you will soon find it can get rather heavy – a particular problem if you have to park some way away from the club you are visiting!

You won’t need a Bowl to Jack measure as soon as you start (you can ask to borrow someone else’s) but it’s definitely something you will want to own eventually. Henselite and Taylors both make measures. They are surprisingly expensive, around $45 plus, so you’ll want to look after your measure and keep it in a safe place in your bag. Perhaps you can suggest to your family or friends that it will make a good Christmas or birthday present – becoming a bowler opens up a whole new range of possibilities for presents!

White Bowling Shoes
It is important to have comfortable, good fitting bowling shoes, when you are spending all day on the green, especially in the hot summer months. There is a great range of makes and styles available and a wide range of prices. A good suggestion for when you are starting out is to go to ‘The Warehouse’ and get yourself a pair of their cheaper bowling shoes (‘British’ brand – usually under $35). This will get you started and you may even find they are so comfortable you don’t need to invest in more expensive shoes. If you do buy some more expensive shoes, your ‘Warehouse’ shoes will still be useful for practice sessions and as a back up. A tip to make your bowling shoes last longer is to change into them just before you play and keep them only for bowls. If you walk around the shops and on concrete surfaces with your bowling shoes on they will wear out much faster!

Morrison Avenue club shirts are available and you will probably want one of these sooner rather than later. If you are representing the club in interclub you will definitely need one, (see Tom Hogg)
Both men and women will need a pair or two of white/cream, the maroon coloured club trousers or calf length for women or shorts. Ladies are also permitted to wear Black Trousers, Skirts or Shorts.
It is suggested that you wear White Underclothing, as coloured under garments do stand out quite strongly beneath the white outer garments.
To stay warm you’ll need a suitable white or cream pullover (vest or long sleeves), or you can buy a smart, well designed Morrison Avenue bowling jacket (see Tom Hogg).  Having the right clothing is important so that you look your best and feel ‘good’ and we suggest that this is something you discuss with the Club Captains. They will help you decide what’s best for you and advise you of good places to shop. You can also check out websites like .

When you are playing in a Morrison Avenue team the rules say that you must all be wearing the same colour / design shirt. Of course you can all opt to wear plain white but, if your team is playing in a Bowls Canterbury Centre competition, it is great if you all choose to wear the club’s colours.
One good suggestion for men (and women) bowlers is to go to a sports shop that stocks cricket gear. Often you will find that the drawstring type white pants that cricketers wear are comfortable and smart on the Bowling Green. Another tip – when the cricket season is finishing (March/April) you can often pick up white clothing, including trousers, socks, shirts and pullovers at SALE prices, to put away for the next bowls summer season.

When you have been playing for a season or two and you are starting to play in a lot more competitive games, you may want to consider buying yourself some white wet weather bowling gear. No hurry for this (it hardly ever rains at the Morrison Avenue Bowling Club. Yeah, right!).

Lockers available (for men & women)
Talk to Tom Hogg, 359-6630, and he will allocate you your own locker. The lockers are large enough to comfortably store a bowling bag and bowls and various other bits of clothing and gear you may want to leave at the club.

Like any game, bowls is more enjoyable and you will progress faster with a little bit of qualified guidance. Although bowlers all naturally develop their own individual ‘trademark’ style, it is important when you are starting out to get the basics right – your grip, stance, swing, rhythm, transfer of body weight and your follow through. In addition group coaching is available by arrangement. For Junior or Senior bowlers and you can approach one of our club coaches at any time for some one on one coaching.

Our coaches are:
Len Isitt, Bev Terry, Ken Johnson.

Don’t be shy – they are all ready to help you!

Roll-ups and social bowls
In many ways social bowls are the ‘life and soul’ of the club.
By participating, you will able to practice and improve your bowls, and you’ll quickly meet a lot of other members and start to enjoy all the benefits of membership. It is also a very good way of being ‘spotted’ by some of the more experienced players and getting an invitation to join them in their teams for competitions.

During the summer season we have a roll-up every Tuesday and Saturday afternoons. You need to ‘put your name in the draw’ before 1.15pm and play is from 1.30pm to around 4.30pm, with a break in the middle for a nice ‘cuppa’. You put your name in the draw by removing your name disc from the names board and transferring it to the Game Board usually placed on the wall outside the Office by the Match Committee or the person arranging the days teams for the games (usually someone from the Match Committee) will place you in a nice friendly team (usually, but not always, playing 3 bowl triples).

As a new player you’ll find everyone will go out of their way to help you enjoy yourself.  Don’t worry that you haven’t played much – nobody will worry a scrap. Roll-ups are played in good humour, with lots of talking and laughing and often a bit of friendly banter. Just be careful not to bowl too many ‘wrong biases’ – as we have a donation box in the club house, you are expected to contribute a 50c coin for every ‘wrong bias’ bowled!

Roll-up players pay $1.00 per person at the afternoon tea break to help us pay for the biscuits and to recover costs.
In addition, as a member, you can come down and make up your own games at any time – just as long as it doesn’t clash with any competitive bowls being played in our club calendar (see club Handbook). When you play on Tuesdays you wear a white or Club shirt.  Men have a mid-week dress of white or club shirt and gray trousers or shorts. The club’s coloured uniform is mandatory for Saturday play or Centre events in the summer season.

During the winter indoor season mufti is worn. You need to have your name in by 12.45 for a 1.00pm start. We normally play until about 3.45 -4.00pm. Players pay $3.00 per person at the afternoon tea break which helps us pay for the tea, biscuits and  heating costs.

Indoor Bowls are played by Ladies on Monday and Wednesday (this is an organized team competition). Tuesday and Friday are for Men, Saturdays are mixed.

Outdoors practice procedures
Practice as much as you can as it helps you get a flying start with your ‘bowling career’ – and it’s also a very good habit to get into no matter how long you’ve played. Your coach will suggest suitable practice routines – these notes cover the practical stuff you need to know to stay in the good books of the green keeping team!
In the winter, all bowls are Indoors. In the summer you can practice on either green, providing they are open for play. If a green is not open there will be a bold ‘GREEN CLOSED’ sign near the edge of it.
Next point – please look for the arrows indicating the direction of play on each Green. We rotate the direction of play (and also move the rink pegs around) to help wear the green evenly. Please practice on the pegs, not the rink numbers – this means you place the mat and line up your jacks on the pegs, not the numbers as you would do in an organised roll-up or competitive game.

To get out the mat and jacks for practice, the Jacks are located inside the Club House between the main door and the kitchen, the mats are stored outside. Ask an established member to show you how the system works – and please don’t forget to put all the gear away and if you are last on the green, lock up when you’ve finished including the Club House and the Gate.Entering Events See your club captains early in the season and they will help you enter these events.

Club championships are defined as separate men’s and women’s events (singles, pairs, triples and fours) with winners going on to the champion of champion Bowls Canterbury Centre play-offs. Other Club trophy events such as Handicap Singles, Mixed Pairs, Husband and Wife Pairs are also there for you to enter.

If you read the club Handbook thoroughly you will see the programme of events and the conditions of play. Entries usually close one week before the event or on a specified date. It costs $2.00 per player to enter any club championship or club trophy event and you pay this with your entry to the competition. You enter events by writing your name – or the names of your team – on the entry forms provided.

As a junior player you will want to play in all the junior events, men’s and women’s singles and pairs. There is also a first & second year singles championship for women and Colts for men. If you are not in a Team and would like to play, indicate this on the availability form you receive so that the Match Committee can attempt to match you up into a team.

Read up our club Handbook and you will see that, depending on the number of entries, club championship events will either be played under a two-life system or a round robin system. Club trophy events are played under qualifying systems that will be decided by the Match Committee on an event by event basis. You’ll quickly get the hang of how the various systems work – and any member can help explain things.

Caution about entering events. Don’t over commit yourself or enter without checking the follow up date or dates for playing in the events – meaning that if you survive the opening day games you also have to be available for subsequent play. Of course, if you happen to be ill, or there is some unexpected or compelling reason why you become unavailable, you will need to arrange a substitute or replacement for team events but obviously not for singles.

Juniors can enter non Junior Open events as well and you enter the same way as described above. We also have a handicap singles competition. You enter and the club selectors give you what they deem to be an appropriate handicap, with the idea of giving the whole field a roughly equal chance.

Give it a go! The handicap events are less serious, but lots of fun.

Your Match Committees are:

Ladies: Kathy Drummond, Bev Terry, Yvonne Millar.

Men: Tom Hogg, Ken Johnson, Ian Smith

Entering Bowls Canterbury Centre competitions
The first thing is to make sure you get a Bowls Canterbury Handbook or check in the copy held in the Club Room Office (available from mid September at our club). This Handbook has all the details about entering Centre competitions – playing dates, playing formats and conditions of play, closing dates for entries and, importantly, the actual entry forms for each event. You fill in your entry, attach a cheque for the specified amount and send to the Centre – see the Handbook. When you play in Centre events you are playing to win a Centre title – something that all bowlers value highly.

Champion of Champion Events
Club championship winners at Morrison Avenue automatically qualify to represent the club in the Centre champion of champion play-off events. If you qualify for a champion of champion event, our club will take care of the entry form and entry fee. Please note that for Men, each Championship event has cut off dates for completion of all rounds, this is to ensure that the Final is played in time for the Club to enter the winner with the Centre.

If you fail to play your game by the cut off date you WILL be disqualified.


Interclub competitions
Our club selects and enters teams in various grades of the Bowls Canterbury Interclub. There are separate competitions for men and women. Interclub is open to all players including ‘junior players’ and is played on specified weekend dates. There is also a separate Junior Interclub competition played as a twilight mid-week event and this is a mixed competition – any combination – meaning our selectors pick the best possible team or teams irrespective of gender.
You will receive an availability sheet on which you can indicate that you wish to play in any particular event (if selected)

If you get the chance to play interclub – grab it – its good fun and camaraderie and great experience playing as part of a team at other bowling clubs in the Centre. The overall winner of the Centre Junior interclub goes on to represent Bowls Canterbury against other Centre winning teams.

Your Selectors are:
Ladies: Margaret Howard, Lois Smith, Carol Howison
Men: Tony Pat, Alan Hughes, Bob Davison


Mid-week tournaments are all Open and Mixed
Mid-week Selector: Ron Smith, Lester Reed

If you’re a student or working a full time day job you won’t be much interested in these tournaments, but for ‘retired’ bowlers (and a few self employed bowlers) there is a very active mid week tournament schedule in Bowls Canterbury. See the Centre Handbook for a complete list.

The Club runs monthly mixed & open Wednesday 8 Bowl Pairs, Thursday Triples & Friday triples.  A Ladies Open tournament is held in February.  These are always very popular. Bowlers tend to support their own club tournaments and then they often also play regularly at nearby clubs in their tournaments. It usually costs around $6.00 to $7.00 to enter. The usual format is to play three games with a random draw. You enter our club tournaments by giving your name to the particular Tournament Organizer or the Club Tournament Manager.

To enter tournaments at another club you ring the contact name listed in the Centre Handbook. Junior bowlers are frequently asked to play in teams being entered by experienced bowlers – but there is also nothing to stop you entering your own ‘All Junior’ team. Again, good fun and a really good experience when learning to play on different greens surfaces.


Other Junior events
Other clubs also have dedicated Juniors’ only mixed – any combination tournaments – usually all played on Sundays. They’re all fiercely contested by some of the best junior bowlers in the Centre. Lot’s of fun. Look in the Bowls Canterbury Handbook for the complete programme of events.

Club social events
On the last Saturday before Christmas we have our Christmas Dinner which usually is a Pot Luck Dinner (everyone brings a plate – mains or dessert). We also have a barbecue after our Friday Mixed Triples Tournament to which all club members are invited as well as those people playing in the Tournament. This usually gets under way about 5.30p.m.

There may be some organised Trivial Pursuit, Housie or Card days or evenings during the winter months. Watch the notice board and check the club newsletters for dates and details of all our social events.

Receive the club newsletter by email
To receive your own pdf file copy of our informative (almost monthly) club newsletter please ask the club secretary to add you to the email data base.

The club website is  You’ll find there’s lots of good information about the club. The website was developed as a place where you get information about the club, club weekly program and other events and results.

If you wish for more info send an email to