Letter from our President, Glen Little, to our members followed by Bowls Scotland Guidance Document

Dear Member

I hope this letter finds you well and that you are managing to cope with the adjustments the virus has required us to make to all our lifestyles.

As you are aware the Scottish Government has announced that some outdoor sports, including lawn bowls can commence from 28th May. Following this announcement, Bowls Scotland issued the attached Guidance Document to help members safely play the sport we all enjoy. There is also a Risk Assessment which clubs must complete at help identify and mitigate risks to members and club officers which arise from opening the greens.

The Committee has reviewed the Guidance Document and believe we should comply with its recommendations in full. It is clear from this document that we cannot return to bowls as we knew it. Under any regime going forward, only the greens would be open with all other facilities including the club house, toilets and locker rooms being closed.

 Our prime concern is the safety of our members and we must ensure we do not put them at additional risk, especially considering the age profile of our members. We also need to consider the safety of those who would have to open the greens, lay-out mats and jacks and disinfect/clean these at the end of play.    

After careful consideration the committee had decided that we can not justify opening the greens at the present time. We will continue to review the position over the coming weeks and hope that when conditions improve, we can safely make the greens available for play.

In the mean- time our greenkeeper, David, is doing a good job of preparing the greens so that they are ready for play when conditions allow. The committee will be using the Bowls Scotland Guidance Document and the Risk Assessment to develop a set of procedures which will allow us to open the greens in a way which minimises the risks to members and our duty Directors. Any modifications to our operating arrangements will be made in readiness for play when it resumes.

In order to aid communication, it would be helpful if those members who receive this communication by letter would contact us at roger.black2@virgin.net and provide us with your email address so that we can send out further updates in due course.

I am are aware that there may be differences in opinion over our ability to resume play. The overriding concern of your committee is the safety health and wellbeing of our members.  I would respectively ask that we are all courteous, toward and about each other in in our discussions, whether that is in conversation or on social media.   

I look forward to communicating with you again when I will be able to give you details of how and when we can resume the sport which we all enjoy. In the mean-time please remain safe and I look forward to meeting you ‘on the green’ in the future



COVID-19 Guidance for Getting Back on the Green 

Phase 1 – Bowls included in extension to daily exercise guidelines (22nd MAY 2020) 

Effective from: 29th May 2020 

(Subject to the Scottish Governments final decision being made on the 28th) 

Bowls Scotland continues to fully support and follow the Scottish Government guidelines relating to COVID-19, including ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all members of Bowls Scotland. Working in partnership with the Scottish Government, sportscotland and our members, we have produced guidance for clubs in line with Scottish Government guidance on sport and physical activity. 

This guidance is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach as we appreciate bowling facilities vary across Scotland and as such individual bowling clubs should risk assess appropriately to ensure these procedures can be implemented. Please continue to err on the side of caution; clubs should not open unless all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of players and volunteers can be implemented. Players should only play if they feel fit, well and can adhere to the guidance put in place by their home clubs. 

There is absolutely no urgency or pressure to return to the green, however if clubs and players feel ready and the following guidance is adhered to, bowling activity can resume but should ONLY include practice individually or games with members of your own household or between members of two households where social distancing can be maintained. 

This guidance is split into four sections and will be subject to review once the Scottish Government issues further advice and guidance: 

1. Guidance for Clubs 

2. Guidance for Players 

3. Guidance for Bowling Activity 

4. Additional Information 

1. Guidance for Clubs: 

• Clubs should carry out and document appropriate risk assessments for all relevant areas of their facility 

• Club house facilities (including toilets) should remain closed until further notice. However, where the green can only by accessed through the clubhouse the club must ensure that players enter and exit one at a time, ensuring physical distancing guidance is adhered to at all times. Players should not cluster within the club facility 

• No club friendlies, internal competitions/club ties or external matches should take place whatsoever. 

• Bowling clubs are responsible for ensuring the club and members comply with Scottish Government legislation and follow the guidance outlined within this document 

• All club volunteers should work from home (where possible) apart from Greenkeepers who can maintain the green as per guidelines set out on the Bowls Scotland website. 

• Club meetings should not be held face to face. 

• No alcohol consumption to take place before, during and after play at the club and we encourage all members not to smoke/vape/electronic cigarettes at the green 

• Clubs should check with their insurance company that the correct and full cover is in place before any play can take place 

• Clubs should advise their members if and when their bowling green is open and ready for play and what procedures must be followed for those planning to play 

• Clubs should check with their landlord that they have permission to re-open 

• All other Bowls Scotland policies and procedures must be adhered to  

• No spectating should take place 

• Clubs should ensure a clear plan is in place for the cleaning of equipment before, during, and after play and provision should be made for this. For example, disinfectant spray must be made available by the club and accessible for those playing. More information is available here https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/web-resources-container/covid-19-guidance-for-non-healthcare-settings/ 

• Consideration should be made for members who require mobility support 

• Clubs should organise a system for booking and allocation of rink times that ensures the safety of Players 

• Clubs are not required to open their green/s and should decide on what best suits the club and its members 

2. Guidance for Players: 

• Players who have COVID-19 symptoms or if anyone in their household that displays symptoms, those players should stay at home and follow NHS guidance. No one who is self-isolating should attend the club 

• If a player/s are deemed at a higher risk and have health issues (those aged over 70 and/or those with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems), they should remain at home until Scottish Government guidelines change 

• Players who are shielding should not attend the club 

• Players should check if the club is open for play. Please be patient and understanding if the club cannot open the green 

• Players should go through the clubs booking system and not just turn up to the green to play 

• Players should only play individually, with members of their own household or between members of two households where social distancing can be maintained. 

• Players should not consume alcohol before, during or after play at the club and smoking at the green should be discouraged 

• Players should not attempt to enter the club house as these facilities will remain closed. However, where the green can only by accessed through the club house players should enter and exit one at a time, adhering to social distancing guidance at all times. Players should not cluster within the club facility. 

• Players should follow the ‘Guidance for Bowling Activity’ section set out below 

• Players travelling to bowling greens should do so in line with the Scottish Government Travel/Transportation Guidelines E.g. It is permitted to travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise but advised to stay within a short distance of your local community and travel by walk, wheel and cycle where possible http://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/pages/exercise/ 

3. Guidance for Bowling Activity: 

I. Green Set Up prior to play

i. Ensure green is fit for play 

ii. All equipment to be removed e.g. 2m Sticks, Score Boards, Chalk, pushers etc (except rink markers) 

iii. Benches, ashtrays, and bins to be removed, covered or sign-posted in such a way that members do not touch or use them. 

iv. Consider what support your members might need to play (for example those with mobility challenges) 

v. Players must bring their own hand sanitiser and use this throughout play 

vi. There must be one rink space (an empty rink) between each rink in use. As an example, a 6-rink green should have rink 1, 3 and 5 in use or 2, 4 and 6. i. Bowling Clubs with more than one green need to ensure that compliance is achieved across all greens. 

II. Before Play

i. Bookings: i. Clubs should organise a system for booking and allocation of rink times that ensures the safety of Players 

ii. Clubs should allocate 30 minutes between booking slots to minimise the number of players arriving and leaving at any one time and allow for any shared equipment to be sanitised 

iii. It is recommended clubs should allow a maximum of 4 people (1 Pairs Game) can play per rink at any one time and in accordance with Scottish Government requirements. 

iv. For each session clubs should collect essential information for all players including emergency contact details 

ii. Arrival and Waiting to Play: i. The clubhouse and locker room facilities will remain closed. Limited essential access for example to remove bowls and shoes may be allowed by the club and should be coordinated appropriately e.g. if the key holder looking after the facility placed the items outside for collection, but clubs should risk assess and ensure appropriate measures in place. 

ii.Clubs to communicate in advance with players to advise on social distancing requirements that are being applied on arrival at the club. It is advised that players do not arrive until 5 minutes before play and must stay outside the parameters of the club until it is safe to enter, and the previous players have left. 

III. During Play

i. Mats and Jacks:

a. Players should use separate mats and jacks, however if this is not possible, whichever player collects the mats and jack is responsible for all contact with the equipment before, during and after the game. 

b. Disinfectant spray must be made available by the club. Players must use the disinfectant spray after each game to cleanse all mats and jacks (ensure these are completely dry of disinfectant before use on the green again) 

c. As a suggestion jacks or mats can be set at short, medium or long by the same player after each end rather than rolling the jack down the rink for position 

ii. A maximum of 4 people (1 Pairs Game) can play together 

iii. The 2m social distancing rule must always be observed on and off the green 

iv. Other bowls equipment cannot be shared between players (e.g. cloths, measures etc). 

v. Players should always practice safe hygiene 

vi. Players should not:

a. Pick up any other players bowl out with your own rink 

b. Share equipment out with your rink- e.g. cloths, measures, etc 

c. Moisten their hands with saliva before delivery 

d. Shake hands, high-five or have any physical contact with other people on the green (out with their household) 

IV. After Play

i. Players must leave the premises immediately after conclusion of play, making sure they have sanitised the mats, jacks and their hands. 

The above guidance has been produced to allow a phased return to the outdoor lawn bowling greens of Scotland, where practice individually or games with members of your own household or between members of two households can take place. All players and clubs have a responsibility to take care of themselves and their members. 

4. Additional Information 

• Frequently Asked Questions 

• Sports Turf Services Green Maintenance Update 

• Template Risk Assessment 

• Template Rink Layout 

• Template Booking Schedule 

To view these documents, please visit our website here – https://www.bowlsscotland.com/clubs/club-support-covid-19 

Please refer to the Bowls Scotland website and social media for further updates and enjoy getting back on the green safely and with consideration to others around you. 


E-mail: ralstonsecretary@outlook.com    Website http://ralstonbowling.com