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What are the Differences Between Lawn Bowling and Bocce Ball?


What are the differences between lawn bowlin and bocce ball? These two games are often confused – and they do have a lot of similarities. However, they are not the same. Lawn bowling is a very popular game in the UK, while bocce is more prevalent in Italy. Both of these games require focus and athleticism, and while

Lawn Bowling

Simply put, the primary goal in lawn bowling is to roll a hard plastic ball that is round in one direction and elliptical in another so that it stops close to another ball, usually referred to as a “jack.” Interestingly, one of the key aspects of lawn bowling is the bias of the bowls which are uniquely designed to roll with a curve, rather than in a straight line. While there are some regulations about the bias of the bowls, within those players can decide the bias they most prefer.

The game is played on a flat, manicured field of either grass or turf called a bowling green that is rectangular in shape. The lawn bowling field is 19ftx 120ft large. The bowling green is split into strips, referred to as “rinks.” Lawn bowling may be played as either singles, or on teams and the primary goal of the game is to get your bowl closest to the jack and this is what determines your points. Typically, the winner is the person or team who gets to 18 or 21 points first.

Bocce Ball

Similar to lawn bowling, the game is played with a ball with the aim to get it reach another ball, this one referred to as a pallino. It’s very similar in play to lawn bowl, however bocce ball is played with a ball that is completely round, and may be made of either wood, metal, plastic or clay, unlike lawn bowling.

In bocce ball, the field is 10ft. x 76ft and unlike the well manicured, short-grass field of lawn bowl, bocce ball is played on either a soil or asphalt court.


Both games are played when a player throws a jack onto the field at the beginning of the game. This “jack” is a smaller ball that becomes the target for the entirety of the game.

The primary differences come down to the type of ball used, the field, and the method of play.

Ball Type

  • As mentioned above, lawn bowls are biased in their shape to create balls which curve when rolled down the lawn. Lawn bowls are often significantly larger than a bocce ball. Typically, lawn bowls are brown or black.
  • Unlike lawn bowls, bocce balls are perfectly round and spherical. This creates a ball which is able to be thrown in a straight line. These are usually smaller than the bowls used in lawn bowling, and one of the differences between lawn bowlin and bocce ball their color. Bocce balls are usually in blue and red colors. You can check out here bocce ball set reviews and buyer’s guide.

The Field

  • Lawn bowling is played on a field that is well-manicured, flat and very large. Because of the way the bowls roll with their unique shape, the lawn must be a specific shape and is highly regulated. Surfaces that are not completely even make it difficult to impossible for the ball to go in a straight line or roll like it should.
  • Bocce ball, on the other hand, is played on either asphalt or compacted dirt/soil.

Method of Play

  • One of the primary differences in lawn bowl and bocce is found in the way that the two balls are thrown. With lawn bowling, because the ball is biased in its shape and rolls differently than that of bocce, the ball is thrown similarly to a bowling ball. It’s thrown low to the ground and rolled towards the jack.
  • Another difference between these two games is that lawn bowling requires the use of more balls than bocce does.
  • In bocce, the ball is thrown underhanded, similar to the way it is thrown in softball. The goal is to get it to land closest to the jack. Because bocce balls are thrown rather than rolled to the jack, there is more flexibility in the court sizes. Usually bocce ball courts are smaller than those of lawn bowling, since there is not as much space needed for the bowl to roll to a target.


Ultimately, there are several differences and skill sets required between bocce ball and lawn bowling, though many people confuse the two sports. The origins of each as well as the field, ball type and method of play differentiate the games that can initially be confused.

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