I have fond memories of bowls. I used to play as a kid at Bangor West Church, every Tuesday evening I think it was, with mostly elderly ladies that are probably not with us any more 🙁 I was really there for the mid-session snacks through, the tea and biscuits, and while I don’t drink tea, I do enjoy free digestives. Anyway, now as an actual grown-up, with no real local connections, I don’t really know how to play bowls. But there’s definitely bowling in Ward Park. Let’s go curl some bowls.
The Ward Park Bowling Pavilion
I’ve been on a mission lately to promote Bangor’s outdoor sports and kind of expected the bowling at Ward Park to be the least accessible of these sports. Partly because I don’t own a set of bowls. After failing again to find information online I called round to the Ward Park Bowling Pavilion to seek some proper info. It was a drizzly summer afternoon, my expectations were low, but the kiosk was open and the attendant was really quite helpful.
Renting Bowling Balls at Ward Park?
It’s no problem for casual bowlers to just turn up, pay the fees (£3.35 pp), and just start slinging some bowls. If you have bowls that is. So I did ask about the rental of bowls, which they don’t have “bowl rental?” they do have a bunch of hand-me-down bowl sets you can borrow. Sizes 2, 3 etc. No charge. It also felt like I was the first person to actually ask this. Do random people not turn up to play bowls?
How to Book a Bowling Green?
Just turn up and you should be fine. There are 3 greens with 6 rinks in each. That means 18 games can be played at a time. In summer they do host the NIBA Championship games (Ward Park is kind of prestigious in the bowling league) but they only take up 2 of 3 greens so there will still be 6 rinks free to join. It is possible to book in advance at the pavilion, at least they have a ledger book to scribble down names. You can also phone Bangor Sportsplex (028 9127 5622) but they’ll just be phoning back and forth between the pavilion and they say it’s best to just turn up for bowling at Ward Park. There’s a putting green next door if you miss out.
Bowling Etiquette at Ward Park
I felt bad to just turn up and blag two sets of bowls from the pavilion so I recruited my wee nephew, a handsome young lad, long lush hair, looks great in shorts, Big Lebowski-vibes. He has his own set of bowls. We parked just opposite on Park Drive (map here) and felt a tad awkward and out of place walking up to the kiosk. “We need to wear special shoes or something?” But it’s about as casual as a walk in the park. Just turn up and play.
What Do I Need to Play Bowls in Ward Park?
At the least, you can get by with nothing, other than payment that is (around £3-£4 pp cash). Bowls can be borrowed at the pavilion and you will also be given a jack which I wasn’t sure about “could we just use a tennis ball”. They actually give you 2 so you can bowl from both ends so you don’t have to go pick up your balls each time. Something we realised about halfway through. Then there is a store room with scoreboards and “delivery” mats which we didn’t bother with.
Bowling at Ward Park Bowling Green
So we turned up to the pavilion, paid our fee in cash (cards not accepted), borrowed some jacks and bowls, and are pointed towards the far green which was the only one being used on the day. 2 rinks out of 6. That means there are 16 free rinks that day. It was a relatively nice day as well, slightly overcast, but better than most summer days. I kind of expected it to be elderly folk as well but I’d guess at a combined age of under 40. They’re fairly normal looking as well. So I’m guessing the old adage from my favourite bowling advert is true. “Bowls, they’re not square”.
How to Play Bowls (The Basics)?
I’m not sure I’m the right person to be asking here but I feel we did have a fair grasp of the basics. We did forget the mats, which are used to stand on when bowling, so we just used my camera bag as a marker instead. Then it’s the jack. You fire it down towards the opposite end then just take turns to roll your bowls down towards it. The nearest to the jack wins. Note, the bowls are weighted to one side so they kind of curl. You should keep the smaller circle on the inside. And that’s about it. At least that’s how we played it. For a fancier introduction, you can check the YouTube video below. It’s only 24-minutes long.
General Information for Bowls at Ward Park?
It may be best to confirm details either at the Ward Park Bowling pavilion or by phoning Bangor Sportsplex (028 9127 5622). There are 3 greens, 6 rinks per green, and only 3 rinks are available per session.
Opening Times for Bowls at Ward Park?
Bowling at Ward is open for casual use from April to September during daylight hours.
- Monday to Friday 10:00 – 21:00.
- Saturday 10:00 – 17:30.
- Sunday 13:00 – 17:30.
How much is bowling at Ward Park in Bangor?
These are 2023 prices and are paid with cash. No luck with cards.
- Adult £3.90
- Concession £3
- Season Tickets: Adult £49.50, Concession £42
Where is the Bowling Pavilion in Ward Park Bangor?
The bowling pavilion and bowling green are found next to the Hamilton Road entrance of Ward Park roughly a 6-minute walk from the main train and bus stations (directions here).
Where to Park at Ward Park?
There is free parking next to the Bowling Pavilion at Ward Park on Park Drive (map here) although these parking spaces are often busy. If you fancy a walk in the park there’s plenty of free on-street parking near the Castle Road entrance and a car park just a bit further up on Gransha Road (map here).
Can I rent bowls at the Bowling in Ward Park?
No, but you can borrow them from the kiosk at the pavilion at no additional cost.
Do I need to be a member to play bowls at Ward Park?
No. Casuals can just turn up, pay the fee, and play.