What Is Short Mat?

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Short mat bowls is similar to outdoor bowls in some ways but also a very different game in many other ways. Like outdoor bowls the aim of the game is still the same; get as close to the jack as possible with as many shots as you can. Instead of playing on a green, it is played indoors on a mat roughly 40 feet in length with a wooden block in the centre of the mat at the halfway mark. You must bowl around the central block to get to the jack, which is trickier than it sounds as you cannot bowl off the edge of the mat or touch the block. The weighted jack is not bowled, but placed at varying lengths decided by the skip, on a centre line at the other end of the mat. The position you bowl from is fixed and your feet must be kept inside a specified area in front of the mat. Like outdoor bowls, there is a ditch area at the end of the mat that woods must stay out of unless they are a touching wood or the jack. Games can be played at singles, pairs, triples and fours. ​

Short mat is a very social game, arguably more social than outdoors given that it is played in a close and intimate environment. It is a great way to keep your hand in over the winter months and for some people is their main bowling game. Either way, a lot of fun is had and everyone is always welcome.