TELEVISED bowls moves into a new era tomorrow when the BUPA Care Homes Open gets under way at the Potters Leisure Resort in Great Yarmouth.

A move from the traditional venue of Preston's Guild Hall was forced on the organisers, the World Bowls Tour, when the dates, fixed by the demands of television, clashed with the snooker grand prix that finishes in the Lancashire venue tomorrow.

In many ways, the move to Potters is a return to the 'grass roots' of the sport. The last time a major championship was held within the confines of a recognised indoor club was in 1987 when Coatbridge hosted the last of its world championships.

The portable rink made its world championship debut at Alexandra Palace the following year, and since then has been used for all the major network television events. Despite the fact that Potters boast two six-rink greens the portable rink will again be in use for the BUPA Open.

It has been laid on top of the existing green in the new international arena, and temporary seating for 1100 spectators has been added to provide for a potential audience of 1500. The prize- money has been substantially boosted from last year's #32,400 to #64,000, with the winner pocketing #15,000.

Even the 16 first-round losers will pick up #1000. Professional Bowlers Association vice-chairman David Gourlay, a director of the World Bowls Tour, said: ''We are keen to boost the prize money for all our events but not just the top prizes - it's important that the first-round losers are making enough to justify their participation in the events.''

The 32-year-old Ayrshireman, will be one of the leading lights to lift the title. He lost out in last year's final to the unseeded Les Gillett, who was rated by the bookmakers as a 100-1 outsider for the title, but defeated four former world champions on his way to the pot of gold.

Gourlay said: ''Obviously losing to Les in the final was a disappointment, but on the day he played better than I did. However this season will be a testing one for Les - he's no longer the underdog.''

Gourlay opens his campaign on Tuesday afternoon when he takes on Cumbrian teenager Trevor Taylor, who came through from the English qualifier.

''Trevor is one of the up-and-coming players - his father was a seasoned England international for many years, and like me, he comes from a bowling background,'' added Gourlay, who is one of six Scots in the 32-player line-up, and the first of them - world No.8 Graham Robertson is in action tomorrow. The East Lothian man takes on Robert Weale from Wales.

Scottish champion Sandy Syme from Coatbridge is also in action when he faces the first winner of the open title - Scots-born Mark McMahon, who made his name in the bowling world in Hong Kong before moving to Australia a few years ago.

Three-times world indoor champion Richard Corsie is bidding for a much-needed win to boost his flagging world ranking. Corsie is down to 10, and readily admits he could do with a good run.

''The last couple of years I've been tied up in various business ventures and there's no doubt my game has suffered.

''I feel I'm playing well enough again and hopefully I can string together some good results,'' said Corsie. His first round opponent on Monday afternoon will be Ireland's Neil Booth, who picked up a gold medal in the fours event at the Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur last month.

World champion Paul Foster figures in what could turn out to be the top match of the opening round against former English outdoor champion David Holt, the manager of the Blackpool Borough Indoor Club. He booked his spot by winning the English qualifier and proved he's in form when coming through from the world qualifier last weekend.

Former world champion Hugh Duff wraps up the Scottish challenge on Tuesday afternoon when he takes on rising young Welsh star Jason Greenslade. The full first round draw is:

L Gillett (England) v G Baker (South Africa); G Smith (England) v I Taylor (Australia); G Robertson (Scotland) v R Weale (Wales); W Richards (England) v M Anstey (Wales); G Price (Wales) v C Bransky (Israel); M McMahon (Australia) v S Syme (Scotland); G Harlow (England) v J Ross (Ireland); M King (England) v T Allcock (England); A Thomson (England) v E Henry (England); I Schuback (Australia) v J Mills (England); R Corsie (Scotland) v N Booth (Ireland); D Gourlay (Scotland) v T Taylor (England); S Rees (Wales) v N Williams (Wales); R Brassey (New Zealand) v P Le Long (Channel Islands); P Foster (Scotland) v D Holt (England); H Duff (Scotland) v J Greenslade (Wales).