About Archery

There are several types of archery, the most popular being target archery which is what we normally shoot at SAC. We also shoot a few clout rounds each year. Also popular but not shot at SAC is field archery.

Archery equipment falls into three main groups; recurve, compound and longbow.

Most of our members shoot recurve bows, with a handful shooting compounds and longbows. All types are allowed in competitions but archers compete in different classes. In target archery competitions there are different classes for lady and gentleman archers, there are also under 18, 16, 14 and 12 years classifications for juniors. Awards are usually made in each of the classes and for each bow type. There is also a handicap system and awards are sometimes based on handicap-adjusted scores.


Target Archery

This is the traditional form of archery as it has been practiced for centuries. Targets are set up in a field at known distances and archers shoot aiming to hit the centre.

The target consists of 10 concentric rings and each arrow scores according to which ring it lands in. There are many different rounds, each consisting of a set number of arrows at up to four different distances.

Target archery can also be practised indoors during the winter.


Clout Archery

Here archers shoot at a very large target, the clout, marked on the ground at 180 yards for men, 140 for ladies and shorter distances for juniors.

The clout (target) is marked only by a flag at its centre.

Points are awarded according to how close each arrow lands to the flag.


Field Archery

This is more like hunting as groups of archers walk around a pre-defined course in fields and woods.

They shoot at targets sometimes with pictures of animals, but more often on concentric ring targets of different sizes, which may or may not be at marked distances.

Scores are given for how close each arrow is to the centre of the target.


Recurve Bows

Recurve bows are the most popular and are to be seen at all major target archery competitions including the Olympics.

They are characterised by the fact that the tips of the bow limbs curve away from the archer, giving more power than the traditional longbow. Some shooting aids, such as sights and stabilisers, are allowed although some archers shoot without them in a discipline called 'bare bow'. Arrows are generally made of aluminium and/or carbon fibre.


Compound Bows

Compound bows are the hi-tech bows of archery. They are much shorter than recurves and have a system of pulleys or cams around which the string runs. This allows for much more power and speed of arrow flight, but a lower draw weight on the archer's fingers.

A number of shooting aids which are not allowed on recurves, such as magnifying sight rings, can be used with compounds. Arrows are usually made of aluminium and carbon fibre, although aluminium arrows are shot by some, especially indoors.



The longbow is the simplest form of bow used in competition and resembles the traditional bow used by mediaeval archers.

Archers shoot wooden arrows and use the minimum of shooting aids.

Recurve, compound and longbow archers can all shoot the same distances and compete together but will be ranked in different classes.