Bowling Rules

During the 1950s bowling gained in popularity as indoor bowling alleys were rapidly built. Bowling became a social sport in addition to being a competitive sport. Overtime, bowling rules and regulations have been developed that are considered the standard. Rules exist for the equipment, lanes, scoring, and playing the actual game.

The approach area to the bowling lane is 15 feet in length and stops at the foul line. The bowling lane is 42 inches in width with the lane length being 60 feet in length. Bowling balls are heavy, they can weigh 10 to 16 pounds. Regulation requirements are that the ball may not be more than 27 inches around. Most bowling balls have three finger holes. However, two finger hole balls are permissible.

Bowling pins are manufactured to be at a standard size, they must be 15 inches at the widest area and 2 ¼ inches around the smallest area. Bowling rules require that the pin be 15 inches tall and made from maple wood. Pin weight allowed is three pounds and 10 ounces to three pounds and six ounces.

Bowlers must follow regulations while playing the game. A scoring system is also used to keep track of the players. A player is allowed to roll the ball twice in each of 10 frames. The primary goal of the bowler is to knock down all 10 pins in the first roll of the bowling ball. This is called a strike. If the player fails to knock down all the pins, they then get a second chance.

Knocking down all the remaining pins in the second roll is called a spare. An open frame exists if any bowling pins are left upright after the second roll. If a bowler steps over the foul line while rolling the ball, they have committed a shot. Pins knocked down by a shot, gutter ball or a bounce off the back wall are not counted as a score.

Keeping score is part of the bowling rules too. A strike receives an X mark in the scoring box, while a spare gets a slash mark. With spares the number of pins knocked down in the next frame are added to 10. That new number is placed in the frame. A perfect score for a game represents 120 pins being knocked down. That score is a 300 and requires 12 strikes in a row to achieve.

You can enjoy and practice with virtual online bowling  to keep your game sharp when you’re not on the lanes.

Learn more about the rules of bowling on YouTube