A Guide to the Rules of Ten Pin Bowling

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Oh! The sounds of a ball rolling down a wooden lane and the sounds of the pins falling as the ball hits them, those are the sounds Americans love to hear when they participate in the pastime sports called bowling. The only sound they do not like to hear is the soft thump as the ball falls into the gutter. Ten pin bowling, or just bowling as most Americans call it has different rules and regulations. These include what type of pins and balls must be used, the playing area and scoring system.

The playing area is a lane that is sixty feet long, bordered with gutters on the side. This measures from the foul line to the head pin. The lane, consisting of thirty-nine wooden boards, is forty-one and a half inches wide. There are two sets of approach lines. The first is twelve feet from the foul line; the second is fifteen feet away.

The pins must be fifteen inches high and approximately four-and-a-half inches across at its widest point. One pin must weigh between three pounds six ounces and three pounds ten ounces. With ten pins on a lane, the weights of the single pins can vary by no more than four ounces. The pins must be trademarked “USBC Approved.”

The bowling ball must have a circumference of 2.25 feet or less and weight sixteen pounds or less. Except for finger holes, a trademark engraved in the ball and general wear, the ball must have a smooth surface.

A typical game of bowling has ten frames. The bowler, during each frame, has up to two attempts to knock down as many pins as he can. If he knocks down all ten pins with the first ball that is called a strike; if it takes two balls to knock down all ten pins that is called a spare. If the bowler gets a strike or a spare in the last frame, he gets to bowl in a bonus frame. He can possibly get three strikes in the tenth frame.

If a person’s foot touches or steps across the foul line, any pins knocked over will not count. However, if he fouls on the first ball, he will be given a chance to score points on the second. He will only be awarded a spare if he knocks down all ten pins.

When more than one player is bowling at the same lane, each player takes turns bowling for a frame. The bowlers must figure out who is going to bowl first, second and so on before the game is started.

Understanding scoring is the important rule in bowling. When newcomers come into the sport, the scoring system is confusing to them. When they do not know the correct scoring system, the scores will be incorrect. While a bowler scores one point for every pin knocked over, a bowler has the possibility of getting a maximum score of 300. Therefore, they must know the proper scoring tabulation.

Whether for tournament or fun, bowling is a popular sport across the country. There are many bowling alleys in towns, cities and villages. While the bowling allies comply with the regulations on the pins, lanes and balls, it is up to the bowlers to understand the scoring system.


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