Bowling Rules
Ten Pin Bowling Rules


Bowling Rules, Ten Pin Bowling Rules, Bowling Specifications, Bowling Lane Specifications, Bowling Pin Specifications, Bowling Ball Specifications, Basic Terms in Bowling, Rules of Bowling, How To Play Bowling, How To Bowl

Ten Pin Bowling Rules

The basic rules to play bowling are simple in casual bowling. The game of bowling consists of ten frames each frame except the tenth frame consist of two balls to knock down ten bowling pins. If all ten pins are knocked over on the first ball rolled it is called a strike. If all pins are knocked over in two balls it is called a spare. In the tenth frame you get a bonus if all ten pins are knocked over in the first and second roll with the possibility of three strikes. The highest score is a 300 which consist of 12 strikes. Learn more on the basic bowling rules and how to play bowling .
Bowling Rules, Bowling Score Sheet, How To Play Bowling, How To Bowl
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Bowling's Governing Body

In league bowling there are more serious rules to follow. They are incorporated by a governing body called the USBC or United States Bowling Congress for amateur league and tournament play. In years past this was governed by the ABC or American Bowling Congress for Men and WIBC Women's International Bowling Congress for Women in the USA. The AJBC or American Junior Bowling Congress and YABA or Young American Bowling Alliance for children under 21. Other Bowling Governments are the PBA or Professional Bowling Association and World Bowling. All Governments have there own set of rules and standards. But most use the USBC as a guide line.

Bowling Lane Specifications:

Ten Pin Bowling Rules, Bowling Specifications, Bowling Lane Specifications,

Length of a Bowling Lane:

The bowling lane is 62 feet 10 3/16 inches in length and measures 60 feet from the front edge of the foul line to the number 1 pin spot, plus or minus ½ inches. The pin deck which is where the pins set is 2 feet 10 3/16 inches in length.

The Width of a Bowling Lane:

The bowling lane width is 41 ½ inches and plus or minus ½ inches.

Bowling Lane Markers:

A bowling lane consists markers between 6 and 8 feet from the foul line usually called dots. As well as markers normally called arrows, at 12 to 16 feet.

Bowling Lane Surface:

The surface of a bowling lane must be flat and free of depressions and grooves with a crosswise tolerance 40/1000 inches. A lane finish or coating must be applied to the entire width and length.

Bowling Approach Specifications:

The bowling approach is not less than 15 feet in length. In addition, not to have more than 7 markings. From the foul line at 2 to 6 inches, 9 to 10 feet, 11 to 12 feet and 14 to 15 feet. In addition, these markers are to be parallel to each other from the foul line to the edge of the approach. Usually known as dots and are not more than ¼ inches in diameter.

Bowling Pin Specification:

Bowling Pin Specifications, Bowling Rules

Bowling pin specifications have changed over the years The bowling pins weight and internal design in modern ten pin bowling have changed the most. In addition, are subject to change and are of great debate among bowling governments. Higher scoring and technology changes in the game leave it up for periodic review.

Basic Bowling Pin Specifications as of 2017:

Bowling pin design has a smooth curve and is a uniform arc.
Weight 3 pound 6 ounces for wood and plastic coated pins.
The height of the pin is 15 inches plus or minus 1/32 inch.
The width at the top of the pin at 13 ½ inches from the base is approximately 2.57 inches wide.
The width at the middle of the pin at 4 ½ inches from the base is approximately 4.766 inches wide.
The width at the base of the pin is approximately 2.250 inches wide including the plastic ring.
Center of gravity: from the bottom of the pin not more than 5 60/64 and not less than 5 40/64 inches.
Radius of gyration measured from the center of the pin not more the 3.727 plus or minus .094.

Bowling Ball Specification:

Bowling balls like the rest of bowling have had a number of changes over the decades. From wood and rocks to rubber and urethane. Bowling balls like the bowling pin and bowling lane have been under controversy since about 1980. When the polyester bowling balls were introduce and then urethane then to reactive urethane cover-stocks. As well as, the core designs of the bowling ball becoming more dynamic. The surface hardness has also been an issue. This is do the inflated scoring potential as the game of bowling evolved. Most Bowling Balls before 1980 were made out of rubber and only had a basic pancake weight block. The soak-er bowling balls, popular in the 1960's made illegal. This is a bowling ball soaked in a chemical to make the rubber cover-stock soft to aid in the hooking ability of the bowling ball.

Basic Bowling Ball Specifications as of 2017:


The bowling ball is to be made out of a solid material.
Bowling balls can not be made out of liquid or metal.
The cover-stock is to be smooth and not effect the balance of the ball.


Bowling balls can not have depressions or grooves except for holes for gripping purpose and lettering and manufacturers logos and chipping do to damage. If the ball surface is to be changed by means of sanding or polishing the entire ball must be changed. Plugs or gripping inserts may not stick out of the ball surface.


The bowling balls weight is to be from 0 to 16lbs and may not exceed 16lbs. There is not minimum bowling ball weight.


The surface hardness of a bowling ball may not be less than 72 at room temperature or between 68-78 degrees on a durometer. It is illegal to change the bowling ball surface hardness by use of chemicals or other methods.


The bowling ball circumference be more than 27.002 inches or 8.595 in Diameter and be less than 26.704 inches or 8.500 in Diameter.


A bowling ball is to be spherical and considered out of round if it is more than .010 inches.

Bowling Ball Balance:

After drilling a bowling ball may not be more than 3 ounces from the top of the ball to the bottom. The right to left side and front to back of the finger holes the weight may not exceed 1 ounce. May not have more than 5 holes for gripping purposes and one holes for balance.

For more rules on bowling ball specifications refer to

The Basic Terms Used In Ten Pin Bowling.

  • Bowling ball
  • Bowling shoes
  • Lane or Alley
  • Bowling center, alley or house.
  • Approach
  • Dots and arrows
  • Pins
  • Lines
  • A strike
  • A spare
  • An open or miss
  • A frame
  • Gutter ball
  • 4 bagger
  • A line of bowling
  • 10 pin
  • A mark
  • The ditch
  • A split
  • A rack
  • Double
  • Turkey
  • Bucket
  • Sleeper
  • Greek Church
  • Big Four
  • 7 - 10 Split

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Ten Pin Bowling

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Bowling Rules - Ten Pin Bowling Rules