Ten-pin bowling

Ten-pin bowling
Ball contacts the 1, 3, 5 and 9 pins (sequentially tinted red) to achieve a strike.
Highest governing bodyWorld Bowling
First played19th century, United States of America
Mixed genderYes, separate competitions
TypeBall sport
EquipmentBowling ball, pins, alley
VenueBowling lanes
World Games19812017

Ten-pin bowling is a type of bowling in which a bowler rolls a bowling ball down a wood or synthetic lane toward ten pins positioned in a tetractys (equilateral triangle-based pattern) at the far end of the lane. The objective is to knock down all ten pins on the first roll of the ball (a strike), or failing that, on the second roll (a spare).

Behind a foul line is an approach approximately 15 feet (5 m) long used to impart speed and apply rotation to the ball. The 41.5-inch-wide (105 cm), 60-foot-long (18 m) lane is bordered along its length by gutters (channels) that collect errant balls. The lane's long and narrow shape limits straight-line ball paths to angles that are smaller than optimum angles for achieving strikes; accordingly, many advanced bowlers impart side rotation to hook (curve) the ball into the pins.

Oil is applied in different patterns to approximately the first two-thirds of the lane's length to add complexity and regulate challenge in the sport. Especially when coupled with technological developments in ball design since the early 1990s, easier oil patterns, commonly called house shots or typical house patterns (THPs), enable many league bowlers to achieve scores rivaling those of professional bowlers who must bowl on more difficult patterns—a development that has caused substantial controversy.

People approach bowling as either a demanding precision sport or as a simple recreational pastime. Following substantial declines since the 1980s in both professional tournament television ratings and amateur league participation, bowling centers have increasingly expanded to become diverse entertainment centers.

In most parts of the world, the game is commonly referred to simply as "bowling". In Canada and the New England region of the United States, the game is specifically called "ten-pin bowling" or "big-ball bowling" to distinguish it from sports with smaller balls such as candlepin bowling, duckpin bowling, and five-pin bowling. In the United Kingdom, it is formally referred to as "ten-pin bowling", as "bowling" can also refer to bowls.

Facilities and equipment[edit]


True scale diagram: In ten-pin bowling lanes, the nearest pin is 60 feet from the foul line—more than 17 times the lane's 41.5-inch width.[1] Due to the optical illusion of foreshortening that a bowler experiences when standing on the approach, pins appear closer together and bowling ball angles of entry appear more dramatic than they are in fact.[2][3]

Ten-pin bowling lanes are 60 feet (18.29 m) from the foul line to the center of the head pin (1-pin), with guide arrows (aiming targets) about 15 feet (4.57 m) from the foul line.[1] The lane is 41.5 inches (1.05 m) wide and has 39 wooden boards, or is made of a synthetic material.[1] The approach has two sets of dots, respectively 12 feet (3.66 m) and 15 feet (4.57 m) behind the foul line, to help with foot placement.[1]

Simplified THS (typical house shot) oil pattern on a bowling lane, with greater oil concentrations being represented by darker blues. Relatively dry areas on the sides, and more heavily lubricated areas surrounding the centerline, help to guide the ball toward the pocket.[4] (Horizontal scale is compressed.)
Simplified sport pattern of oil on a bowling lane, with greater oil concentrations being represented by darker blues. A "flatter" (more even) distribution of oil across the lane presents a greater challenge to hit the pocket.[4] (Horizontal scale is compressed.)

Modern bowling lanes have oil patterns designed not only to shield the lanes from damage from bowling ball impacts, but to provide bowlers with different levels of challenge in achieving strikes. As illustrated, a typical house pattern (or THS, typical house shot) has drier outside portions that give bowling balls more friction to hook (curve) into the pocket, but heavier oil concentrations surrounding the centerline so that balls slide directly toward the pocket with less hooking.[4] In the more challenging sport patterns used in tournaments and professional-level matches, a "flat" oil pattern—one with oil distributed more evenly from side to side—provides little assistance in guiding the ball toward the pocket.[4] The ratio of centerline oil concentration to side oil concentration (the oil ratio) can exceed 10-to-1 for THSs but is restricted to 3-to-1 or less for sport shots.[4]

Lane oils, also called lane conditioners, are composed of about 98% mineral oil that, with numerous additives, are designed to minimize breakdown and carry-down that would change ball reaction after repeated ball rolls.[5] Lane oils are characterized by different levels of viscosity, with oils of higher viscosity (thicker consistency) being more durable but causing balls to slow and hook earlier than lower-viscosity oils.[5]


True scale diagram: A straight path, even one starting from the extreme outside corner of the lane, results in an angle of entry of at most 1.45°. Larger entry angles (shown in diagram) are achievable when hooking (curving) the ball. Larger entry angles have been shown to be generally more favorable for achieving strikes.[6][7]

Rubber balls (introduced in 1905) were eventually supplanted by polyester ("plastic") balls (1959) and polyurethane ("urethane") balls (1980s).[8] Coverstocks (surfaces) of bowling balls then evolved to increase the hook-enhancing friction between ball and lane: reactive resin balls arrived in the early 1990s, and particle-enhanced resin balls in the late 1990s.[8] Meanwhile, the increasingly sophisticated technology of internal cores (also called weight blocks) has increased balls' dynamic imbalance, which, in conjunction with the coverstocks' increased friction, enhances hook (curving) potential to achieve the higher entry angles that have enabled dramatic increases in strike percentage and game scores.[9]

Hook potential has increased so much that dry lane conditions or spare shooting scenarios sometimes compel use of plastic or urethane balls, to purposely avoid the larger hook provided by reactive technology.[8][10]

The USBC regulates ball parameters including maximum diameter (8.595 inches (21.83 cm)), maximum circumference (27 inches (0.69 m)), and maximum weight (16 pounds (7.26 kg)).[1]

Ball motion[edit]

Simplified representation of the skid, hook, and roll phases of bowling ball motion.[11] Technological advances since the early 1990s in ball design have allowed dramatically increased hook potential and strike frequency, without requiring additional skill on the part of bowlers.[9] (Horizontal scale is compressed.)

Because pin spacing is much larger than ball size, it is impossible for the ball to contact all pins. Therefore, a tactical shot is required, which would result in a chain reaction of pins hitting other pins (called pin scatter). In what is considered an ideal strike shot, the ball contacts only the 1, 3, 5 and 9 pins (right-handed deliveries).[6]

Most new players roll the ball straight, while more experienced bowlers may roll a hook that involves making the ball start out straight but then curve toward a target, to increase likelihood of striking: USBC research[6] has shown that shots most likely to strike enter the pocket at an angle of entry that is achievable only with a hook.[7]

A complex interaction of a variety of factors influences ball motion and its effect on scoring results.[12][13] Such factors may be categorized as:

  • The bowler's delivery (see Effect of delivery characteristics on ball motion) Characteristics of the ball's delivery that affect ball motion include the ball's speed going down the lane, its rotational speed (rev rate), the angle of the ball's axis of rotation in horizontal and vertical planes (axis rotation and axis tilt, respectively), and how far beyond the foul line that the ball first contacts the lane (loft).[14]
  • Bowling ball design (see Effect of coverstock, core and layout on ball motion). A 2005-2008 USBC Ball Motion Study found that the ball design factors that most contributed to ball motion were the microscopic spikes and pores on the ball's surface (present in balls with reactive resin coverstock), the respective coefficients of friction between ball and lane in the oiled and dry parts of the lane, and the ball's oil absorption rate, followed in dominance by certain characteristics of the ball's core (mainly radius of gyration and total differential).[9] Friction-related factors may be categorized as chemical friction (degree of "stickiness" designed by manufacturers into the resin coverstock) and physical friction (which can be modified by sanding or polishing, or by including additives that physically increase lubrication).[7][15][9] "Weak" (pin down) versus "strong" (pin up) layouts of the finger and thumb holes with respect to core orientation affect skid lengths and hook angularity.[16][17]
  • Lane conditions (see Effect of lane characteristics on ball motion). Lane conditions that affect ball motion include lane transition (including breakdown and carry-down),[2] the oil absorption characteristics of previously-thrown balls and the paths they followed,[2][18] wood versus synthetic composition of the lane (more generally: soft vs. hard lanes),[2] imperfections in lane surface (topography),[2] and oil viscosity (thick or thin consistency; innate viscosity being affected by temperature and humidity).[2]

Pins and pin carry[edit]

A bowling ball impacting the head pin at a point found to be optimum for striking (assuming a right-handed release).[6] Many believe—wrongly—that the ideal "pocket" is more "between" the 1 pin and 3 pin.[7] Entry angles of 0°, 2°, 4° and 6° are illustrated.

Bowling pins (with a maximum thickness of 4.766 inches (12 cm) at the waist) are "spotted" (placed) in four rows, forming an equilateral triangle with four pins on a side to form a tetractys.[1] Neighboring pins are centered 12 inches (30 cm) apart, leaving a space of 7.234 inches (18 cm) between pins that can be bridged by a bowling ball of regulation diameter (8.5 inches (22 cm)).[1]

Pin carry—essentially, the probability of achieving a strike assuming the ball impacts in or near the pocket—varies with several factors.[6] Even before a 2008 USBC pin carry study, it was known that entry angle and ball weight increase strike percentages.[6] The 2008 study added the conclusion that a "high pocket" impact (especially when the ball is centered at "board 17.5") provides maximum likelihood of striking.[6][7] The material of the pin deck and "kickback" (side) plates was also found to materially affect pin carry.[6]

Ball delivery[edit]

Delivery style categories[edit]

Three widely recognized categories are stroker, cranker and tweener.[19][20]

  • Strokers—using the most "classic" bowling form—tend to keep the shoulders square to the foul line and develop only a moderately high backswing, achieving modest ball rotation ("rev") rates and ball speeds, which thus limit hook potential and kinetic energy delivered to the pins.[19] Strokers rely on accuracy and repeatability, and benefit from the high entry angles that reactive resin balls enable.[19]
  • Crankers tend to open (rotate) the shoulders and use strong wrist and arm action in concert with a high backswing, achieving higher rev rates and ball speeds, thus maximizing hook potential and kinetic energy.[19] Crankers rely on speed and power, but may leave splits rarely left by strokers.[19]
  • Tweeners (derived from "in-between") have styles that fall between those of strokers and crankers, the term is considered by some to include power strokers.[19]

Alternative deliveries[edit]

Conventional delivery, just before the moment of release
Two-handed delivery: Both hands retain contact with the ball until just before the release.
Video: The two-handed delivery, first widely popularized by Jason Belmonte,[21] increases potential rev rate.
(shown: Zach Wilkins)
  • So-called two-handed bowling, first popularized late in the 2000s by Australian Jason Belmonte, involves not inserting the thumb into any thumbhole, with the opposite hand supporting and guiding the ball throughout almost the entire forward swing.[21] This delivery style, technically still involving a one-handed release, allows the inserted fingers to generate higher revolution rates and thus attain greater hook potential than with a thumb-in-hole approach.[22] In contrast, what is literally a two-handed delivery and release, children or physically challenged players use both hands to deliver the ball forward from between the legs or from the chest.[23]
  • No-thumb bowling involves only a single hand during the forward swing, without the thumb inserted.[24]
The "UFO" or "helicopter" release: the thumb faces the body, while the middle and ring fingers face the pins.
  • The spinner style, which is mainly popular in parts of Asia, has a "helicopter" or "UFO" release that involves rotating the wrist to impart a high (vertical) axis of rotation that causes the bowling ball to spin like a top while traveling straight down the lane.[20] Usually involving a lighter (10-12 pound) ball, the spinner style takes advantage of the ball deflection from the head pin to then "walk down" the other visible pins and cause domino effects diagonally through the pins.[20]
  • In the backup (or reverse hook) release, the wrist rotates clockwise (for right hand releases) or counter-clockwise (for left hand releases), causing the ball to hook in a direction opposite to that of conventional releases.[25]


A conventional grip, used on non-customized house balls and some custom-drilled balls, involves insertion of fingers to the second knuckle.[26] A fingertip grip, involving insertion of fingers only to the first knuckle, enables greater revolution rates and resultant hook potential.[26] A thumbless grip, often used by so-called "two-handed" bowlers, maximizes ball rotational speed ("rev rate").[26]


Traditional scoring[edit]

Traditional scoring of a strike:

Frame one: 10 + (3 + 6) = 19

Frame two: 3 + 6 = 9 → Total = 28
Traditional scoring of a spare:

Frame one: (7 + 3) + 4 = 14

Frame two: 4 + 2 = 6 → Total = 20
Though the second bowler's scratch score 183 is higher than the first bowler's scratch score 181, the first bowler's higher handicap (58 vs. 53) causes his total 239 to exceed the second bowler's total 236.

In traditional scoring,[27] one point is scored for each pin that is knocked over, and when less than all ten pins are knocked down in two rolls in a frame (an open frame), the frame is scored with the total number of pins knocked down. However, when all ten pins are knocked down with either the first or second rolls of a frame (a mark), bonus pins are awarded as follows.

  • Strike: When all ten pins are knocked down on the first roll (marked "X" on the scoresheet), the frame receives ten pins plus a bonus of pinfall on the next two rolls (not necessarily the next two frames). A strike in the tenth (final) frame receives two extra rolls for bonus pins.
  • Spare: When a second roll of a frame is needed to knock down all ten pins (marked "/" on the scoresheet), the frame receives ten pins plus a bonus of pinfall in the next roll (not necessarily the next frame). A spare in the first two rolls in the tenth (final) frame receives a third roll for bonus pins.

World Bowling scoring[edit]

The World Bowling scoring system—described as "current frame scoring"[28]—awards pins as follows:

  • strike: 30 (regardless of ensuing rolls' results)
  • spare: 10 plus pinfall on first roll of the current frame
  • open: total pinfall for current frame

The maximum score is 300, achieved with ten, not twelve, consecutive strikes but with no bonus pins received in the tenth frame.[29][30]

World Bowling scoring is thought to make bowling easier to follow than with traditional scoring,[29] increase television viewership,[28] and help bowling to become an Olympic sport.[28][30]

Variant of World Bowling scoring[edit]

Another variant of scoring, a 12-frame system introduced at the November 2014 World Bowling Tour (WBT) finals, resembles golf's match play scoring in counting the greater number of frames won rather than measuring accumulated pinfall score.[31] A frame may be won immediately by a higher pincount on the first roll of the frame, and a match may be won when one player is ahead by more frames than remain of the possible 12 frames.[31] This variant reduces match length and scoring complexity for two-player matches.[31]


For a more comprehensive history of other forms of bowling that pre-date ten-pin bowling, see Bowling § History.

Early history[edit]

An early (1820) newspaper ad features a "Ball and Ten Pin Alley" to attract customers to a "Baking and Confectionary Business".[32]
An 1829 newspaper editorial describes those who frequent bowling alleys and taverns: "the young, the frivolous, the headstrong, ... men of coarser passions and appetites, and fond of more riotous pleasures"[33]—reflecting the often negative image bowling had.[34]
An 1838 Indiana newspaper describes how ten-pin bowling alleys were constructed to evade a Baltimore statute prohibiting nine-pin bowling.[35]
An 1839 liquor license ordinance prohibited gambling in "any ball, nine or ten pin alley"—a inference of the association of bowling with gambling and other games having a "demoralizing tendency".[36]

Modern American ten-pin bowling derives mainly from the German Kegelspiel, or kegeling, which used nine pins set in a diamond formation.[34] Some sources refer to an 1841 Connecticut law that banned ninepin bowling because of its perceived association with gambling and crime, and people were said to circumvent the prohibition by adding a tenth pin;[37] other sources call this story a mere fable[34] while earlier sources (e.g., 1838, re Baltimore[35] and 1842, Charles Dickens re New York[38][39]) explicitly confirm the strategy. Even earlier, an 1834 Washington, D.C. ordinance had limited the time (before 8 p.m. and not on Sundays) and place (more than 100 yards from inhabited houses) of "nine pin and ten pins" or "any game in the likeness or imitation thereof ... played with any number of pins whatsoever".[40] In any event, newspapers referred to "ten pin alleys" at least as early as 1820[32] (also later in the 1820s[41] and in the 1830s[42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48]).

A painting thought to date from around 1810 shows British bowlers playing outdoors with a triangular formation of ten pins, which would predate the sport's asserted appearance in the United States.[49][better source needed] In any event, the enjoyment of kegeling by German peasants contrasted with the lawn bowling that was reserved for the upper classes, thus beginning bowling's enduring reputation as a common man's sport.[34]

In the mid 1800s, various alternatives to free-standing pins received U.S. patents to solve perceived problems in pinsetting and ball return, aiming to avoid the need for human pinsetters to perform these functions. One scheme (1851) involved pins with spherical bases that when hit by a ball merely fell over, in place, to be rotated back to a vertical position.[50] A second arrangement (1853) involved resetting the pins via cords descending from respective pin bottoms to weights beneath the pin deck.[51] Another design (1869) involved suspending the pins with overhead cords.[52]

Bowling alley at the Pleasant Beach Hotel, Bainbridge Island, Washington (c. 1898)
Pinsetter boys (Pittsburgh, c. 1908)

In 1884, the Brunswick Corporation became the first American bowling ball manufacturer, and by 1909[53] introduced the Mineralite (hard rubber) ball that was considered so revolutionary that it was displayed at the Century of Progress Exposition in 1934.[34] In 1886, Joe Thum—who would become known as the "father of bowling"—began opening bowling alleys and over decades strove to elevate the sport's image to compete with upper-class diversions such as theaters and opera houses.[34]

In 1875, delegates from New York City and Brooklyn bowling clubs formed the National Bowling Association (NBA) to standardize rules, but disagreements prevailed.[54] In 1887 Albert G. Spalding wrote Standard Rules for Bowling in the United States, and in the mid-1890s the United Bowling Clubs (UBC) was organized with 120 members.[34] The American Bowling Congress (ABC) was established in 1895, followed by the Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC) in the 1910s, such organizations promoting standardized rules and striving to improve the sport's image.[34]

From 1920 to 1929, the number of ABC-sanctioned alleys grew from 450 to about 2,000, with Prohibition leading to the growth of family-appropriate "dry" alleys.[34] The 1933 repeal of Prohibition allowed breweries to sponsor teams and bowlers, adding to bowling's reputation as a working class sport.[34] Though at the turn of the twentieth century most bowling alleys were small establishments, post-Prohibition bowling lanes shifted from side entertainment at fancy Victorian venues or seedier saloons to independent establishments that embraced the Art Deco style and fit the era's perceived "need for speed".[34]

1940s to early 1960s[edit]

Actual text from one of Gottfried Schmidt's patents, this one from an application filed in 1936 and describing how his "bowling pin setting apparatus" can pick up and replace pins even if they were off their proper spots.[55]

Gottfried Schmidt invented the first mechanical pinsetter in his garage in 1936, one implementation of which was publicly exhibited in 1946 before AMF placed a production model into service in 1952.[56]

The 1940s through the 1970s became known as the "golden age of bowling",[57] with ABC membership growing from 700,000 (1940), to 1.1 million (1947), to 2.3 million (1958), to 4.5 million (1963),[34][58] Women's International Bowling Congress membership growing from 82,000 (1940) to 866,000 (1958),[58] American Junior Bowling Congress membership growing from 8,000 (1940) to 175,000 (1958),[58] and sanctioned individual lanes growing from 44,500 (1947) to 159,000 (1963).[34]

Bowling's growth was fueled by deployment of automatic mechanical pinsetters by AMF (1952) and Brunswick (1955), television broadcasts (said to be "ubiquitous" in the 1950s), modernization and stylization of establishments with amenities to attract broader clientele, and formation of bowling leagues.[34] Though President Truman had installed a bowling alley in the White House in 1947,[34] a report of the American Society of Planning Officials in 1958 characterized bowling alleys as the "poor man's country club".[58]

ABC bylaws had included a "white-males-only" clause since its inception in the 1890s, but numerous lobbying efforts and legal actions after World War II by civil rights and labor organizations led to a reversal of this policy in 1950.[59]

Eddie Elias founded the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) in 1958 with 33 members.[56] The Pro Bowlers Tour TV program aired from 1962[60][61] through 1997.[62][61]

In the 1930s and 1940s, professional bowling was dominated by “beer leagues” with many of the best bowlers sponsored by beer companies, but by 1965 the PBA tour was televised nationally on ABC Sports with sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Ford.[57]

In parallel with professional bowling was "action bowling" or "pot bowling"—bowling matches based on monetary bets—historically associated with the New York underworld from the 1940s to the 1970s.[57]

Late 1960s to 1980[edit]

The Ronettes and New York disk jockey Murray the K using bowling as a promotional device in 1962, during the "golden age of bowling".[57]

The first tenpin lanes in Europe had been installed in Sweden in 1909, but attempts to popularize the sport in Europe were unsuccessful over the next several decades, though hundreds of lanes were installed on U.S. military bases in the U.K. during World War II.[63] Various countries developed the sport to some extent, and the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ; now World Bowling) was formed in 1952 to coordinate international amateur competition.[63]

A firmer establishment of the sport began in the U.K. in 1960 in London (Stamford Hill) in January 1960,[64] and the British Tenpin Bowling Association was formed the following year.[63] Various other countries, including Australia, Mexico and Japan, adopted the trend over the ensuing decade.[63] After initial faddish growth in the U.K., however, the sport did not thrive as it did in the U.S., and by the 1970s many British bowling alleys were converted to serve competing pastimes, such as bingo.[65]

The "Lane Master" automatic lane cleaning and conditioning machine was first deployed in the 1960s.[60]

In the 1960s and 1970s, top bowling professionals made twice as much money as NFL football stars, received million-dollar contracts, and were treated as international celebrities.[57] The $100,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions launched in 1965, in a decade that saw ABC membership peak at almost 4.6 million male bowlers.[60] The number of sanctioned bowling alleys peaked at about 12,000 in the mid-1960s,[58] mostly in blue-collar urban areas,[66] and Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) membership peaked at 4.2 million members in 1979.[67]

In the late 1960s, the participation sport of bowling found itself competing with spectator sports and outdoor recreational activities.[34] The number of certified bowling centers was to eventually decline from its 1960s high of 12,000[58] to 6,542 in 1998[66] and 3,976 in 2013.[58] The decline was noted acutely in waning league participation over the intervening decades.[58][68]

1980 to 2000[edit]

A bowling alley in Berlin (1981) with early electronic displays

Tournament prize funds in the 1980s included the PBA National Championship ($135,000, its largest) and the Firestone Tournament of Champions ($150,000), and PBA membership approached 2,500.[69] Ten-pin bowling became an exhibition sport at the 1988 Summer Olympics (Seoul),[69] was a medal sport at the 1991 Pan American Games (Havana),[62] and was included in the 1998 Commonwealth Games (Kuala Lumpur).[70]

Outside elite and professional bowling, participation in leagues—traditionally the more profitable end of the business—declined from a 1980 peak (8 million), compelling alleys to further diversify into entertainment amenities.[58] While league bowling decreased by 40 percent between 1980 and 1993, the total number of bowlers actually increased by 10 percent during that period, with nearly 80 million Americans going bowling at least once during 1993.[68] In 1995, the National Bowling Stadium (Reno, Nevada) was constructed at a cost of $47.5 million, but the PBA Pro Bowlers Tour TV program was canceled in 1997 after a 35-year run.[71]

In 1991, equipment manufacturer DBA Products released "The Lane Walker"—the first computer-driven lane cleaning and oiling machine, programmable to clean up to 50 lanes.[62]

The early 1990s brought development of reactive resin ("reactive") balls with chemically "tacky" surfaces that enhance traction to dramatically enhance hook and substantially increase the likelihood of striking, raising average scores even for less experienced bowlers.[8]

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) reported 1997 bowling product sales of $215 million, the SGMA president attributed an increase in popularity to bowling alley remodeling, technological innovations in balls and lanes, computerized scoring, and promotion by bowling organizations.[72]

2000 to present[edit]

Example of a modern bowling alley (2010).

From 1998 to 2013, the number of American bowling centers fell by one quarter.[58] Similarly, in the two decades following 1997, the number of USBC-certified lanes—also indicative of business viability—declined by one-third.[73] This business decline is often attributed to waning league participation: USBC membership—indicative of league participation that was the main source of revenue—declined by two-thirds in those two decades,[73] and the portion of alley revenue attributable to leagues is estimated to have dropped from 70% to 40%.[58][74] Political scientist Robert D. Putnam's book Bowling Alone (2000) asserts, with some controversy, that the retreat from league bowling epitomizes a broader societal decline in social, civic and community engagement in the U.S.[58]

As an indication of the decline, AMF Bowling, the largest operator of bowling centers in the world, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001, and again in 2012.[75] By 2013, AMF Bowling had merged with New York-based Bowlmor, the company becoming known as Bowlmor AMF.[76]

In 2000, three former tech industry executives bought a debt-laden PBA—which saw its 36-year television contract with ABC Sports end in 1997—and turned it from a non-profit league into a for-profit organization, and invested heavily in marketing.[77] The January 2005 merger of four U.S. bowling organizations to form the USBC formed a "central brand" aiming to grow the sport.[78] Beginning late in the decade of the 2000s, the two-handed approach became popularized, first by Australian Jason Belmonte,[21] with some hoping that the controversial delivery style would boost popularity of the sport.[21] In January 2013, the eight-team PBA League began competition,[79] the strategy being that basing teams in specific geographic localities would generate viewer enthusiasm and corporate sponsorship in the same manner as teams in other professional sports.[80] Still, continuing the reversal of bowling's peak popularity in the 1960s, in the 2012-2013 season the average yearly winnings of the ten highest-earning PBA competitors was less than US$155,000, and the average for the remaining 250 competitors was $6,500—all much less than a rookie NFL football player’s minimum base salary of $375,000.[57]

To attract a broader range of patrons, many bowling centers offer "cosmic bowling" (shown) and host other special events.

Estimates of the number of total (league and non-league) bowlers in the U.S. have varied, from 82 million (1997, International Bowling Museum)[71] to 51.6 million (2007, research firm White Hutchinson)[74] to 71 million (2009, USBC),[81] the USBC stating in 2019 that bowling is still the #1 participation sport in the U.S.[82] More broadly, the International Bowling Museum stated in 2016 that bowling is played by 95 million people in more than 90 countries.[83] In an era of continual decline in league participation,[73][71] bowling centers promoted "party bowling"[57] and black-light-and-disco-ball "cosmic bowling"[71] and experienced a shift from blue-collar participants to open-play (non-league) family-oriented clientele in combined bowling and entertainment centers.[74]

In contrast to the U.S., the 2000s and 2010s brought a bowling renaissance in the U.K., achieved by accommodating sophisticated modern tastes by providing (for example) retro style bowling alleys outfitted with 1950s Americana, "boutique bowling", "VIP lanes", and cameras for instant replays, and by rejuvenating bowling "alleys" into diverse-entertainment bowling "centres".[84][85] The population of ten-pin bowling centres grew from a low of barely 50 (in the 1980s) to over 200 (2006),[84] with almost a third of Britons going bowling in 2016 and league participation growing over 20% over two years (2015-2017).[85]

Though ten-pin bowling was a demonstration sport in the 1988 Summer Olympics (Seoul)[69] and has been included in the Pan American Games since 1991,[86] after making the short list for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Olympics (Tokyo), it was cut.[87] One commentator noted that the sport's limited geographic popularity (the U.S., Australia and a few European and South American countries), and aging demographic of those who follow the sport, make it difficult to convince an Olympic Committee that wants to appeal to youth.[87]

Bowling organizations[edit]


World Bowling (WB) was formed in 2014 from component organizations of the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ, International Federation of Bowlers), which in 1952 developed from the International Bowling Association (IBA) which began operations in 1926.[88] Since 1979 the International Olympic Committee has recognized the FIQ, and later, WB, as the sport's world governing body.[88] WB establishes rules for the uniform practice of bowling throughout the world, and promotes bowling as an Olympic sport.[88] The World Tenpin Bowling Association "membership discipline" (component organization) of WB serves the amateur sport of tenpin bowling worldwide, adopting uniform playing rules and equipment specifications.[89]

United Kingdom[edit]

The British Tenpin Bowling Association (BTBA, formed in 1961) is the official governing body of tenpin bowling in the country, is recognized by World Bowling as the official sanctioning body in England, and as such "is responsible for the protection, integrity and development of the sport".[90] Its stated vision is "to ensure that all people, irrespective of their age, disability, ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation or social status have a genuine and equal opportunity to participate in the sport at all levels and in all roles".[90]

The National Association of Youth Bowling Clubs (NAYBC) is a BTBA subcommittee serving youth bowlers and youth bowling clubs.[91]

The British Universities Tenpin Bowling Association (BUTBA, formed in 2008) organizes bowling events for present and former university and college students.[92]

The Tenpin Bowling Proprietors Association (TBPA, formed in 1961 as an umbrella organization) is a trade association for the British ten-pin bowling industry.[93]

United States[edit]

Poster for the first national bowling competition sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress. Highest per-game average scores: individual competition (216), doubles (200), five-man teams (181).[94] A protest was filed against the highest-scoring doubles team, alleging use of a ball that was a quarter-inch larger in circumference than permitted.[95]

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) was formed as the governing body for the U.S. on January 1, 2005, by the merger of:[96]

  • the American Bowling Congress (ABC, an originally male-only organization founded in 1895),
  • the Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC, 1916),
  • the Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA, 1982), which itself was formed from combining the American Junior Bowling Congress (AJBC, 1946), Youth Bowling Association (YBA, 1963–64), and ABC/WIBC Collegiate division (mid-1970s),[97] and
  • (Team) USA Bowling (1989).[96]

As the national governing body for bowling, its stated mission is to provide services, resources and the standards for the sport,[78] its stated goals including growing the sport and promoting values of "credibility, dedication, excellence, heritage, inclusiveness, integrity, philanthropy and sportsmanship".[96]


The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame is located on the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas, U.S.[98]

Notable tournaments[edit]

Conceptual diagram of a large bowling tournament. Entrants not eliminated in qualifying rounds go on to compete in match play, which determines seeding (initial ranking) for the final matches.[99]

World Bowling oversees quadrennial World Championship tournaments, and international championships for various sectors, including for women, seniors, youth and junior bowlers.[100]

The QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup (begun in 1965) is recognized as bowling's largest event in terms of number of countries competing, according to the USBC in 2018.[101]

The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour includes dozens of events annually, mainly at U.S. locations.[102] The PBA Tour includes "major" championship events: the U.S. Open, the USBC Masters, the PBA Tournament of Champions the PBA World Championship, and the PBA Players Championship.[103]

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has various tournaments for the PBA tour, PWBA, youth and seniors, including the USBC Masters and U.S. Open (both major tournaments on the PBA tour), and USBC Queens and U.S. Women's Open (both major tournaments on the PWBA tour), plus the USBC Team USA Trials/U.S. National Amateur Bowling Championships.[104] Additionally, the USBC has regional tournaments[105] and certifies local tournaments.[106]

The European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF) owns the European Bowling Tour (organized in 2000),[107] including its final tournament, the European Bowling Tour Masters (first edition: 2008).[108]

The Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Federation (CTBF), made up of World Bowling member federations within the Commonwealth of Nations, owns the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships, which has held tournaments at irregular intervals since 2002.[109]

The Weber Cup is an annual, three-day USA vs. Europe tournament, named after Dick Weber,[110] that began in 2000 and has been held almost exclusively in the U.K.[111]

In the decade of the 2000s, the World Ranking Masters, owned by World Bowling, ranked standings in the Pan American Bowling Confederation (PABCON), Asian Bowling Federation (ABF), and European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF).[112]

Though ten-pin bowling has not progressed beyond a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games,[69][87] international games modeled after the Olympics (awarding medals) do include the sport, including the Asian Games (governed by the Olympic Council of Asia, OCA)[113] and the Pan American Games (governed by the Pan American Sports Organization, PASO).[114] The Maccabiah Games (governed by the Israeli Bowling Federation, IBF, with events played according to WTBA-ETBF rules) host ten-pin tournaments as medal events.[115]


USBC membership has declined, indicating waning league participation in the U.S.[73]
Same data, normalized to 1997 values to show relative change in lanes, centers and membership.[73]
The average number of lanes per bowling center has trended upward slightly during this time period.[73]
In about 2015, U.S. bowling center employment reversed a long decline,[116] which some attribute to their diversification into more broad-based entertainment centers.[117]

Bowling leagues vary in format, including demographic specialization (male, female, mixed, senior, youth), number of bowlers per team (usually 3-5), number of games per series (usually 3), day and time of scheduled sessions, starting dates and duration of league seasons, scoring (scratch versus handicap), and systems for bestowing awards and prizes.[118] Usually, each team is scheduled to oppose each of the other teams over the course of a season.[119] Position rounds—in which the first place team opposes the second place team, third place opposes fourth place, and so on—are often inserted into the season schedule.[120]

Customarily, team position standings are computed after each series, awarding a first number of points for each game won and a second number of points for achieving the higher team score for that series, the particular numbers being specified in each league's rules.[121][122] Further, in leagues having "match point" scoring, individual bowlers on one team are matched against respective members of the opposing team, the winners receiving points that supplement their team's game and series points.[122]

The number of league bowlers in the U.S. peaked at 8 million in 1980,[69] declining to approximately 1.3 million in 2018.[73]

Notable professional achievements[edit]

Titles and scores[edit]

Earnings and contracts[edit]



  • Oldest to win a standard PBA Tour title: John Handegard (1995, at age 57 years, 139 days)[132]
  • Oldest to win a PBA Tour major tournament: Pete Weber (2013 Barbasol Tournament of Champions at age 50 years, 222 days)[61]

Perfect (300) game history[edit]

A USBC "300 game" gold ring

Ernest Fosberg (East Rockford, Ill.) bowled the first recognized 300 in 1902, before awards were given out.[133] In 1908, A.C. Jellison and Homer Sanders (both of St. Louis) each bowled 300 games in the same season, the ABC awarding the gold medal for the highest score of the year to Jellison after a three-game tie-breaker match, without regard to the chronological order of their accomplishments.[133]

On January 7, 2006, Elliot John Crosby became the youngest British bowler to bowl a BTBA-sanctioned 300 game at the age of 12 years, 2 months and 10 days, breaking the 1994 record of Rhys Parfitt (age 13 years, 4 months).[134]

On November 17, 2013, Hannah Diem (Seminole, Florida) became the youngest American bowler to bowl a USBC-certified 300 game at the age of 9 years, 6 months and 19 days, breaking the 2006 record of Chaz Dennis (age 10) and the 2006 female record of Brandie Reamy (age 12).[135]

Jeremy Sonnenfeld (Sioux Falls, S.D.) rolled the first certified 900 series in 1997.[136] A well-publicized court-contested 900 series by Glenn Allison in 1982 was denied certification due to non-conforming lane conditions.[137]

"Score inflation" controversy[edit]

The 905 perfect games that were rolled during the 1968-69 season increased 38-fold to 34,470 in the 1998-99 season.[57] Likewise, the number of perfect-game league bowlers increased from about one of 3150 (1900—1980) to about one of 27 (2007), a greater-than-hundredfold increase that many thought threatened to jeopardize the integrity of the sport.[9] Specifically, the USBC Technical Director wrote that the "USBC is concerned that technology has overtaken player skill in determining success in the sport of bowling," announcing in 2007 the completion of a ball motion study undertaken "to strike a better balance between player skill and technology".[138]

Automatic lane oiling machines can be programmed to lay down oil patterns of different levels of difficulty.

Separately, a USBC pin carry study completed in about 2008 found that dramatically increased entry angles improve pin carry[6] to result in higher scores—regardless of whether the bowlers supplied additional effort or improved their skill.[9] Among the factors allowing higher scores were technological advances in coverstock and core design[9] combined with improved lane surfaces and accommodative oil patterns.[139]

Specifically, the reactive resin balls and particle balls that came out in the 1990s increased frictional engagement with the lane to provide greater hook potential that made high entry angles easier to achieve.[10] Moreover, changes in lane surface technology, as well as the introduction of voids into pins to make them lighter and more top-heavy, helped to raise average scores as early as the 1970s.[140] Expanded choices in oil viscosity and electronically controlled lane oiling machines permitted alley owners to customize house oil patterns to optimize the advantages of the new ball technologies.[140] Technological progress allowed some 1990s league scores to surpass those of professionals in the 1950s.[140]

Responding to such concerns, the USBC initiated "sport bowling" leagues and tournaments that provide "sport", "challenge" and "PBA Experience" oil patterns that are more challenging than the accommodative patterns of typical house shots.[140] Still, the USBC has encountered enduring issues concerning how to maintain "average integrity" (fair handicapping) across leagues using oil patterns of differing difficulty.[141]

As a result of various USBC studies, including a bowling technology study[142] published in February 2018, the USBC Equipment and Specifications Committee established new specifications focusing mainly on balls.[143] The overall result of the new specifications was said to slightly limit hook potential, more specifically eliminating balance holes and setting a new specification for oil absorption.[143] The USBC stated that the new specifications will slow oil pattern transition, cause bowlers to move less, and keep the same scoring pace with lower oil volume.[143]

Ten-pin bowling in media[edit]

Coverage of events[edit]

For specific series on television, see Bowling television series

Beginning in 1962, ABC's Pro Bowlers Tour was broadcast on Saturday afternoons[62][144] to be viewed by millions, and—with various entertainment-oriented programs including Make That Spare, Celebrity Bowling and Bowling for Dollars—confirmed the sport's popularity.[56] However, television ratings fell substantially,[71] from 9.1 in the mid-1970s to 2.0 in 1997,[145] the year in which Pro Bowlers Tour was canceled.[62][145]

The decline in bowling event coverage has been attributed to a variety of factors, including time demands burdening the schedules of two-income households,[71] small purses (winnings) for professional tournaments, declining participation in league bowling, the perceived demographic of bowlers (old, or of low social class), waning popularity with the public, lack of corporate sponsorship, lack of an inspiring bowling star (2004),[146] and an aging audience for TV bowling.[145] A 2006 PBA article describing the PBA bowlers in the documentary A League of Ordinary Gentlemen called the professional athletes "the Rodney Dangerfields of professional sports".[147]

The decline in coverage has also been attributed to the perception that bowling is less an athletic sport (not being in the Olympic Games) than a recreational pastime (such as for children's birthday parties).[148] This perception is reinforced by the easy lane conditions provided to bowling leagues that enable league bowlers to achieve scores rivaling those of professionals who must bowl under more challenging lane conditions.[148]

Said to be "near bankruptcy" in 2000,[149] the PBA changed ownership[144] to one that emphasized marketing.[77] ESPN featured bowling from 2000 to 2018 on Sunday afternoons, with CBS Sports Network also airing a smaller number of bowling tournaments.[144]

In 2019, the PBA entered an agreement, expected to last four years, in which Fox Sports would sell advertising and sponsorships for the sport to establish the sport's presence on broadcast television, also providing cable, streaming, and social media programming.[144]

Portrayal on television[edit]

Particular television broadcasts include:

In print[edit]

In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Professor Albus Dumbledore is a fan of ten-pin bowling.[152]

Non-fiction films[edit]

Strikes and Spares (1934) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Novelty Short.[153]

Pin Gods (1996) presents the early challenges of three young bowlers breaking into professional bowling.[154]

The PBS Independent Lens documentary A League of Ordinary Gentlemen (2006) chronicles the stories of four PBA Tour bowlers at different stages of their careers.[147][149]

Fiction films[edit]

For specific films, see Ten-pin bowling films

In the animated short cartoon The Bowling Alley-Cat (1942), cat and mouse Tom and Jerry do battle inside a bowling center.[155]

In Dreamer (1979), Tim Matheson plays a man aspiring to be a professional bowler who faces a challenger played by Dick Weber.[156]

In Greedy (1994), Michael J. Fox plays an "honest but luckless pro bowler with a bad wrist and a good woman."[157]

The Farrelly brothers' comedy Kingpin (1996) is a bowling comedy about which Randy Quaid said in an interview, "If we can't laugh at bowling, what can we laugh at?"[62]

In the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski (1998), "the Dude" (Jeff Bridges), a "slacker's slacker," hangs out with his buddies at a bowling alley,[158] in which John Goodman pulls a gun out to threaten a competitor who stepped over the foul line.[62]

In the Disney Channel's Alley Cats Strike (2000), high school students engage in a bowling rivalry.[159]


See also Bowling video games.
The inventor of this 1870 patent claims to have "invented a new and useful adaptation of the old and favorite Game of Ten-Pins ... rendered available for parlor or indoor use".[160]

What is believed to be the first bowling video game was released in the 1977, a built-in provided with the RCA Studio II console.[161] A pseudo-3D game was released in 1982 for the Emerson Arcadia 2001 console, and a multi-player game was released by SNK in 1991, almost a decade before convincing 3D graphics arrived.[161] The Wii Sports game pack, released in 2006, includes a bowling game for the 3D-motion-controlled console, and mobile-device bowling games have since become increasingly popular.[161] Several organizations—including the PBA and entertainment franchises such as Animaniacs, The Simpsons, Monsters, Inc., and The Flintstones—have granted licenses to use their names for video games.[161]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g United State Bowling Congress (USBC) (February 2012). "USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Manual" (PDF). bowl.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Freeman & Hatfield 2018, Chapter 14 ("Applying Your Tools").
  3. ^ Freeman & Hatfield 2018, Chapter 11 ("I was robbed!").
  4. ^ a b c d e Freeman & Hatfield 2018, Chapter 15 ("Lane play").
  5. ^ a b Carruba, Rich (2012). "Bowling Lane Oil Facts". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). Archived from the original on November 15, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Benner, Mours & Ridenour 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e Freeman & Hatfield 2018, Chapter 8 ("Why Does My Ball Hook?").
  8. ^ a b c d Carrubba, Rich (June 2012). "Bowling Ball Evolution". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). Archived from the original on September 17, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Stremmel, Ridenour & Stervenz 2008.
  10. ^ a b Siefers, Nick (USBC research engineer) (April 23, 2007). "Understanding the relationship between core and cover stock". BowlingDigital.com (Courtesy of USBC Equipment Specification and Certification). Archived from the original on September 20, 2018.
  11. ^ "Bowling Ball Reaction Keys". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). July 28, 2016. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016.
  12. ^ "Your Bowling Ball Motion". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). December 29, 2016. Archived from the original on February 9, 2017.
  13. ^ "Variables You Encounter When Bowling". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). April 18, 2016. Archived from the original on October 12, 2016.
  14. ^ Freeman & Hatfield 2018, Chapter 13 ("Create a Bowler's Tool Kit").
  15. ^ Freeman & Hatfield 2018, Chapter 9 ("Track Flare, or Much Ado About Nothing?").
  16. ^ "How Should My Bowling Ball Be Drilled?". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). January 2015. Archived from the original on July 11, 2015.
  17. ^ Hickland, Ronald (April 11, 2017). "What is the difference between Pin up and Pin down Drilling on a Bowling Ball?". CTDbowling.com (news section).
  18. ^ Freeman & Hatfield 2018, Chapter 16 ("Advanced Considerations").
  19. ^ a b c d e f Wallace, Rich (January 6, 2011). "Understanding Bowling Styles". kingpin-bowling.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2013.
  20. ^ a b c "The Game » Styles". TenPinBowling.org. 2004. Archived from the original on June 14, 2007.
  21. ^ a b c d Thompson, Adam (February 5, 2009). "Young Australian Puts a New Spin on Bowling: He Throws Two-Handed". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on March 31, 2015.
  22. ^ Freeman & Hatfield 2018, Chapter 5 ("You Say You Want a Revolution").
  23. ^ Thompson, Ted (March 20, 2010). "Two-handed delivery". Kegel.net. Kegel, LLC. Archived from the original on January 21, 2019.
  24. ^ Seymour, Dustin (2011). "2-Handed Bowling: Is It A Fad Or The Future?". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). Archived from the original on July 31, 2011.
  25. ^ Mullen, Michelle (September 9, 2018). "Determining Stance Distance & Position". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity education section). Archived from the original on February 1, 2019. Excerpt from Bowling Fundamentals - Second Edition.
  26. ^ a b c Vernoy, Lee (December 3, 2017). "Looking for a bowling ball? Here's the guy to see". Great Falls Tribune. Archived from the original on January 31, 2019.
  27. ^ "Chapter 2: General Playing Rules / Rule 2 – The Game" (PDF). United States Bowling Congress (USBC). 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 20, 2019.
  28. ^ a b c Mackay, Duncan (February 20, 2016). "New scoring system introduced for World Bowling Tour finals to try to help sport's Olympic ambitions". InsideTheGames.biz. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016.
  29. ^ a b "Weber to go to World Scoring". Weber Cup. July 29, 2016. Archived from the original on September 13, 2016.
  30. ^ a b Mackay, Duncan (February 21, 2016). "World Bowling Tour final winner backs new scoring system if it helps Olympic campaign". InsideTheGames.biz. Archived from the original on September 13, 2016.
  31. ^ a b c "New Scoring System for Competitive Bowling to be Unveiled During World Bowling Tour Finals at WSOB VI". World Bowling. October 2014. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014.
  32. ^ a b "H. G. Kirk ... Banking and Confectionary Business (advertisement)". Indiana Centinel & Public Advertiser. Vincennes, Indiana, U.S. June 10, 1820. p. 3. (Click for image) The owner "has erected, for the amusement of those who favor him with their custom, a Ball and Ten Pin Alley".
  33. ^ "Religious / From the Christian Examiner / Address of the National Society for Promoting the Observance of the Sabbath". Georgia Journal. Milledgeville, Georgia, U.S. June 22, 1829. p. 6.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Woloson, Wendy (2002). "Bowling". St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Gale Group. Archived from the original on December 14, 2004. Retrieved March 31, 2006.
  35. ^ a b "Evasions of Law". Logansport Telegraph. Logansport, Indiana, U.S. March 10, 1838. p. 1.
  36. ^ "An Ordinance to License Taverns, Groceries, Coffee-Houses, Exchanges &c;". Logansport Telegraph. Logansport, Indiana, U.S. June 29, 1839. p. 3. Be aware: website URL as of 2019-06-11 incorrectly includes reference to "jun-29-1829" (incorrect year), but this error may be corrected after upload date, rendering link obsolete.
  37. ^ Shepherd, Jeremy (March 30, 2018). "Final frame looms for longstanding North Van bowling alley". North Shore News. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018.
  38. ^ Nazaryan, Alexander (February 7, 2012). "Charles Dickens at 200: When the great chronicler of London visited New York". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on June 17, 2019. Quoting Dickens' American Notes for General Circulation. See also, footnote re The new York Herald of November 8, 1842.
  39. ^ Dickens, Charles (November 8, 1842). "American Notes for General Circulation / Additional Extracts / New York". The New York Herald. p. 1. ... ten pins being a game of mingled chance and skill, invented when the legislature passed an act forbidding nine pins. Dickens did not specify which legislature.
  40. ^ "AN ACT to restrict the playing at the game of Nine Pins". Daily National Intelligencer. Washington, D.C., U.S. August 7, 1834. p. 3. (Click for image)
  41. ^ "Miscellaneous / From the Western Spy". The Maryland Republican and Political and Agricultural Museum. Annapolis, Maryland, U.S. May 26, 1821. p. 4. (Click for image) Reference to "... keeper of the ten-pin alley".
  42. ^ "White House Retreat (advertisement)". Daily National Intelligencer. Washington, D.C., U.S. April 2, 1830. p. 4. (Click for image)
    ● A slightly earlier, though less clearly legible, version of the same ad ran the previous month: "White House Retreat (advertisement)". Daily National Intelligencer. Washington, D.C., U.S. March 24, 1830. p. 3.
    ● Advertises a property having "a first rate ten pin alley".
  43. ^ "York Sulphur Springs". Daily National Intelligencer. Washington, D.C., U.S. June 21, 1831. p. 3. (Click for image) Advertises a property with a "commodious and well-adjusted ten-pin alley".
  44. ^ "For Rent". The Globe. Washington, D.C., U.S. June 28, 1832. p. 3. (Click for image) Offering for rent, a "Public House" with "a good Ten Pin Alley attached".
  45. ^ "The Philadelphia Chronicle publishes the following pleasant notice:". The Boston Morning Post. Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. May 18, 1833. p. 2. (Click for image) Reference to a "ten pin alley" in an inn in the Philadelphia area.
  46. ^ "Sheriff's Sale". Daily Savannah Republican. Savannah, Georgia, U.S. May 3, 1834. p. 5. (Click for image) Sheriff's sale of "Ten Pin Alley and Balls".
  47. ^ "Valuable Real Estate for Sale". Daily National Intelligencer. Washington, D.C., U.S. September 24, 1836. p. 3.(Click for image) Sale of "Coffee House" having "Ten Pin Alley".
  48. ^ "The Globe Hotel - By Geo. Kensett". The Globe. Washington, D.C., U.S. March 18, 1837. p. 3. (Click for image) Ad for hotel four blocks from White House touts "Billiard Room and Ten Pin Alley attached to the premises".
  49. ^ Pluckhahn, Bruce (December 1988). "Bowling Games People Play". Bowler's Journal. Page 121.
  50. ^ U.S. Patent 8,027, Sloan, Thomas J., "Game Board (Apparatus For Setting Up Ten-Pins)", issued April 8, 1851 
  51. ^ U.S. Patent 9,916, Eichell, George W., "Game Board (Setting Up Ten-Pins And Returning Balls)", issued August 9, 1853 
  52. ^ U.S. Patent 92,467, Pierce/Peirce, Amos T., "Bowling Alley (Improvement in Bowling-Alleys)", issued July 13, 1869 
  53. ^ "Bowling / Brunswick Bowling Alleys". Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. Indiana. October 15, 1909. p. 10. New Mineralite and Wooden Balls (advertisement). Other sources are apparently wrong in citing 1914.
  54. ^ "History of bowling". bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress). Archived from the original on October 30, 2016.
  55. ^ Schmidt, Gottfried J. (July 23, 1940). "Bowling Pin Setting Apparatus" (PDF). patentimages.storage.googleapis.com. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 28, 2019.
  56. ^ a b c "The Game >> History". TenpinBowling.org. 2004. Archived from the original on April 15, 2006. Retrieved March 31, 2006.
  57. ^ a b c d e f g h i Crockett, Zachary (March 21, 2014). "The Rise and Fall of Professional Bowling". Priceonomics. Archived from the original on March 16, 2018.
  58. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Witsil, Frank (May 9, 2015). "Is bowling in its final frames — or on a roll?". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on January 26, 2019.
  59. ^ Rigali, James. H.; Walter, John C. (July 2005). "Afro-Americans in New York Life and History: The integration of the American Bowling Congress: the Buffalo experience". Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006. Retrieved March 31, 2006.
  60. ^ a b c d "Bowling through the Decades: the 1960s". PBS.org (Independent Lens). 2007. Archived from the original on October 20, 2017.
  61. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Resources / PBA History". PBA.com. Professional Bowlers Association. Archived from the original on March 28, 2019.
  62. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bowling Through The Decades: The 1990s". PBS.org (Independent Lens). 2007. Archived from the original on March 9, 2007.
  63. ^ a b c d Pluckhahn, J. Bruce. "Bowling". Britannica.com (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Archived from the original on September 19, 2018.
  64. ^ "Bowling History 101: The First British Bowling Alley". Tenpin.co.uk. 2014. Archived from the original on November 8, 2016.
  65. ^ Ruddy, Austin J (August 1, 2017). "Bowled over by Leicester's Top Rank entertainment: The classic era of Leicester's nightlife, 1960-1980". Leicestershire Live. Archived from the original on January 17, 2019.
  66. ^ a b Buzzle Staff (July 22, 2017). "Bowling Was The Sport of Kings Back Then and Now of Working Men". buzzle.com (link to SportsAspire.com). Archived from the original on January 29, 2019.
  67. ^ a b c "Bowling Through The Decades: The 1970s". PBS.org (Independent Lens). 2007. Archived from the original on March 9, 2007.
  68. ^ a b Putnam, Robert D. (2000). Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 223–234. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-62397-6_12. ISBN 978-1-349-62399-0. Expanded from an article in Journal of Democracy, January 1995, pp. 65-78.
  69. ^ a b c d e f "Bowling Through The Decades: The 1980s". PBS.org (Independent Lens). 2007. Archived from the original on March 9, 2007.
  70. ^ "1998 - Kuala Lumpur". InsideTheGames.biz. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017.
  71. ^ a b c d e f Ahrens, Frank (June 21, 1997). "It's the End of the Lane for ABC's Bowling Broadcast". The Washington Post.
  72. ^ Krakowka, Lisa (July 1998). "American Demographics: Bowling throws a strike". Media Central, Inc. Archived from the original on September 26, 2004. Retrieved April 2, 2006. The SGMA is now (2019) The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA).
  73. ^ a b c d e f g Data: Wayback Machine archives of USBC's bowl.com website. Links provided on Wikimedia's image page (2019-04-03 archive thereof)
  74. ^ a b c "What's happening to bowling?". White Hutchinson. 2007. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009.
  75. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (November 13, 2012). "AMF Bowling files for bankruptcy again". Reuters. Archived from the original on May 29, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  76. ^ Dorbian, Iris (July 1, 2013). "AMF Bowling Worldwide and Bowlmor Complete Merger". pehub.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  77. ^ a b CNNfn (March 22, 2000). "High-tech execs spare PBA". CNN. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019.
  78. ^ a b "About USBC". Bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress). Archived from the original on October 1, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  79. ^ "The League". Professional Bowlers Association. January 2013. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013.
  80. ^ Cimino, Peter (January 23, 2013). "PBA League Is Must-See TV: PDW, Duke, Barnes, Belmonte and Others Tell You Why". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on April 12, 2019.
  81. ^ "Press Room / Bowlers". United States Bowling Congress (USBC). 2010. Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Link is to a January 2011 archive of USBC website describing 2009 numbers.
  82. ^ "Bowlers". bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress "Press Room"). January 2019. Archived from the original on January 29, 2019.
  83. ^ "History of Bowling". BowlingMuseum.com (International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame). 2016. Archived from the original on June 8, 2016.
  84. ^ a b Maley, Jacqueline (March 19, 2006). "Tenpin bowling is reborn as the new cool". The Guardian. Archived from the original on January 30, 2019.
  85. ^ a b Walker, Rob (July 22, 2017). "Tenpin alleys boom as Britain is bowled over by retro vibes of 1950s America". The Guardian. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  86. ^ Young, Leslie (April 1, 2015). "10 Pan Am Games sports you won't see at the Olympics". Global News. Canada. Archived from the original on September 15, 2018.
  87. ^ a b c Dougherty, Pete (December 3, 2018). "To grow, bowling needs Olympics". Times Union (Albany, NY). Archived from the original on December 4, 2018.
  88. ^ a b c "World Bowling / About". WorldBowling.org. 2019. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019.
  89. ^ "WTBA Rules / 2015-06-01 / Introduction / Background" (PDF). WorldBowling.org. June 1, 2015. p. 7. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 18, 2019.
  90. ^ a b "About". btba.org.uk. British Tenpin Bowling Association. Archived from the original on March 14, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  91. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions / + What is the NAYBC?". naybc.btba.org.uk. National Association of Youth Bowling Clubs. Archived from the original on March 17, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  92. ^ "Home / Coming Events". butba.co.uk/. British University Tenpin Bowling Association. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. The 2014 archive shows more explanatory detail.
  93. ^ "What is the TBPA?". gotenpin.co.uk. 2019. Archived from the original on September 19, 2017.
  94. ^ "Bowlers' Tourney in Chicago / New York Teams First and Second in Two-Men Contest". The New York Times. January 12, 1901. p. 9. — F. Brill (Chicago) scored highest in the individual competition (averaging 216/game); Voorhees and Starr (New York) scored highest in doubles (averaging 200/game), and the Standard Bowling Club of Chicago scored highest among five-man teams (averaging 181/game).
  95. ^ "Protest New York Bowlers / Chicagoan Objects to Awarding Championship to Starr and Voorhies". The New York Times. January 12, 1901. p. 9.
  96. ^ a b c "USBC, ABC, WIBC and Team USA Bowling". Bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress). Archived from the original on March 11, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  97. ^ "Home / Youth / About Us / History". United States Bowling Congress. Archived from the original on June 7, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  98. ^ "About / Overview". BowlingMuseum.com (International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame). Archived from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  99. ^ "Level 4 § 3. How do these tournaments work?". BowlingSeriously.com. 2015. Archived from the original on July 15, 2017. Publication date is estimated based on March 2015 date of earliest archive.
  100. ^ "World Championships". WorldBowling.org. Archived from the original on March 24, 2019.
  101. ^ Cannizzaro, Matt (November 5, 2018). "Opening Ceremony Kicks Off 2018 QubicaAMF World Cup In Las Vegas". bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress, USBC). Archived from the original on November 6, 2018.
  102. ^ "2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour Schedule". pba.com. Professional Bowlers Association. Archived from the original on March 22, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  103. ^ "Fox PBA 2019 TV Schedule" (PDF). PBA.com. Professional Bowlers Association. 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019. Major events are in red text.
  104. ^ "Championship Tournaments / Tournament Information". bowl.com. United States Bowling Congress (USBC). Archived from the original on February 16, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  105. ^ "2019 USA Bowling Regional Tournament Schedule". Bowl.com. United States Bowling Congress (USBC). Archived from the original on December 27, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  106. ^ "Tournaments" (PDF). Bowl.com. United States Bowling Congress (USBC). August 1, 2010. p. 1. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 13, 2012."Introduction to Tournament Bowling". Bowl.com. United States Bowling Congress (USBC). Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  107. ^ "European Bowling Tour: A Historical Review". etbf.eu. European Tenpin Bowling Federation. Archived from the original on March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  108. ^ "European Bowling Tour Masters: A Historical Review". etbf.eu. European Tenpin Bowling Federation. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  109. ^ "Commonwealth Championships: A Historical Review" (PDF). etbf.eu. European Tenpin Bowling Federation. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  110. ^ "Weber Cup / About". WeberCup.com. Archived from the original on February 21, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  111. ^ "Weber Cup / History". WeberCup.com. Archived from the original on February 21, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  112. ^ "World Ranking Masters: A Historical Review". etbf.eu. European Tenpin Bowling Federation. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  113. ^ "Bowling / List of Events". ocasia.org. Olympic Council of Asia. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  114. ^ "Team USA Home / 2019 Pan American Games". bowl.com. United States Bowling Congress (USBC). Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  115. ^ "Ten-Pin Bowling Regulations". maccabiah.com. Maccabi World Union. July 28, 2016. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017.
  116. ^ "BLS Data Viewer / Time series CES7071395001". Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov). Archived from the original on October 28, 2019. Related BLS graphs presented by Bloomberg's Justin Fox.
  117. ^ Fox, Justin (October 26, 2019). "How Bowling Alleys Made a Comeback". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on October 27, 2019.
  118. ^ "Bowling Leagues". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). August 3, 2012. Archived from the original on January 6, 2016.
  119. ^ "Bowling League Schedule" (PDF). United States Bowling Congress (USBC). Archived (PDF) from the original on December 24, 2015. Sample schedules provided.
  120. ^ Goodger, Jef (March 6, 2017). "Position Round in Bowling". ThoughtCo.com. Archived from the original on April 14, 2018.
  121. ^ "Sample Adult League Rules" (PDF). Rule 16 (sample rule): United States Bowling Congress (USBC). Archived (PDF) from the original on May 28, 2016.CS1 maint: location (link)
  122. ^ a b Small, Glenn (August 15, 1993). "Match point scoring can make league night more lively bowling". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 20, 2019.
  123. ^ "Hall of Fame / 35 / Mark Roth". Professional Bowlers Association. Archived from the original on April 11, 2019.
  124. ^ Associated Press (January 25, 2010). "Breaking More Barriers, Woman Takes P.B.A. Title". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 28, 2010.
  125. ^ "All-Time PBA Tour Titlists". PBA.com. Professional Bowlers Association. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  126. ^ Schneider, Jerry (March 21, 2019). "Jason Belmonte Wins PBA World Championship for Record 11th Major Title". pba.com. Archived from the original on March 30, 2019.
  127. ^ "Hall of Fame / Earl Anthony". PBA.com. Professional Bowlers Association. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  128. ^ Vint, Bill (January 22, 2011). "'Major Mika' Wins PBA Tournament of Champions, Record $250,000 First Prize". PBA.
  129. ^ "Norm Duke". PBA.com. Professional Bowlers Association. Archived from the original on May 26, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  130. ^ Thomas, Jason (February 23, 2012). "Shafer Leads U.S. Open, But 14-Year-Old Kamron Doyle Becomes Youngest Casher in PBA Tour History". PBA.com. Professional Bowlers Association. Archived from the original on March 26, 2019.
  131. ^ Cannizzaro, Matt (February 14, 2016). "19-Year-Old Simonsen Wins USBC Masters to Become Youngest to Win a Major Title". pba.com. Archived from the original on July 8, 2019.
  132. ^ "John Handegard". PBA.com. Professional Bowlers Association. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  133. ^ a b "Bowling Trivia 1". BowlingBall.com ("Info" section). 2004. Archived from the original on September 21, 2005.
  134. ^ "Elliot Crosby becomes the youngest player in the UK to shoot 300". BowlingDigital.com. January 15, 2006. Archived from the original on December 30, 2010.
  135. ^ Cannizzaro, Matt (November 20, 2013). "Florida Bowler Becomes Youngest to Bowl 300 Game". bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress, USBC). Archived from the original on January 27, 2019.
  136. ^ "Bowling Trivia 2". BowlingBall.com ("Info" section). 2004. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019.
  137. ^ Bigham, Terry (November 22, 2014). "USBC Concludes Re-evaluation of Glenn Allison 900 Series". bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress, USBC). Archived from the original on December 10, 2014.
  138. ^ USBC Equipment Specifications and Certification section (December 17, 2007). "Research complete on USBC Bowling Ball Motion Study" (PDF). bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress, USBC). Archived (PDF) from the original on December 7, 2010.
  139. ^ United States Bowling Congress (USBC) (February 2018). "Bowling Technology Study: An Examination and Discussion on Technology's Impact in the Sport of Bowling" (PDF). bowl.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 31, 2018.
  140. ^ a b c d Carruba, Rich (2012). "Are Today's Bowling Scores Too High?". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). Archived from the original on June 10, 2012.
  141. ^ Bigham, Terry (January 15, 2018). "USBC to reclassify more than 700 leagues as Sport or Challenge leagues based on research". bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress, USBC). Archived from the original on January 31, 2019.
  142. ^ United States Bowling Congress (USBC) (February 2018). "Bowling Technology Study: An Examination and Discussion on Technology's Impact in the Sport of Bowling" (PDF). bowl.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 31, 2018.
  143. ^ a b c "Bowling Technology Updates -- Frequently Asked Questions" (PDF). bowl.com (United States Bowling Congress). 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 8, 2019. Archive link provides for download of PDF file rather than viewing.
  144. ^ a b c d Steinberg, Brian (March 20, 2018). "Professional Bowling Rolls to Fox Sports". Variety. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019.
  145. ^ a b c Callahan, Gerry (June 30, 1997). "The Last Frame After 36 Years on ABC, Bowling and Announcer Chris Schenkel Got Tossed Into the Gutter". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on April 8, 2019. (Page image viewed 2019-04-08).
  146. ^ Clark, Tom (June 2, 2004). "Why the Media Hates Bowling". Bowlers Journal. Archived from the original on May 1, 2005.
  147. ^ a b "PBS to Air A League of Ordinary Gentlemen Next Week". Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). April 19, 2006. Archived from the original on May 6, 2006.
  148. ^ a b Clark, Tom (October 30, 2001). "Bowling's three hurdles to gain respect". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 12, 2017.
  149. ^ a b "A League of Ordinary Gentlemen / The Film". PBS. 2006. Archived from the original on September 8, 2006.
  150. ^ "Bowling Through The Decades: The 1950s". PBS.org (Independent Lens). 2007. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016.
  151. ^ "Bowling Through The Decades: The 2000s". PBS.org (Independent Lens). 2007. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016.
  152. ^ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2004 paperback edition), p. 114.
  153. ^ "Strikes and Spares (1934)". The New York Times. May 20, 2011. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Archive of full list at Oscars.org.
  154. ^ Fuchs, Cynthia (May 3, 2010). "Reviews / Pin Gods". PopMatters. Archived from the original on April 9, 2019. (Video)
  155. ^ Mavis, Paul (October 13, 2009). "Review: Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases, Vol. 3". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017.
  156. ^ "AFI Catalog of Feature Films / Dreamer (1979)". American Film Institute (AFI). 1970. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019.
  157. ^ Piantadosi, Roger (March 4, 1994). "Greedy (review)". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018.
  158. ^ "The Big Lebowski / 1998". movie-locations.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  159. ^ Blatt, Ben (June 26, 2014). "The Longest Movie Plot Summary on Wikipedia". Slate. Archived from the original on March 28, 2019.
  160. ^ U.S. patent 107,030, "Game Board" or "Game-Box For Ten-Pins", issued September 6, 1870 to George Benedict Fowler of Brooklyn, New York.
  161. ^ a b c d Zwiezen, Zack (February 2, 2019). "A History Of Bowling In Video Games". Kotaku. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.