Bowling is a great sport in which you can throw your bowling ball across the lane to knock down all 10 pins to score points in a turn.
How to play
Each player has two throws of their ball to knock down all 10 pins in a turn, which is called a frame. If you knock down all of the pins in one throw, you get a strike which is worth 10 points plus the number of pins on your next two throws. Knock down all of the pins in two throws and you'll get a spare, which is worth 10 plus the number of pins on your next throw. You can score up to 300 points in a game if you hit all 12 strikes, which is called a perfect game! If you don't knock down all of the pins, then you get the number of pins knocked down. If you get a strike on your 10th and final frame, then you get two extra turns, a spare gives you one extra turn. If you're playing a two-player game, then the person with the most points wins!
Bowling has been dated back some 5000 years with the Egyptians. That game still lives on today. Bowling is a physics game. Everything is based off angles, momentum, and friction. A bowling lane is 60 feet long from the foul line to the head pin. Each lane has a layer of oil over it. This is to protect the lane from the bowling ball. But the last 20ft or so are left unoiled to allow friction. Friction allows a bowling ball to hook. If you go back twenty years ago balls did not hook. They were made of either rubber, urethane, or plastic. Today, bowling balls are much more aggressive being made out of reactive resin which is what promotes the friction down lane. Lanes can be either made of wood or have a synthetic cover over it. On wood lanes, the ball creates more friction due to the surface of the ball going against the wood. With synthetic, it's much different since there is a layer over the lane to protect the lane from the ball. This cuts down on the friction from the lane to the ball. Today, bowling is one of the fastest growing sports.
PBA stands for the Professional Bowlers Association. This is pro level of bowling. It is run by the USBC (United States Bowling Congress). It was founded in 1959 by Eddie Elias. The PBA has four different divisions:
This is the main tour. There are around 4,500 members in it, though not all are pros.
PBA Senior Tour
This is the same as PBA Tour, but it's for men who are at least 50 years old. Though, this is an option for the bowler. He can choose to stay in the PBA Tour if he feels he can still compete.
PBA Woman's Tour
This used to be a full season tour, but it has since became only a few tournament tour.
PBA Regional Tour
This is for areas like Midwest, West, etc. Winners of these usually get a spot in the PBA Tour.
Hall of Fame
To get into the Hall of Fame in bowling, all you need is 10 wins. It seems easy but when every week the oil pattern is different, and lanes play differently every where it makes it one tough challenge. A list of all the Hall of Famer's can be found here.
- PBA World Championship - Started in 1960s. Since it started, it has went through many changes with its format. Defending champ is Norm Duke.
- USBC Masters - This used to be called ABC Masters, but ABC has since changed its name to USBC. This the newest of the majors, it started in 1998. The defending champ is Josh Nolan.
- Lumber Liquidators U.S Open (Lumber Liquidators is the title sponsor at the moment, it changes as the title sponsor changes). This is probably the hardest of all the majors. The oil pattern is heavy amounts of oil is put evenly throughout the lane for about 45ft. $100,000 is given to the winner. Mike Scroggins is the defending champ.
- H&R Block Tournament of Champions - Only winners in the current season can bowl in this tournament. Defending champ is Patrick Allen.
The PBA has five different oil patterns. Each holds a different challenge.
- Cheetah - The Cheetah Pattern has the most hook out of the oil patterns. The length of it is 35ft, so the oil only goes down half-way of the lane. Players will use none aggressive equipment here, since the large amount of friction will do most of the work.
- Shark - The Shark Pattern is much harder. It is 43ft in length and has to have oil on the outsides making the bowlers play deep inside.
- Viper - The Viper Pattern is similar to the Cheetah with it's length of only 37ft. The oil is lad out pretty even but it still quite heavy. Bowlers can play different angles of the lane.
- Chameleon - The Chameleon Pattern is 39ft long. It makes you play the outside part of the lane, due to heavy oil in the middle.
- Scorpion - The Scorpion Pattern is 41ft long. Players usually play straight on this pattern. There is a good amount of oil down lane.
Famous people who bowl
He was in a bowling event hosted by fellow basketball player Chris Paul.
Three time Nascar Champion, he opened a bowling center with Kyle Petty (another Nascar driver) called Victory Lanes.
Guard for the New Orleans Hornets, he is a USBC spokesperson. He hosts a charity bowling event every year, one of which was even televised and featured Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Dwayne Wade, and Rudy Gay. He has also stated that bowling is his passion, but basketball is what pays the bills.
Former Pittsburgh Steeler, he has an average of 200 and one perfect game.
Buffalo Bills WR, he has claimed to have an average of 188, and a high game of 288.
Bowling is probably famous for its hard to get splits. Splits are when a pin is a distance from any other pin. The most famous split is the 7-10 split.
Is one of the most difficult shots in the sport of bowling. This can happen from your bowling ball going straight through the head pin and leaving the 7-10 because of that. Also, you can get it by bad luck and your bowling ball not carrying when it hits the 1-3 or 1-2 pocket resulting in the split. You can pick it up by throwing your ball very hard at the left or right of either pin. Hopefully doing that will cause the pin to fly out of the back and hit the remaining pin.
Big Four (4,6,7,10)
The big for is like the 7-10 only a little easier. While the 7-10 is those to pins, the Big Four consists of the 4-6-7-10 making it just a bit easier
to pick up. For this shot, you really want to aim for the left of the 4 pin or right of the 6 pin. By doing that you're hoping to have the pin slide over and hit the remaining two. This shot has only been picked up once on a televised PBA event by Walter Ray Williams Jr.
5-10, 5-7 split
Probably one of the most common splits. This is caused by your bowling deflecting to much when hitting the pocket. Though out of the other splits it's rather easy to pick up. You can either throw it very hard at the 5 pin hoping it to bounce. Or you can hook your ball into the 5 pin and having it slide into the 7 or 10 pin.
To most bowlers this is a annoying split. It is left a great deal of times. The split has two different forms. 2-7, 2-7-8, 3-10, and 3-9-10 are all considered baby splits. Though they are left by different reasons. The 3-10 and 3-9-10 can be left by going straight through the head pin. The 2-7 and 2-7-8 are left by going light in the pocket and barely hitting the head pin. A way to pick the 3-10 and 3-9-10
is either by hooking it into the middle of the 3-10, but do not do that for the 3-9-10, because your ball can easily miss the 9 pin. So if you leave the 3-9-10 you should aim left of the 3 pin hoping your ball will deflect the 3 into the 10 and your ball should take out the 9. The same thing applies for the 2-7 and 2-7-8. But if you're right handed you can just hook your ball into the 2 and your ball should do the rest. This split takes some accuracy.
The washout is also left a great deal of times. It can be either the 1,2,4,10 or 1,2,4,6,10 for right-handers, and for left-handers the 1,3,6, 7 or 1,3,6,4,7. This is left by your ball not hooking enough to get back to the pocket. Though there are more forms of the washout those are the most common. You pick them up by either hitting the head pin and hoping a pin slides over and gets the rest, or by having your ball go on the right or left of the head pin.
Sour Apple/Lily (5,7,10)
Those are terms of one of the hardest shots in the sport of bowling the 5-7-10. This is usually left from bad luck. Your ball will deflect
way too much and not carry the 10 or 7 pin. This shot is near to impossible. You have to slide the the 5 into the either the 7 or 10 and hope the ball takes out the last one. Though you can pick it up by throwing a very light ball rather slow and putting a lot of hook on it. Then still you might have a 20% chance of getting the split.
8-10, 7-9 split
This is commonly left by new bowlers. This is left by your bowling ball deflecting to much after impact with the pocket. For right-handers it's the 8-10 and for lefties it's 7-9. It's a tough spare to pick up. You have to get as far to the right (for 9 pin) and left (for 8 pin) as possible and try to slide that pin over into the remaining pin.
- Out of Bounds - This is when there is a area on the lane where your ball just won't hook back. Usually it is from the oil build up on the lane on that spot.
- Sleeper - A sleeper is any pin that is located behind another. Usually you can't see this pin. An example of a sleeper is the 2-9 and 3-8. The 9 pin and 8 pins are the sleepers.
- 5 Bagger (Yahtzee and Dropping the Nickel) - A 5 bagger is five strikes in a row. Other nicknames for it is Yahtzee and Dropping the Nickel.
- Clean Game - A clean game is when you get all of your spares and do not leave a open.
- Pocket - A pocket is where you want your bowling ball to go. For right-handers the pocket is the 1-3, and for left-handers the pocket is 1-2.
- Pit - The pit is the area behind the where the pins sit on the lane. After they are hit they go into the pit and get sorted out into slots.
- Perfect Game - A perfect game is a 300. To get that you have to get 12 strikes in a row.
- No Tap - No tap is a form of bowling usually used in some tournaments. It makes it a lot easier. What happens in no tap is every 9 count is counted as a strike.
- Messenger - When you put a lot of revolutions on your ball a messenger is a common site. A messenger is a pin that after being hit deflects usually off the side wall and take out the remaining pin or pins.
- King Pin - Is the five pin. It is usually left by going light in the pocket or your ball deflecting. There are many nicknames for the five pin.
- High - A high shot is when your ball misses the pocket and goes straight through the head pin.
- Revolutions - How much your ball rotates before hitting the pins.
- Sandbagging - Where you ball bad early on to gain a low average and gain a higher handicap.
- Weight Block - Weight Blocks are located in the middle of most bowling balls. They add more weight to a bowling ball.
- Spare - On your second shot you pick up the other pins. That is a spare
- Strike - Knocking down all 10 pins on the first throw.
- Turkey - Three strikes in a row
- Ham Bone - Four strikes in a row.
- Heads - The heads are usually the strongest part of the lane. They are strong because it has to absorb the impact to the ball hitting the lane. The head is located in the front part of the lane.
- Foundation Frame - The Foundation Frame is the 9th frame. Bowlers call it that because it will help them or hurt them in the 10th frame.
- Fast Eight - This usually by going high in the pocket and leaving the 4-9 for right-handers and the 6-8 for lefties.
- Dutch 200 - This is when you go strike, spare in the pattern for the entire game.
- Channel - The channel is the gutter.
- Balance Hole - Balance holes are added to balls with to much side weight. If a ball has to much side weight it will hook much more. So a balance hole is added to even it out.
- Back Ends - The back end is the last 20 or 15ft of the lane. They do not oil the back end so that you can create friction for your ball to hook.
- Kegler - German word for bowler.
- Open Bowling - Is when you are just bowling with family and having fun. Or also practicing.
- Pin Deck - Where the pins sit on the lane.
- Oil - The substance on the lane that protects the lane from the ball. It's not nearly the same oil used in cars.
- Span - The distance from the finger holes to the thumb hole
- Re-Rack - A bowler will ask for a re-rack when they do not like the way the pins are set up.
- Open Frame - When you do not pick up all of the pins left after the second shot.
- Loft - The time the ball stays in the air after being released.
- Cranker - A cranker is a bowler who puts lots of revolutions on their bowling ball. They can play deep in the lane and has a big hook.
- Tweener - A tweener is less aggressive as a cranker. They have less hook and less revs. They will usually play around the third arrow to second arrow.
- Stroker - A stroker is the less aggressive bowling style. That doesn't mean that it is a disadvantage. Strokers can play more straight and throw it around the first and second arrow. Walter Ray Williams Jr is considered a stroker.
The bowling industry has many companies that make bowling balls, bags, equipment, machines shoes etc. Here is a list of the most popular in the industry.
They make bowling balls, bag, equipment like towels and gloves. They also make ball drilling equipment and ball cleaner. Ebonite owns, Hammer, Track and Columbia 300.
They make bowling balls, bags and some equipment. They are famous for their recent Widow series.
They make a lot for the sport. Bowling balls, bags, shoes, machines, ball returns and lane machines that oil the lanes. They are also popular outside of bowling, the make pool tables.
They make bowling balls and some equipment and bags. They are famous for their White Dot bowling balls.
They are mainly just shoes. They also make personalized bowling balls and house balls for bowling centers.
They make only shoes. But are also one of the top in the sport in that department.
They make bowling balls, bags, shirts and other things. They are famous for putting a scent to their bowling balls. Each ball has it's own scent. The smells can be cherry, sour apple etc. Storm also owns Roto Grip and AZO.
They make only shoes. They are the shoe sponsor for the PBA.
AMF makes bowling balls and some bags and equipment. They are most famous for making machines, ball returns and lanes. Global 900 makes bowling balls and shoes. Global 900 and AMF are basically the same company.
They make bowling balls and shirts. They have become famous by their Cell bowling balls.
They make bowling balls, bags and some other equipment like ball cleaner.
Types of lanes
One of the difficulties of bowling is the different types of lanes. There are two main ones, but they each have a different approach you have to take to them in order to score well.
Wood lanes are slowing being replaced by synthetic lanes (you'll read that
next). Wood lanes create much more friction then you will find in synthetic lanes. This is because the there is nothing between the bowling ball and wood surface. So this makes the oil on the lanes break down faster and makes can be quite hard to figure out. You'll have to use a less aggressive bowling ball, or you can use less hand and use a medium aggressive ball. But because wood makes so much friction, if you can really hook the ball you could use a aggressive ball, lots of hand and play very deep in the lane. There's many different ways to play this kind of lane.
Synthetic lanes are becoming more and more popular every year. Unlike wood
you don't have to do a check up on them every year. Though synthetic lanes create much less friction then wood does. This is because synthetic lanes have a thin coating over them. This is to protect the lane from the ball hitting and rolling on it. This creates much less friction, because of that coating. Most bowlers on these lanes will play in around the first arrow. Though you can get a sanded ball and use lots of revs and you can easily play deep in the lane.
Candlepin and Duckpin.
Bowling has two other types. These are candlepin and duckpin. They both have similarities to bowling but have different ways of doing it.
Candlepin is mainly only played in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Canada and the Northeast United States. It's not as old as bowling is but it is about 130 years old. The similarities with bowling are, 10 pin set up in a pyramid, ball and gutter. That's really it. In Candlepin you get three chances in a frame. When shooting at a spare, players can use the pins laying on the deck. The ball is very small compared to a bowling ball and the lanes are much shorter. Names of splits and pins are somewhat the same. The first pin is the head pin, five pin is the king pin. Today it's mostly played in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Those are it's most popular areas. There are a few places scattered around the U.S.
Duckpin bowling is the same as bowling and candlepin with the pin setup, gutter. Ball size is the same as Candlepin. It's a very small ball with very small pins. The pins are only about 5 inches wide and only weigh 2-4 pounds (1-2 kilograms). Many say the sport began in Maryland in the 1900s. Major League Baseball Hall of Famer John McGraw owned the bowling center it was founded in. Scoring in Duckpin is the same as bowling, but you get three chances to knock down all the pins. Duckpin is played mostly in eastern United States and Canada.