A regulation bowling alley is made of polished wood and measures 41 to 42 in. (104.1 to 106.7 cm) wide and 60 ft (18.3 m) from the foul line, where the ball is delivered, to the center of the head pin (nearly 63 ft/19.2 m to the end of the alley). Bowlers (also called keglers) roll a ball made of rubber composite or plastic, which has three or four finger holes and weighs from 10 to 16 lb (4.5 to 7.26 kg), at plastic-covered maple pins standing 15 in. (38.1 cm) high and weighing between 3 lb 2 oz and 3 lb 10 oz (1.42-1.64 kg), set up in a triangular array in rows of increasing width (one through four) at the opposite end of the alley.
A game consists of 10 frames, with two balls allowed a bowler in each frame. Each pin knocked down counts one point. Toppling all pins with the first ball is a strike and scores 10 points plus the total of the next two balls. Clearing the alley with two balls is a spare and scores 10 points plus the next roll. A perfect game, 300 points, requires 12 consecutive strikes.
Forerunners of modern bowling date to at least 5200 B.C. in Egypt. A form similar to today's, though using nine pins, was popular in Germany in the Middle Ages. Dutch settlers probably introduced the game in America. Tenpins, said to have been devised to evade colonial laws against a nine-pin game, became standard in the mid-19th cent. The invention of automatic pin-setting machines and, later in the 20th cent., television, spurred the growth of bowling.
The American Bowling Congress (founded 1895) and the Women's International Bowling Congress (founded 1916) hold yearly championships. The Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs serves as the world governing body for the sport. Top bowlers now compete for prize money at tournaments under the auspices of the Professional Bowler's Association and the Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour. The games of duckpins and candlepins, played with smaller balls and pins, enjoy regional popularity.
See V. Grinfelds and B. Hultstrand, Right Down the Alley (2d. ed. 1985).
Game in which a heavy ball is rolled down a long, narrow lane to knock down a group of 10 wooden objects (called pins). Versions of the game have existed since ancient times. Ninepin bowling was brought to the U.S. in the 17th century by Dutch settlers; it became so popular and so associated with gambling that it was outlawed in several states. The game grew to enormous popularity in the 20th century, both as a recreational activity and (since 1958) as a professional sport. If all the pins are knocked down with the first ball, a strike is recorded (10 points). If pins remain standing but the second ball knocks them down, the player is awarded a spare (10 points). If a strike is thrown in a frame (turn), the number of pins knocked down by the next two balls bowled count in that frame. After a spare, the score of the next ball counts in the spare's frame. Thus, the maximum point total for a single frame is 30. Each game is divided into 10 frames, and each player is allowed to deliver up to two balls per frame (except in the final frame, in which two additional deliveries are permitted following a strike [one additional following a spare]. A perfect score is 300, or 12 strikes in a row. Versions of the game include candlepins, duckpins, and skittles.
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Bowling is a game/sport in which players attempt to score points by rolling a bowling ball along a flat surface either into objects called pins or to get close to a target ball. There are many forms of bowling, with the earliest dating back to ancient Egypt, while other instances where bowling was first seen can be traced to ancient Finland and Yemen, and much later in 300 A.D. in Germany.
Included in the indoor category:
The second category of bowling is usually played outdoors on a lawn. At outdoor bowling, the players throw a ball, which is sometimes eccentrically weighted, in an attempt to put it closest to a designated point or slot in the bowling arena.
Included in the outdoor category: