Bowling averages are the average scores bowlers achieve and are calculated by adding all the scores together and dividing the sum by the number of games played. Bowlers must play a minimum of 12 games before the United States Bowling Congress officially recognizes average scores.
Bowling averages are most commonly used in handicapped bowling leagues. Handicapped leagues use bowling averages to assign a handicap to bowlers that increases their score totals, making leagues competitive. Bowlers take their average scores and subtract them from the basis score of the league, and then multiply this by the league set percentage to know their handicaps. Leagues require a minimum of three games before establishing averages.