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Bowling Scores

Page history last edited by Helena Baert 11 years, 9 months ago

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Writer 1: Jason Brewster

Writer 2: Kelleigh Sprott


Bowling has a rather complex scoring system when compared to other sports.  The most modern version of bowling that we are playing is called ten-pin bowling.  Generally, each pin is worth one point, but bowling strikes and spares can complicate and drastically increase your score. 


  • A player's turn in bowling is called a frame. Within each frame, the player gets two bowls. So, with each frame consisting of two bowls, the player has two chances to knock down all 10 pins.  Knocking down all 10 pins in your first roll is called a strike.  If you knock down all ten pins after your second roll, it is called a spare.  If you do not get all ten pins down within both rolls, it is referred to as an open frame.[1] 
  • A game of bowling has 10 frames.  If you get a strike on the first roll of your 10th frame or you get a spare on the second roll, the bowler is allotted "extra" rolls, referred to as the 11th and / or 12th frames. 
  • Not knocking down any pins in a roll is denoted on the score card with a hash mark - . What usually causes this is by bowling a channel ball or "gutter ball." Not knocking down any pins in a frame after the two rolls is considered a "miss." This is marked with two hash marks for the frame and no points are given for the frame. [2] 
  • A spare is worth 10 points and can only be gotten after knocking down all 10 pins after the second roll. One point is given for each of the 10 pins, plus however many pins you knock down on your first roll of the next frame.  A spare is denoted on a score card by a slash mark /.  For example, if you knocked down 5 pins in your first roll of a frame and then bowled a spare the next roll by knocking down the remaining pins, your score would be 10 for that frame plus what you knocked down the first roll of the next frame. If in the next frame, your first roll knocked down 3 pins then that three would be added to the 10 resulting in a score of 13 for that first frame.  The 3 would also count towards your new frame.   
  • A strike is marked with an X and counts as ten points plus the total score from the next frame.[3]  Therefore, if you get a strike in one frame and then 8 pins combined from the two rolls in the next frame, the strike and 8 pins are combined resulting in a score of 18 for that first frame.  And the 8 new pins are also counted for their frame.  Because of this method, strikes and spares are desirable for a high score.  Even if you get 9 pins on every frame, you’d still only have a score of 90 out of 300.  
  • The maximum score or "perfect game" of ten-pin bowling is 300 and comes from getting 12 strikes in a row. The 10th frame allows for 3 strikes.
  • Bowling two strikes in a row is called a "double." Three strikes in a row is called a "triple" or "turkey." Getting any longer strings of strikes is called the number plus "bagger." For instance, getting four strikes in a row is called a "four-bagger," etc. Six strikes in a row is often referred to as a "Wild Turkey." Nine strikes in a row is often called a "Golden Turkey." The "perfect game" or 12 strikes in also knows as the "Thanksgiving Turkey." [4]

An example of a bowling scorecard. [5]



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This bowler gets a strike even after tossing his ball over a chair in the lane.


Exercise on your own!



  1. http://www.thebowlingcoach.com/bowling_score.html
  2. http://www.tenpinbowling.org/view.php?page=the_game.basics#3
  3. http://www.tenpinbowling.org/view.php?page=the_game.basics#3
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten-pin_bowling#Scoring_2
  5. http://www.thebowlingcoach.com/bowling_score.html

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