How scoring works in bowling


Have you ever bowled a strike in a game of bowling and wondered exactly how the score jumped so much?

Tenpin bowling is an incredibly simple game, which makes it one of the most popular family activities, but not all of us are fully aware of its scoring mechanics.

A basic understanding of how the scoring system in tenpin bowling works can increase your enjoyment of the game - and keep the debates down at your next bowling corporate party.

The frames

Each bowler plays ten 'frames' per games, with a maximum of two throws per frame.
The only exception is the last frame of the game, where you get to deliver an extra throw if you score a strike or a spare in that frame.

Put simply, your score is calculated by adding up the number of pins you knock down in each frame and keeping a tally, but this gets complicated when you factor in strikes and spares.


You'll definitely have noticed your score getting a massive boost when you get a strike, but how exactly is this calculated?

The reason your score isn't immediately updated when you get a strike is because your total for that frame is dependent on your next frame.

How it works is that following a strike, your score in the subsequent frame is added onto the 10 you got for the strike.

For example, if you bowled a strike but in the next frame only knocked down 5 pins, your score for the strike frame would be 15 (10 + 5).


A spare works in much the same way as a strike, but only adds the value of your first roll in the subsequent frame to your score of 10.

For example, if you bowl a spare and in your next frame roll a 4 and a 3 in your two throws, you'd add 4 onto your 10 to score 14 for the spare.

Ready to attempt that perfect score of 300? Head down to your local ZONE BOWLING today!