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How Scoring Works In Bowling

Even if you’re not a seasoned tenpin bowler, chances are you’ve experienced the thrill of bowling a strike and watching your score skyrocket. But, do you know how the scoring system in tenpin bowling actually works? Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science – its simple rules are, after all, part of the reason why tenpin bowling is one of the most popular family activities to try. But here’s a sneaky tip: understanding the basics of this iconic game’s scoring system will make it even more enjoyable and give you the insider knowledge you need to become a tenpin bowling alley legend – all while keeping those score debates at bay during your next corporate bowling party.

Here are the basics of what you need to know about how scoring works in tenpin bowling.

A game of frames

A ‘frame’ in bowling refers to a single turn by a bowler. Each bowler plays ten ‘frames’ per game, with a maximum of two throws per frame to try and knock down ten pins.
The only exception is the last frame of the game, where you get 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.

Bowling a strike

A strike happens when you’ve knocked down all ten pins on the first ball roll of a frame, and boy does it feel good! You’ll notice your score getting a massive boost when you bowl 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 five pins, your score for the strike frame would be 15 (10 + 5).

Bowling a spare

A spare – or knocking down all your bowling pins with two rolls in a frame – 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 knock down four and then three in your two throws, you’d add four to your 10 to score 14 for the spare.

Ready to attempt that perfect bowling score of 300? Head to your nearest Zone Bowling today and let the good times roll!

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