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| Bowling , League

Need A Hand? How Handicaps Work In Bowling

You might have heard golfers prattling on about their handicap – but did you know this system is used in tenpin bowling as well?

What is a bowling handicap?

The concept is very much the same for both sports: a handicap is a numerical figure assigned to you that reflects your ability or relative ability, and its purpose is clear – to provide a level playing field for competitors of different abilities. The lower the handicap, the better the player is relative to those with higher handicaps. But we wouldn’t suggest getting cocky and using a lower handicap as a reason to be arrogant on the lanes of your local bowling alley – you never know whose good luck is about to strike!

What difference does a bowling handicap make?

Tenpin bowling is a game that has been enjoyed by people of all ages for many years. It’s a fun and challenging family friendly sport that requires skill, accuracy, and a bit of luck. But, for those who are new to the game or just getting started, it can be intimidating to play against more experienced bowlers. That’s where the handicap system comes in.

The handicap system gives everyone a fair chance of winning. It’s a great way to encourage new players to get involved in the game and to keep things interesting for those who have been playing for years. With a handicap, even the most inexperienced bowler can compete against the best and have a chance of coming out on top.

How is a tenpin bowler’s handicap determined?

You’ll notice that when you first join a tenpin bowling league, you’ll be assigned a handicap number that reflects your skill level and allows you to compete toe-to-toe with even the league’s most skilled bowlers.

It involves a bit of number crunching but it’s a fairly straightforward method. First, the organisers of a tenpin bowling league or bowling tournament decide on a standard score against which they calculate each individual bowler’s handicap. This score is determined by taking the average score of the league’s best bowler and setting a higher number. For instance, if the best bowler averages 200 per game, the standard might be set at 230.

Next, an individual bowler who wants their bowling handicap calculated will take their average – usually based on their scores from the previous season – and subtract it from the standard. A bowler who averages 180 will therefore have a handicap of 50.

What is a handicap percentage system?

The example above works if the bowling league a person competes in uses a 100 per cent handicap system, of course. Sometimes a different percentage system is used. For example, if the bowling league has a handicap percentage system of 70 per cent, 70 per cent of the tenpin bowler’s handicap will be used as their actual handicap. For the bowler in the earlier example who had a handicap of 50, their new handicap will therefore be 35.

All this might sound like a lot of hassle just to come up with one number, but having a handicap in bowling can make the game more enjoyable for everyone, as it allows players of different skill levels to compete against each other fairly. It’s not just about the score, it’s about the challenge and fun of the game. And with a handicap, even a beginner can have a chance to beat a seasoned pro. So, next time you hit your closest bowling alley, don’t be afraid to ask about your handicap and see how you measure up against the competition.

Curious about joining a tenpin bowling league and showing off your skills? Join a Zone Bowling league today, find out your handicap and light up the bowling alley with some action-packed bowling. 

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