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Say What? 10 Weird Bowling Terms You Haven't Heard Before

If you’re a regular at Zone Bowling, you might have overheard the more experienced bowlers use some baffling words and phrases.

Indeed, the language of tenpin bowling can be as colourful as the balls (and bowling shoes!) themselves. So if you want to sound like a real pro make sure you brush up on these five quirky bowling terms!

1. Dutch 200

A Dutch 200 has nothing to do with the European country. Instead, it refers to when a bowler consistently alternates between scoring a spare (knocking down all 10 pins with two rolls in a frame) and a strike (knocking down all ten pins on the first ball roll of a frame) for the entire match. Done right, this will result in an exact score of 200.

2. Sandbagger

Sandbaggers are some of the sneakiest tenpin bowlers around and you may encounter one at your local bowling league. Basically, they are bowlers who play poorly on purpose to lower their average score and achieve an easier handicap!

3. Turkey

In addition to being a delicious sandwich filler, turkey is also a tenpin bowling feat where you score three strikes in a row. There are different variants as well, such as the Wild Turkey (six strikes in a row) and the Golden Turkey (nine in a row).

4. Greek church

A Greek church in tenpin bowling is anything but holy. It’s just a very specific type of split, where you end up with two pins on one side and three on the other.

5. Brooklyn strike

If you really want to impress your mates, you might want to have a go at mastering the Brooklyn strike. This is when you get a strike after the ball hits the headpin from the opposite side to your throwing hand. So, for right-handers, the ball will strike the headpin from the left side, and vice versa.

6. Fry Frame (or Beer Frame)

If you’re the only bowler on your team not to bowl a strike in the frame, or the bowler with the lowest score in a predetermined frame, you might be called on to buy fries for your entire team. Or, well, beer. Luckily, Zone Bowling has a great range of snacks and drinks perfect for birthday parties or tenpin bowling challenges, just in case you need it!

7. Bananas

Whoops: this term refers to a pinsetter malfunction, where the pinsetter has an incomplete load and is stuck at full lift. Not ideal, but the delay will give you time to grab some hot snacks and find out more about how pinsetters work here.

8. Clover

Four strikes in a row? You just got lucky, much like a four-leaf clover! And by ‘luck’ we mean ‘practice’ – the more time you spend playing tenpin bowling at your nearest ZONE BOWLING, the better you’ll get at it. Now that’s a good reason to host a bowling party for your birthday or office team-building event!

9. Grandma’s teeth

This throw leaves your pins, well, a bit gappy: it refers to a 4-6-7-10 split or any ‘big five’ split combination, resembling a mouth with missing teeth. It can be tricky to knock down all 10 pins in this kind of split, so best to avoid during a game of bowling!

10. Ice and rug

A cool-sounding reference to a bowling lane’s oil pattern, including oil (‘ice’) for skidding on the first two-thirds of a lane, and a non-oiled, higher friction back end (‘rug’) for hooking. Good to keep in mind once you start getting better at your bowling throws.

Ready to show off your newfound tenpin bowling knowledge? Head to your nearest Zone Bowling and let's roll!

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