what is scoring like in bowling how do you calculate score
what is scoring like in bowling how do you calculate score

Curious about how scoring works in the world of bowling? Look no further! In this article, we will unravel the mystery behind scoring in bowling and guide you on how to calculate your score. Get ready to learn the ins and outs of this beloved sport and impress your friends with your newfound knowledge at your next bowling outing. So grab your bowling shoes and let’s get rolling!

Scoring in Bowling

Bowling is a popular sport enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a casual bowler or a competitive player, understanding how scoring works is essential to fully enjoy the game. In this article, we will explore the basic rules of scoring in bowling and learn how to calculate your score.

Basic Rules of Scoring

Scoring in bowling is based on a system of points awarded for knocking down pins. Each game consists of ten frames, with each frame giving you a chance to knock down a maximum of ten pins. The objective is to accumulate the highest score possible by knocking down as many pins as you can.

1. Traditional Scoring System

The traditional scoring system in bowling is straightforward and easy to understand. Each frame gives you the opportunity to earn a maximum of ten points, plus any bonus points from strikes and spares. At the end of the game, the total scores from all the frames are added up to determine the winner.

2. Common Terms in Scoring

Before we dive into the calculation of scores, let’s familiarize ourselves with some common terms used in scoring.


A frame refers to one round of bowling, which consists of two attempts to knock down all ten pins. There are ten frames in a game, and each frame provides an opportunity to earn points.


A strike occurs when all ten pins are knocked down with the first attempt in a frame. It is denoted by an “X” on the scorecard. Striking is not only exhilarating but also brings significant scoring advantages.


A spare is achieved when all ten pins are knocked down with the two attempts in a frame. It is denoted by a “/” on the scorecard. Similar to strikes, spares play a crucial role in scoring.

Open Frame

An open frame occurs when a player fails to knock down all ten pins with both attempts in a frame. It is denoted by two numbers separated by a dash (“-“) on the scorecard. Open frames do not earn any bonus points.

Calculating the Score

Now that we understand the basic concepts, let’s delve into how scores are calculated in different scenarios.

1. Scoring in Regular Frames

Open Frame

In an open frame, where no strikes or spares are achieved, the score for that frame is simply the sum of the knocked down pins. For example, if you knock down three pins in the first attempt and two in the second attempt, your score for that frame would be five.


When a spare is achieved, the score for that frame includes the ten points for the spare, plus the number of pins knocked down with the next throw. For instance, if you get a spare in the first frame and knock down six pins with your next throw, your score for the first frame would be sixteen.


Strikes have a more significant impact on scoring. When you score a strike, the ten points for knocking down all the pins are added to the total score, and the number of pins knocked down with the next two throws are also added as bonus points. Let’s say you get a strike in the fifth frame and knock down six pins with your next throw and three pins with your second throw after the strike. Your score for the fifth frame would be twenty-two.

2. Scoring in the 10th Frame

The tenth frame has specific rules for calculating scores due to the potential for bonus throws.

Bonus Throws

If you score a spare or a strike in the tenth frame, you earn bonus throws. For a spare, you are granted one additional throw, and for a strike, you receive two bonus throws. These throws are essential for maximizing your score in the final frame.

Perfect Game

A perfect game in bowling is the pinnacle of achievement, where a player scores twelve strikes in a row for a total of 300 points. This flawless performance requires precision, skill, and a bit of luck.

3. Pinfall Conversion to Score

It is important to keep in mind that pinfall is not directly equivalent to scoring points. In the traditional scoring system, only strikes and spares earn bonus points. The actual calculation of scores can be a bit confusing for beginners, but with practice, it becomes easier to comprehend and track.

Challenging Scenarios

Back-to-Back Spares

Scoring back-to-back spares presents a unique challenge. In this situation, the scoring for the first spare is straightforward, as discussed earlier. However, the second spare’s score is dependent on the pins knocked down with the next throw. If you knock down five pins with your next throw, the score for the second spare would be fifteen, as the bonus includes the ten points for the spare and the five pins knocked down.

In conclusion, scoring in bowling is a fascinating aspect of the game that requires both skill and strategy. By understanding the basic rules and calculations, you can fully enjoy the excitement of bowling and aim for that perfect game. So grab your bowling shoes, gather your friends or family, and head to the nearest bowling alley to experience the joy of scoring in this timeless sport.

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Jack Jones
Hello! I'm Jack Jones, and I'm thrilled to welcome you to the world of bowling at landofbowling.com. As a dedicated bowler and bowling enthusiast, I am excited to share my passion for the sport with you and provide valuable tips to enhance your bowling skills. With years of experience in the bowling industry, I have gained a deep understanding of the game and the techniques required to improve your performance on the lanes. I have had the privilege of bowling in various leagues and tournaments, honing my skills and learning from top-notch professionals along the way. Through my articles and content on landofbowling.com, my aim is to guide beginners and experienced bowlers alike towards achieving their personal goals on the lanes. Whether it's refining your bowling technique, mastering tricky oil patterns, selecting the right equipment, or strategizing your game, I'm here to equip you with the knowledge and insights you need to excel. I strongly believe that bowling is not just a sport but a way of life. It brings people together, fosters friendly competition, and provides a platform for personal growth. My writing philosophy is centered around promoting a positive and inclusive bowling community where everyone can thrive and enjoy the game. As you explore the rich resources and articles on landofbowling.com, I encourage you to reach out and engage with me. Share your experiences, ask questions, and let's build a vibrant community of bowling enthusiasts who are passionate about improving their game. Thank you for joining me on this exciting bowling journey. Together, let's knock down those pins and inspire each other to reach new bowling heights! Sincerely, Jack Jones