Bowling Scoring Rules
Scoring in bowling is calculated on a rolling basis and is based on the outcome of each frame. In bowling there are 10 frames. A frame is made up of two bowls, so the bowler gets to throw the ball down the lane at the pins twice per frame.
There are 10 pins set up at the back of the lane. If you knock all 10 pins on the first bowl it's called a strike. If you eventually knock all 10 pins on your second bowl it's called a spare. Finally, if you fail to knock down all 10 pins it's called an open frame.
When you're bowling you will see the following symbols appear on the screen that indicate the total running score on the current frame.
The minimum score for a single bowling game is 0 and the maximum score is a 300. For each frame, a person gets two attempts to knock over all of the pins. A perfect score would be a strike for every frame.
An open frame is when the bowler fails to knock down all 10 pins with both bowls. An open frame is most common for amateur players and is scored by adding up the sum of the amount of pins that were knocked over on both bowls.
For example, if you knock two pins over on the first bowl and six pins over on the second attempt, then the open frame score would be 8 points.
Scoring for a match where just open frames are scored is pretty simple, but scoring gets a little more complicated when there are spares and strikes involved.
A spare, indicated by a slash / on a scorecard, happens when you knock down all 10 of the pins on your second attempt for the frame. When a spare is earned, it is used to calculate the score on the next frame.
A strike is also worth 10 points, but instead of taking the score of the first roll of the next frame, the total score of the next two rolls is taken.
The 10th Frame
The bowler gets an additional roll if a spare is earned and two additional rolls if a strike is earned on the 10th frame. The total number of pins knocked down are added to the running total.
|Pins||5 4||4 /||7 -||X -||X -||X -||5 3||6 /||4 /||X X X|
Let's walk through the above scoring example step by step:
Frame #1: The bowler rolls a five and four for a total of 9 points.
Frame #2: The bowler knocks down four pins and then the remaining 6 pins for a spare. We wait to calculate the running score until the first roll of frame #3 is done
Frame #3: The bowler rolls a 7 - bringing the running score to 26 in frame #2. Remember, when a spare is earned you add on the next roll the running total. The bowler then knocks 0 pins down in the second roll. The total is 33 points.
Frame #4: The bowler knocks all 10 pins down for a strike. We wait to calculate the running total because the next two rolls are added to the score after a strike.
Frame #5: The bowler earns another strike. We still need to wait to calculate the running score for frame #4 and frame #5.
Frame #6: The bowler earns another strike. We can finally calculate frame #4 - we take 33 from frame #3 and add +10 +10 +10 for 63. We do this because on a strike we always add the next rolls.
Frame #7: The bowler rolls a 5 on the first roll. We can calculate frame #5 by taking the running score from frame #4 (63) and adding +10 and +5 for 88. On the second roll, the bowler rolls a 3, so we can calculate frame #6 by adding 88 +10 +5 +3 for 106. Frame #7 total score is 114.
Frame #8: The bowler rolls a 6 and then a 4 for a spare! We wait to calculate the running total until the next roll is done.
Frame #9: The bowler rolls a 4. The score in frame #8 is 114 + 10 + 4 = 128. The bowler makes another spare, but we wait to calculate the running total for frame #9
Frame #10: The bowler rolls a strike. We can calculate frame #9 by taking frame #8 + 10 +10 for 148. Since the bowler got a strike they get to roll two more times. The score in frame #10 is always the total number of pins knocked down. The bowler rolls 3 strikes in frame #10.
What is the highest score you can get in bowling?
It is possible to score a maximum of 300 points in a game of bowling.