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Bowlingis a sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

 in which players attempt to score points by rolling a bowling ball
Bowling ball
A bowling ball is a spherical ball made from plastic, reactive resin, urethane or a combination of these materials which is used in the sport of bowling. Ten-pin bowling balls generally have a set of three holes drilled in them, one each for the ring and middle finger, and one for the thumb;...

 along a flat surface, usually a wooden or synthetic surface, either into pins
Bowling pin
Bowling pins are the target of the bowling ball in various bowling games including tenpins, five-pins, duckpins, and candlepins. In the US, pin specifications for standard tenpins are set by the United States Bowling Congress. Pins are 4.75 inches wide at their widest point and tall...

 or to get close to a target ball. The most common types include ten-pin
Ten-pin bowling
Ten-pin bowling is a competitive sport in which a player rolls a bowling ball down a wooden or synthetic lane with the objective of scoring points by knocking down as many pins as possible.-Summary:The lane is bordered along its length by semicylindrical channels Ten-pin bowling (commonly just...

, nine-pin
Nine-pin bowling
Nine-pin bowling is a bowling game played primarily in Europe. European championships are held each year. Over 90,000 members are on teams in Germany, often playing in officially registered Bundeskegelbahnen to be found in almost every sizable town...

, candlepin, duckpin
Duckpin bowling
Duckpin bowling is a variation of 10-pin bowling. The balls used in duckpin bowling are 4-3/4 in to 5 in in diameter , weigh 3 lb 6 oz to 3 lb 12 oz each, and lack finger holes...

 and five-pin bowling
Five-pin bowling
Five-pin bowling is a bowling variant which is played only in Canada, where most bowling alleys offer it, either alone or in combination with ten-pin bowling. It was devised around 1909 by Thomas F. Ryan in Toronto, Ontario, at his Toronto Bowling Club, in response to customers who complained that...

, as well as multiple outdoor variations.


There are many forms of bowling: with one of the most recent being ten-pin bowling
Ten-pin bowling
Ten-pin bowling is a competitive sport in which a player rolls a bowling ball down a wooden or synthetic lane with the objective of scoring points by knocking down as many pins as possible.-Summary:The lane is bordered along its length by semicylindrical channels Ten-pin bowling (commonly just...

 also known as the norm. The earliest most primitive forms of bowling can be dated back to Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 and the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. Indeed About 2,000 years ago a similar game evolved between Roman legionaries: it entailed tossing stone objects as close as possible to other stone objects (this game became popular with Roman Soldiers, and eventually evolved into Italian Bocce
Bocce is a ball sport belonging to the boules sport family, closely related to bowls and pétanque with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire...

, or outdoor bowling) .

The first standardized rules were established in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, on September 9, 1895. Today, bowling is enjoyed by 95 million people in more than ninety countries worldwide and continues to grow through entertainment media such as video games for home consoles and handheld devices.

Bowling alleys development

Bowling alley construction was considered “an important facet” of property development in the western United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s, described by the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

as “small cities in themselves”, some of which cost tens of millions of dollars (in 1960s dollars). The Los Angeles Times described developer Louis Lesser
Louis Lesser
Louis Lesser is an American business magnate. He received frequent press coverage in the 1950s and 1960s for his ability to earn money and for his various business operations. He sold the Taj Mahal to New York real estate developer Donald Trump...

 as “the most active in this field” of bowling alley developments.

In 1960, Lesser developed a bowling alley in Indio
Indio, California
Indio is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, located in the Coachella Valley of Southern California's Colorado Desert region. It lies east of Palm Springs, east of Riverside, and east of Los Angeles. It is about north of Mexicali, Baja California on the U.S.-Mexican border...

, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, at a cost of $750,000 ( when adjusted for inflation). In 1959, he built the $2 million ( when adjusted for inflation) “Beach City” Santa Monica Civic Lanes in Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, US. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is surrounded on three sides by the city of Los Angeles — Pacific Palisades on the northwest, Brentwood on the north, West Los Angeles on the northeast, Mar Vista on the east, and...

, also designed to house the Santa Monica Civic Club, and Samoa Lanes at 5th and Broadway in Santa Monica, both with 24 lanes “equipped with automated pinsetter
In bowling, a pinsetter, or pinspotter, was originally a person who manually reset bowling pins to their correct position, cleared fallen pins, and returned bowling balls to players...

s, a billiard room, children’s playroom, coffee shop
A coffeehouse or coffee shop is an establishment which primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. It shares some of the characteristics of a bar, and some of the characteristics of a restaurant, but it is different from a cafeteria. As the name suggests, coffeehouses focus on...

, and cocktail lounge”.

By 1962, Lesser had developed nine bowling alleys. The biggest was Parkway Lanes in El Cajon, California
El Cajon, California
-History:El Cajon is located on the Rancho El Cajon Mexican land grant made in 1845 to María Antonia Estudillo, wife of Miguel Pedrorena. In 1876 Amaziah Lord Knox , a New Englander who had recently moved to California, established a hotel there to serve the growing number of people traveling...

, developed at a cost of $1 million with 60 alleys. It featured five acres for parking. The facility had “varied entertainment rivaling the best in night clubs”, according to the Los Angeles Times, with headliners such as Louis Prima
Louis Prima
Louis Prima was a Sicilian American singer, actor, songwriter, and trumpeter. Prima rode the musical trends of his time, starting with his seven-piece New Orleans style jazz band in the 1920s, then successively leading a swing combo in the 1930s, a big band in the 1940s, a Vegas lounge act in the...

, Lili St. Cyr
Lili St. Cyr
Lili St. Cyr , was a prominent American burlesque stripper.- Early years :She was born as Willis Marie Van Schaack in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1918. She had a sister, Rosemary Van Schaack Minsky...

, Johnny Ray
Johnny Ray
John Cornelius Ray is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who had a 10-year career from 1981 to 1990. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League and the California Angels of the American League...

, Frankie Lane
Frankie Lane
Frankie Lane was an English former footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He began his Football League career with Tranmere Rovers, before joining Liverpool, where he spent four years as reserve goalkeeper...

, and Roberta Linn who appeared at Parkway, developed by Lesser with Irvin Kahn and George Hirsch.

Lesser and Ted Bentley developed Legion Lanes into a 44-lane bowling alley from the Hollywood American Legion Stadium boxing arena, at El Centro and Hollywood Blvd., for $2 million ($ when adjusted for inflation). The facility included a playroom for children, cocktail bar, billiard room, and snack bar. NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 provided its lot for temporary parking during construction, and Milt Enright became manager of the facility.

Also in 1962, Lesser planned development of bowling alleys in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, and Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 as bowling competed with cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, soccer, and rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

 as national pastimes in these countries.

Health benefits

Bowling is an anaerobic
Anaerobic exercise
Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass...

 type of physical exercise
Physical exercise
Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons including strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, honing athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance, as well as for the purpose of...

, similar to walking
Walking is one of the main gaits of locomotion among legged animals, and is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an 'inverted pendulum' gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step...

 with free weights. Bowling helps in burning calories and works muscle groups not usually exercised. The flexing
Muscle contraction
Muscle fiber generates tension through the action of actin and myosin cross-bridge cycling. While under tension, the muscle may lengthen, shorten, or remain the same...

 and stretching
Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific skeletal muscle is deliberately elongated, often by abduction from the torso, in order to improve the muscle's felt elasticity and reaffirm comfortable muscle tone. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility and...

 in bowling works tendon
A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone and is capable of withstanding tension. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, and fasciae connect muscles to other...

s, joint
A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. They are constructed to allow movement and provide mechanical support, and are classified structurally and functionally.-Classification:...

s, ligament
In anatomy, the term ligament is used to denote any of three types of structures. Most commonly, it refers to fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones and is also known as articular ligament, articular larua, fibrous ligament, or true ligament.Ligament can also refer to:* Peritoneal...

s, and muscle
Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

s in the arm
In human anatomy, the arm is the part of the upper limb between the shoulder and the elbow joints. In other animals, the term arm can also be used for analogous structures, such as one of the paired forelimbs of a four-legged animal or the arms of cephalopods...

s and promotes weight loss
Weight loss
Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health or physical fitness, is a reduction of the total body mass, due to a mean loss of fluid, body fat or adipose tissue and/or lean mass, namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon and other connective tissue...

. While most sports are not for elderly people, it is possible to practice bowling very well at advanced ages.

Apart from the physical benefits it also has psychosocial benefits, strengthening friendship
Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association are often thought of as spanning across the same continuum...

s or creating new ones in groups.

Bowling safety

Like any other physical activity, warming up
Warming up
A warm-up is usually performed before participating in technical sports or exercising. A warm-up generally consists of a gradual increase in intensity in physical activity , a joint mobility exercise, stretching and a sport related activity. For example, before running or playing an intense sport...

 helps to prevent injuries. Bowling balls are heavy with varying weight ranges; to avoid back and wrist injury
Repetitive strain injury
Repetitive strain injury is an injury of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by...

, they should be picked up with both hands. When picking a ball, make sure the finger holes are not too big and not too small. You also need a ball that is not too light, but heavy enough you can still throw it with ease. If the ball is too light, you will probably throw it with bad accuracy. It’s also recommended to bend one’s knee
The knee joint joins the thigh with the leg and consists of two articulations: one between the fibula and tibia, and one between the femur and patella. It is the largest joint in the human body and is very complicated. The knee is a mobile trocho-ginglymus , which permits flexion and extension as...

s while picking up bowling balls to avoid back injuries
Back injury
Back injuries result from damage, wear, or trauma to the bones, muscles, or other tissues of the back. Common back injuries include sprains and strains, herniated disks, and fractured vertebrae. The lumbar is often the site of back pain. The area is susceptible because of its flexibility and the...

. The bowling ball return mechanism has a driven wheel, and bowlers should keep their hands clear of it. Bowlers should also warm up their fingers before inserting them into a bowling ball, to ensure that their fingers do not get stuck in the ball.


The most common bowling is ten pin bowling. In ten pin bowling, matches consist of each player bowling a "game." Each game is divided into ten "frames." A frame allows a bowler two chances to knock down all ten pins. The number of pins knocked over in each frame is recorded, a running total is made as each frame progresses, and the player with the highest score in his game wins the match. Scores can be greater than the actual number of pins knocked over if strikes or spares are bowled. A "strike" is scored when a player knocks down all pins on the first roll in the frame. Rather than a score of 10 for the frame, the player's score will be 10 plus the total pins knocked down on the next two rolls in the next frame(s). A "spare" is scored when all pins are knocked down using both rolls in the frame. The player's score for that frame will be 10 plus the number of pins knocked down on the first roll in the next frame. A player who rolls a spare or strike in the last frame is given one or two more rolls to score additional points, respectively.

Two consecutive strikes is known as a "double". Three consecutive strikes is known as a "turkey." Four consecutive strikes is known as a "hambone" or "four bagger". Five consecutive strikes is known as a "five bagger" or "dropping the nickel". Six consecutive strikes is known as a "six-pack". A perfect game consists of 12 consecutive strikes, one for every frame and two more on the extra rolls in the 10th, and results in a score of 300.

A variation is nine pin tap (also called no-tap), a form of bowling where nine pins knocked down counts as a strike.

Ball release techniques and delivery styles

Ball Release

There are typically two different ways to roll a ball down the lane.
  • Straight
Beginners commonly just bowl the ball straight down the lane, hoping to hit the 1 and 2 pocket or the 1 and 3 pocket. When bowling straight like this, people often hold the ball with their hand in a "W" shaped form. What you need to do is actually bowl with the fingers pointing vertically rather than horizontally.

  • Hook/Curve
The hook or curve ball is commonly used by more advanced players. As the bowler releases the ball, the ball starts out straight and then "hooks" because of the rotation the bowler puts on the ball during release. When curving, most people use three fingers while some people use two. Three fingered curvers are more common and say that they have better accuracy.

Delivery Styles

There are three different types of styles used when releasing the ball onto the lane. The three styles are the stroker, cranker and tweener styles.
  • Stroker
People who use the stroker style usually keep their feet square to the foul line. Stroking lessens the ball's spin rate and therefore decreases its hook/curve potential and hitting power. Strokers use finesse and accuracy.
  • Cranker
Crankers try to create as much spin as possible by using a cupped wrist. Bowlers that use the cranking method often cup their wrist, but open the wrist at the top of the swing. Crankers often use late timing, meaning the foot reaches the foul line before the ball does; this is called "plant and pull", hardly using any slide on their last step and pulling the ball upwards for leverage. Crankers rely on speed and power.
  • Tweener
Tweeners are bowlers that release the ball in a way that falls somewhere in between stroking and cranking. Tweeners often release the ball with a higher backswing than is normally used by a stroker or a less powerful wrist position than a cranker.

Types of pins

Five main variations are found in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, varying especially in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 and parts of Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  • ten-pin bowling
    Ten-pin bowling
    Ten-pin bowling is a competitive sport in which a player rolls a bowling ball down a wooden or synthetic lane with the objective of scoring points by knocking down as many pins as possible.-Summary:The lane is bordered along its length by semicylindrical channels Ten-pin bowling (commonly just...

    : largest and heaviest pins, bowled with a large ball with finger holes, and the most popular size in North America
  • nine-pin bowling
    Nine-pin bowling
    Nine-pin bowling is a bowling game played primarily in Europe. European championships are held each year. Over 90,000 members are on teams in Germany, often playing in officially registered Bundeskegelbahnen to be found in almost every sizable town...

    : pins usually attached to strings at the tops, uses a ball without finger holes
  • candlepin: tallest pins, thin with matching ends, and bowled with a handheld ball
  • duckpin
    Duckpin bowling
    Duckpin bowling is a variation of 10-pin bowling. The balls used in duckpin bowling are 4-3/4 in to 5 in in diameter , weigh 3 lb 6 oz to 3 lb 12 oz each, and lack finger holes...

    : short, squat, and bowled with a handheld ball
  • five-pin bowling
    Five-pin bowling
    Five-pin bowling is a bowling variant which is played only in Canada, where most bowling alleys offer it, either alone or in combination with ten-pin bowling. It was devised around 1909 by Thomas F. Ryan in Toronto, Ontario, at his Toronto Bowling Club, in response to customers who complained that...

    : tall, between duckpins and candlepins in diameter with a rubber girdle, bowled with a handheld ball, mostly found in Canada


Bowling ball
Bowling ball
A bowling ball is a spherical ball made from plastic, reactive resin, urethane or a combination of these materials which is used in the sport of bowling. Ten-pin bowling balls generally have a set of three holes drilled in them, one each for the ring and middle finger, and one for the thumb;...

s vary, depending on the type of bowling game. Ten-pin balls are large, up to 27 inches in circumference (approximately 8.59 inches diameter), and have as many as five holes for gripping purposes. The balls come in various weights as high as 16lbs, with the size and spacing of the finger holes often smaller on lighter balls to accommodate smaller hands. Different kinds of balls are available for different styles of bowling. There are balls for curving and balls for bowling straight. Balls for other games vary, e.g., candlepin balls which fit in the palm of the hand need no holes. Unlike most sports, the ball can be different weights based upon the player.


Bowling shoes possess an intermediate style between regular dress shoes and the athletic type. The sole of the non sliding foot is generally made of rubber similar to that of a basketball sneaker to create stability, while the sliding foot is made of a much softer material that allows a bowler to slide into his release. These shoes can be bought, but most casual players rent the shoes each visit to a facility. Players must be very careful while wearing them that the soft material does not get wet; if it does get wet, it will not slide properly.


A bowling glove is a glove with a metal wrist support and a textured face that offers support in order to enhance grip. There are different glove styles, including those with a full metal finger design and ones with an uncovered portion for the middle and ring fingers. There are also wristguards. They allow a bowler to keep their wrist locked into place to generate revolutions on a ball.

Outdoor variations

Another form of bowling is usually played outdoors on a lawn. At outdoor bowling, the players throw a ball, which is sometimes eccentrically weighted, in an attempt to put it closest to a designated point or slot in the bowling arena.
Included in the outdoor category:
  • Bocce
    Bocce is a ball sport belonging to the boules sport family, closely related to bowls and pétanque with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire...

  • Bowls ("Lawn bowls")
    Bowls is a sport in which the objective is to roll slightly asymmetric balls so that they stop close to a smaller "jack" or "kitty". It is played on a pitch which may be flat or convex or uneven...

  • Cherokee marbles
    Cherokee marbles
    Cherokee marbles , or five hole, is a traditional game among the Cherokee people of the United States.-The game:It is played, traditionally, with round balls made of stone, but now sometimes with standard billiard balls...

  • Irish road bowling
    Irish Road Bowling
    Irish road bowling is an ancient sport. It is centered in Ireland - primarily in County Armagh and County Cork. However, it also has players in Boston, Massachusetts; Cambridge, New York, and Bennington, Vermont, vicinity; Traverse City, Michigan; the Bronx, New York; New Zealand; Asheville, North...

  • Lane/alley bowling
  • Mölkky
    Mölkky is a Finnish throwing game invented by Tuoterengas company in 1996. It is reminiscent of kyykkä, a centuries old throwing game with Karelian roots. However, mölkky does not require as much physical strength as kyykkä, and is more suitable for everyone regardless of age and condition...

  • Pétanque
    Pétanque is a form of boules where the goal is, while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground, to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet or jack. It is also sometimes called a bouchon or le petit...


Major tournaments

  • World Series of Bowling
  • AMF World Cup
    AMF World Cup
    The AMF World Cup, now a joint partnership between Qubica and AMF , is an annual Ten-pin bowling championship, and one of the largest in terms of number of participating nations...

  • Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships
    Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships
    Following the introduction of Tenpin Bowling in the programme of the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Federation was formed.-Stirling 2002:...

  • PBA World Championship
    PBA World Championship
    The PBA World Championship is one of the four major PBA bowling events. Prior to 2002, the tournament was called the PBA National Championship. The PBA National Championship was first contested in 1960, then called the First Annual National Championship...

  • World Ranking Masters
    World Ranking Masters
    The World Ranking Masters is Ten-pin bowling's international ranking system, as with professional Tennis. It is governed by the World Tenpin Bowling Association ....

  • World Tenpin Masters
    World Tenpin Masters
    The World Tenpin Masters is an annual Ten-pin bowling tournament. It consists of a single lane surrounded by banked seating on both sides to give the event the kind of high-pressure atmosphere that makes the Masters the world’s leading televised bowling tournament.The event is televised by...

  • WTBA World Tenpin Bowling Championships
    WTBA World Tenpin Bowling Championships
    The WTBA World Championships is a global event that invites all countries that are members of the WTBA to participate.-Event details and history:...

  • USBC Open Championships

Multi-sport events

  • Asian Games
    Asian Games
    The Asian Games, officially known as Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games. Since the 1982 Games they have been organised by the...

  • Asian Youth Games
    Asian Youth Games
    The Asian Youth Games is an international multi-sport event held every four years to complement the current Asian Games. The first Asian Youth Games was hosted by Singapore as a test in preparation for Youth Olympic Games ....

  • Bolivarian Games
    Bolivarian Games
    The Bolivarian Games are a regional multi-sport event held in honor of Simón Bolívar, and organized by the Bolivarian Sports Organization...

  • Central American and Caribbean Games
    Central American and Caribbean Games
    The Central American and Caribbean Games are a multi-sport regional championships event, held quadrennial , typically in the middle year between Summer Olympics...

  • Mediterranean Games
    Mediterranean Games
    The Mediterranean Games are a multi-sport games held every four years, mainly for nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea, where Europe, Africa and Asia meet. The idea was proposed at the 1948 Summer Olympics by Muhammed Taher Pasha, chairman of the Egyptian Olympic Committee, and they were first...

  • Pan American Games
    Pan American Games
    The Pan-American or Pan American Games are a major event in the Americas featuring summer and formerly winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Pan American Games are the second largest multi-sport event after the Summer Olympics...

  • South American Games
    South American Games
    The South American Games , formerly the Southern Cross Games are a regional multi-sport event held between nations from South America, organized by the South American Sports Organization .The first...

  • Southeast Asian Games
    Southeast Asian Games
    The Southeast Asian Games , is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia...

  • Special Olympics World Games
    Special Olympics World Games
    The Special Olympics World Games are an international sporting competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities, organized by Special Olympics....

  • Olympic Games
    Olympic Games
    The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

    ; there has been debate whether ten-pin bowling should be included
  • World Games
    World Games
    The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games...

In films

The sport has been the subject of a number of "bowling films", which prominently feature the sport of bowling. Examples include:
  • 7-10 Split (film)
    7-10 Split (film)
    7-10 Split is a 2007 American film starring Ross Patterson, Tara Reid, and Vinnie Jones. It has been released in a few European markets in 2007, and Japan in 2008. It has been renamed as Strike for its U.S...

    (2007), renamed Strike for its USA DVD release in 2009
  • Alley Cats Strike
    Alley Cats Strike
    Alley Cats Strike is a 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie produced by Rastar. It premiered on March 18, 2000.- Plot :A citywide Jr. High sports rivalry erupts when the competing schools manage to split the year-long series of athletic events...

    , a 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie
  • The Big Lebowski
    The Big Lebowski
    The Big Lebowski is a 1998 comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who is referred to as "The Dude". After a case of mistaken identity, The Dude is introduced to a millionaire also named...

    (1998), bowling played a pivotal role in the film and at film festivals and figured prominently in the film's promotional advertisements
  • Dreamer (1979 film)
    Dreamer (1979 film)
    Dreamer is a direct-to-video film that was released on video on April 27, 1979. It was directed by Noel Nosseck, written by Larry Bischof and James Proctor, and stars Tim Matheson as "the Dreamer" and Susan Blakely as Karen...

    , a direct-to-video film
  • The Golden Years (film), a 1960 sponsored film that promoted bowling as a family sport
  • Kingpin (film)
    Kingpin (film)
    Kingpin is a 1996 slapstick comedy film directed by the Farrelly brothers and starring Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel, and Bill Murray...

    , a 1996 slapstick comedy film
  • Spare Me (film)
    Spare Me (1992 film)
    Spare Me is a 1992 "bowling noir" film that, as one film reviewer wrote, "twists conventions of the Western and thriller genres within its parallel universe of bowling monomania." Matthew Harrison's feature film directorial debut, the 16mm feature was made for less than $80,000 US and won awards at...

    , a 1992 "bowling noir" film
  • A League of Ordinary Gentlemen
    A League of Ordinary Gentlemen
    A League of Ordinary Gentlemen is a documentary film about ten-pin bowling that was released on DVD on March 21, 2006. It was written and directed by Christopher Browne and stars PBA Tour players Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Chris Barnes, and Wayne Webb...

    , a documentary film about 10-pin bowling that was released on DVD on March 21, 2006 and stars four PBA Tour
    PBA Tour
    The Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour is the major professional tour for ten-pin bowling, operated by the Professional Bowlers Association. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the PBA Tour consists of "exempt" bowlers who are a part of the almost 4,300 members worldwide...

  • Strikes and Spares
    Strikes and Spares
    Strikes and Spares is a 1934 short sports film directed by Felix E. Feist. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1934 for Best Short Subject .-Cast:* Pete Smith - Narrator * Andy Varipapa - Himself - World's Greatest Bowling Fixture...

    (1934), a sports shorts film that was nominated for a 1934 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (novelty)

Bowling is an important theme in other films, as well.
  • Bowling for Columbine
    Bowling for Columbine
    Bowling for Columbine is a 2002 documentary film written, directed, produced, and narrated by Michael Moore. The film explores what Michael Moore suggests are the causes for the Columbine High School massacre and other acts of violence with guns...

    (2002), Michael Moore
    Michael Moore
    Michael Francis Moore is an American filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. He is the director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, which is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. His films Bowling for Columbine and Sicko also place in the top ten highest-grossing documentaries...

    's documentary addressing the 1999 Columbine High School massacre
    Columbine High School massacre
    The Columbine High School massacre occurred on Tuesday, April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States, near Denver and Littleton. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing 12...

    , features multiple bowling themes.

In shorts

  • The Bowling Alley Cat
    The Bowling Alley Cat
    The Bowling Alley Cat is a 1942 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 7th Tom and Jerry short. It was produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on July 18, 1942 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and reissued for re-release in 1948.-Plot:...

    is a 1942
    1942 in film
    The year 1942 in film involved some significant events, in particular the release of a film consistently rated as one of the greatest of all time, Casablanca.-Events:...

     one-reel animated cartoon
    Animated cartoon
    An animated cartoon is a short, hand-drawn film for the cinema, television or computer screen, featuring some kind of story or plot...

     and is the 7th Tom and Jerry
    Tom and Jerry
    Tom and Jerry are the cat and mouse cartoon characters that were evolved starting in 1939.Tom and Jerry also may refer to:Cartoon works featuring the cat and mouse so named:* The Tom and Jerry Show...

    Short subject
    A short film is any film not long enough to be considered a feature film. No consensus exists as to where that boundary is drawn: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as "an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all...

    . It was produced in Technicolor
    Technicolor is a color motion picture process invented in 1916 and improved over several decades.It was the second major process, after Britain's Kinemacolor, and the most widely used color process in Hollywood from 1922 to 1952...

     and released to theatres on July 18, 1942 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and reissued for re-release in 1948.

On television

  • In The Flintstones (which imitated and spoofed The Honeymooners and The Jackie Gleason Show), "bronto
    Apatosaurus , also known by the popular but scientifically deprecated synonym Brontosaurus, is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived from about 154 to 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period . It was one of the largest land animals that ever existed, with an average length of and a...

    " crane operator Fred Flintstone
    Fred Flintstone
    Frederick Joseph “Fred” Flintstone, also known as Fred W. Flintstone or Frederick J. Flintstone, is the protagonist of the animated sitcom The Flintstones, which aired during prime-time on ABC during the original series' run from 1960-66. He is the husband of Wilma Flintstone and father of Pebbles...

     and his next-door neighbor and sidekick, Barney Rubble
    Barney Rubble
    Bernard "Barney" Rubble is the deuteragonist of the television animated series The Flintstones. He is the diminutive blonde-haired caveman husband of Betty Rubble and father of Bamm-Bamm Rubble...

    , often bowl. Fred is an avid bowler who has won championships based on his incredible bowling skills. A number of episodes address Fred and Barney's bowling adventures, such as:
    • In "Wilma's Vanishing Money" (1962-01-26), Fred steals Wilma's money to buy a bowling ball, while Wilma thinks it's a burglar who stole it. She, meanwhile, was planning to use the money to buy Fred that ball he wanted for his birthday.
    • In "Bowling Ballet (aka Rush-in Ballet)" (1962, 10-05), Fred goes so far as to take ballet lessons in order to improve his game, which leads to his nickname "Twinkletoes". The nickname of "Twinkletoes" stuck with him when Fred attended a local college and became eligible to play on their football team, and it became his call sign.
    • In "Seeing Doubles" (1965-12-17), Fred and Barney have a bowling game on Friday night, the night that they are to take Wilma and Betty out to dinner. After failing to convince the wives to let them go bowling, The Great Gazoo
      The Great Gazoo
      The Great Gazoo is a character from The Flintstones animated series. He first appeared on the show on October 29, 1965. The Great Gazoo was voiced by the late Harvey Korman.-Biography:...

       makes two robots that look like Fred and Barney. The robots can only say "yes" and "no" and they take the wives to dinner while Fred and Barney go bowling. The robotic doubles, however, take Wilma and Betty to the most expensive restaurant in town and cause havoc the entire night. It's up to Fred and Barney to round them up and bring them back to Gazoo in order for them to be snapped out.
  • In The Honeymooners
    The Honeymooners
    The Honeymooners is an American situation comedy television show, based on a recurring 1951–'55 sketch of the same name. It originally aired on the DuMont network's Cavalcade of Stars and subsequently on the CBS network's The Jackie Gleason Show hosted by Jackie Gleason, and filmed before a live...

    and Jackie Gleason Show, bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason
    Jackie Gleason
    Jackie Gleason was an American comedian, actor and musician. He was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy style, especially by his character Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners, a situation-comedy television series. His most noted film roles were as Minnesota Fats in the drama film The...

    ) and sewer worker Ed "Lillywhite" Norton (Art Carney
    Art Carney
    Arthur William Matthew “Art” Carney was an American actor in film, stage, television and radio. He is best known for playing Ed Norton, opposite Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden in the situation comedy The Honeymooners....

    ) belonged to a fraternal organization called the Brooklyn Water Buffalo Lodge and regularly bowled on its team, "The Hurricanes", at the Acme Bowling Alley.
  • In episode 86-4.14 of Roseanne
    Roseanne (TV series)
    Roseanne is an American sitcom broadcast on ABC from October 18, 1988 to May 20, 1997. Starring Roseanne Barr, the show revolved around the Conners, an Illinois working class family...

    , titled "The Bowling Show", Dan Conner (John Goodman
    John Goodman
    John Stephen Goodman is an American film, television, and stage actor. He is best known for his role as Dan Conner on the television series Roseanne for which he won a Best Actor Golden Globe Award in 1993, and for appearances in the films of the Coen brothers, with prominent roles in Raising...

    ) and Arnie Thomas (Tom Arnold
    Tom Arnold (actor)
    Thomas Dwaine "Tom" Arnold is an American actor and comedian. He has appeared in many films, perhaps most notably True Lies . He was the host of The Best Damn Sports Show Period for four years.-Early life:...

    ) try to bring their bowling team out of last place in their league.
  • Bowling featured prominently in Laverne & Shirley
    Laverne & Shirley
    Laverne & Shirley is an American television situation comedy that ran on ABC from January 26, 1976, to May 10, 1983...

    ; Laverne (Penny Marshall
    Penny Marshall
    Penny Marshall is an American actress, producer and director.After playing several small roles for television, she was cast as Laverne DeFazio in the sitcom Laverne and Shirley...

    )'s Italian-born father, Frank De Fazio (Phil Foster
    Phil Foster
    Phil Foster was an American actor and performer. He is best known for playing Frank De Fazio on the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley.- Biography :...

    ), runs the Pizza Bowl, a local hang out featuring pizza, beer, and bowling.
  • In episode 221 of "The Andy Griffith Show", titled "Howard the Bowler" (originally aired September 18, 1967), Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson
    Jack Dodson
    Jack Dodson Born John S. Dodson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was an American television actor best remembered for the milquetoast character Howard Sprague in The Andy Griffith Show and its spin-off Mayberry R.F.D. From 1959 until his death in 1994, Dodson was married to television art director...

    ) fills in on the bowling team and rolls a perfect game. (Citation: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0512500/)

In gaming

  • 4-Player Bowling Alley
    4-Player Bowling Alley
    4-Player Bowling Alley is a 4-player, monochrome, ten-pin bowling arcade game released by Midway in 1979. This featured the "Flash" variation with its timing-based scoring scheme. To support this, an external display was used to highlight the appropriate section of the score scheme.-External...

     is a 4-player, monochrome, ten-pin bowling arcade game
    Arcade game
    An arcade game is a coin-operated entertainment machine, usually installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars, and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are video games, pinball machines, electro-mechanical games, redemption games, and merchandisers...

     released by Midway Games
    Midway Games
    Midway Games, Inc. is an American company that was formerly a major video game publisher. Following a bankruptcy filing in 2009, it is no longer active and is in the process of liquidating all of its assets. Midway's titles included Mortal Kombat, Ms.Pac-Man, Spy Hunter, Tron, Rampage, the...

     in 1979. This featured the "Flash".
  • Alley Master
    Alley Master
    Alley Master is a Tenpin bowling arcade game released by Cinematronics in 1986.-External links:* at...

     is a ten-pin bowling arcade game released by Cinematronics
    Cinematronics Incorporated was a pioneering arcade game developer that had its heyday in the era of vector display games. While other companies released games based on raster displays, early in their history, Cinematronics and Atari released vector-display games, which offered a distinctive look...

     in 1986.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
    Grand Theft Auto IV
    Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open world action video game published by Rockstar Games, and developed by British games developer Rockstar North. It has been released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and for the Windows operating system...

  • Playstation Home
    PlayStation Home
    PlayStation Home is a virtual 3D social gaming network developed by Sony Computer Entertainment's London Studio for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network . It is available directly from the PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar under PlayStation Network. Membership is free, and only requires a PSN...

  • Wii Sports
    Wii Sports
    is a sports game developed and published by Nintendo as a launch title for the Wii video game console , and part of the Touch! Generations. The game was first released in North America along with the Wii on November 19, 2006, and was released in Japan, Australia, and Europe the following month...

  • Tekken Tag Tournament
    Tekken Tag Tournament
    is the fourth installment in the popular Tekken fighting game series. It, however, is not canonical to the Tekken storyline. The game was originally available as an update kit for Tekken 3. Tekken Tag Tournament was originally released as an arcade game before it was ported to the PlayStation 2...

See also

  • Automatic scorer
    Automatic scorer
    An automatic scorer is the computerized scoring system introduced into bowling alleys in the 1970s. The use of automatic scorers took away the task of keeping score by hand. This also introduced new bowlers to the game that otherwise would not participate. Most modern systems not only tally the...

  • Battle of the Bowling Alley
    Battle of the Bowling Alley
    In the Battle of the Bowling Alley , United Nations forces defeated North Korean forces early in the Korean War near the city of Taegu, South Korea. The battle took place in a narrow valley, dubbed the "Bowling Alley", which was north of Taegu...

    , so named for the narrow valley north of Taegu, South Korea (dubbed the "Bowling Alley"), where United National forces defeated North Korean forces early in the Korean War
  • Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs
    Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs
    The Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs is the world governing body of nine-pin and ten-pin bowling...

     (FIQ), the top international bowling organization
  • New Zealand Indoor Bowls
    New Zealand Indoor Bowls
    New Zealand Indoor Bowls is a form of Indoor bowls that is a highly competitive strategic sport. As its only international fixture is a Trans-Tasman event played under Trans-Tasman rules, it is a sport unique to New Zealand....

  • Pinsetter
    In bowling, a pinsetter, or pinspotter, was originally a person who manually reset bowling pins to their correct position, cleared fallen pins, and returned bowling balls to players...

  • Skee ball
    Skee ball
    Skee ball is a common arcade game and one of the first redemption games. It is similar to bowling except it is played on an inclined lane and the player aims to get the ball to fall into a hole rather than knock down pins...

     — a game that plays similar to bowling
  • Skittles
    Skittles (sport)
    Skittles is an old European lawn game, a variety of bowling, from which ten-pin bowling, duckpin bowling, and candlepin bowling in the United States, and five-pin bowling in Canada are descended. In the United Kingdom, the game remains a popular pub game in England and Wales, though it tends to be...

    , the sport from which alley-based bowling originated