This page is for the unusual  but interesting facts about bowling

Bowling Pins:-

  • are 15 inches tall and 4.75 inches wide in their middle.
  • they weigh 3lb 10oz (1640 grams).
  • there are 20 pins in a machine (up to 10 on the pin deck and the rest ready for the next frame).
  • at Tolworth they have two sets of 20 pins per machine; one being washed then rested each month whilst the others are in the machine.

Bowling Balls:-

  • Have a diameter of 8.5 to 8.595 inches (21.59 to 21.83 cm)
  • Maximum out of balance from side to side is 3 oz (85grams)
  • have a maximum weight of 16 lbs
  • there is no minimum weight although 6 lbs is the lightest normally used

Did you know a bowling ball can pass between two pins standing behind each other?

The distance between bases of two pins behind each other is 20.75 inches. This means the gap between the pins is 16 inches (20.75 – 4.75 ~ the width of a bowling pin). A bowling ball is only 8.5 inches wide so……… there is plenty of room for the ball to pass between the two pins if it is turning across the lane.

This also explains why it is so easy to miss hitting both pins when trying to spare them. There is a lot of room for the ball to go one way and the front pin the other leaving the back standing – untouched!

Pin Arrangement and Numbers


The diagram below shows the arrangement of the pins and the number associated with each. The pins are arranged in triangles with a length of 12 inches on each side.

This also shows visually the gap between pins standing behind each other such as 3 and 9. As explained above, this distance is 20.75 inches – BIG GAP.


The pocket is the ideal place for a bowling ball to strike the pins to get a strike. For right handers, it is between the 1 and 3 pins whilst for left handers it is between the 1 and 2 pins. Ideally a ball hits the pocket at an angle towards the 5 pin which helps the ball to hit the 5 pin and get a strike. 


The term is used for when a ball hits the pins on the opposite side to the pocket and gets a strike – between 1 and 2 pins for a right hander ; 1 and 3 for a left hander.

The term came from New York where going Brooklyn was a term for crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge  to Manhattan.


Aiming arrows are part of a standard lane at 15 foot from the foul line. Instructors will refer to the desired target by number with the number 4 arrow being the centre arrow.

The number 1 arrow is the closest arrow to the gutter; for right handed bowlers this is the right hand gutter and – yes you have guessed it – for left hand bowlers it is the left gutter.

This means that if a bower is aiming at second arrow, it creates the same path to the pins for left-hand or right-hand bowler but on different sides of the lane.


A nickname for the 5–7–10 split. Usually is announced by a great cheer from all the other bowlers; an embarrassment that most are glad to avoid but not leaving this unusual split.

 Dutch 200

A 200 game made up of just successive strikes and spares (a strike followed by a spare scores 20 for the frame and a spare followed by a strike will also score 20 for that frame – do that 10 times and the score is 10 x 20 = 200). 

This pattern of bowling can happen if the two lanes are slightly different and the bowler can only find the ideal place for a strike on one of the pair of lanes.

Perfect Game

A Perfect Game is one of 12 strikes (10 frames with strikes plus two bonus frames to give the bonus pins required for the score of the 10th frame).

People will start noticing a bowler with a string of strikes towards the 8th frame and by the tenth frame a crowd has gathered. On the 10th frame each ball is cheered on its way down the lane and the strike is greeted by a roar of approval. The final strike is greeted by an even louder roar which is projected down the lane towards the bowler.

Local bowler Elliot Crosby is currently the youngest bowler to roll a 300. He was just was 12 years and 71 days old when he rolled the game at AMF Purley in the Surrey Trials. Elliot in his time has been a regular bowler at Tolworth and Raynes Park (before it closed).

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