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Bowling Scorekeeping

Sports, recreation
Went Obsolete
When did this skill become obsolete?
Made Obsolete By
Automated scorekeeping devices in bowling alleys.
Knowledge Assumed
What does the reader need to know to use this guide?
When useful
When is this skill still useful?

You used to get handed a pencil and a paper score sheet at a bowling alley. These days, score is automatically kept for you on a monitor. I wouldn't be surprised if a fair number of people don't know how the game is scored. Of course, I also would not be surprised if bowling lane owners were eager to put the automated devices in because people used to sneak in a few extra "practice" frames without recording them.

Oh, I suppose I should describe the actual skill:

In bowling, each frame is scored as the number of pins knocked down in that frame. Additionally, if you get a strike (knocking down all the pins with the first ball), you get 10 + the pins knocked down with the next two balls (the next one or two frames). If you get a spare (knocking down all the remaining pins with your second ball), you get 10 + the pins knocked down with the next ball (next frame). Strikes or spares are referred to as "marking" in a frame, and you have to wait for your next frame (or possibly two) to see how many points to award, and that frame is left unscored until the bowler is up again. On the tenth (last) frame, the bowler is permitted to roll any extra balls needed to score the frame immediately. In order to score more than 20 on a frame, you have to get two consecutive strikes (10 + 10 + the first ball of the next frame). Three consecutive strike frames (called a "turkey") gives you the maximum 30 on the first of the three frames. Rolling 12 strikes (10 strike frames plus two extra strikes at the end to score the last frame) gives you the highest possible score of 300.

The score sheet has a series of 10 boxes representing the frame, and each frame box usually has two little boxes in the upper right corner. You keep a running total in the frame boxes, and enter the number of pins for each ball in the two little boxes in the corner. On a strike, you place an "x" in the first corner box. On a spare, you draw a slash across the second box. Marks mean that you will be leaving the frame box blank until subsequent frames. The tenth frame has three boxes rather than two in the corner, so that you can record all the extra balls. Some people note splits on the score sheet, too, but it doesn't affect the scoring.

A scoresheet:

Other references


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2008-02-21 15:46:31   I was recently bowling on a league and the automated scoring system went out. what a hoot trying to find someone who could actually remember how to do it manually. —

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