Bowling Rules

Bowling rules were developed many years ago and have been standardized to provide a consistent bowling game no matter where you bowl. American bowling standards are monitored by two groups, the American Bowling Congress, which began in 1895, and the Women’s International Bowling Congress, which came along in 1916.

Bowling rules involve specifications that apply to all types of bowling equipment. Here we will go over the bowling rules for the balls, lanes and pins.

Bowling Ball Rules


The specifications for bowling balls state that the ball must be round and made of solid material. The circumference of a bowling ball cannot be bigger than 27 inches. The minimum weight for a bowling ball is 10 pounds, and the maximum weight is 16 pounds.

Most bowling balls have 3 holes – one each for the thumb, the middle finger and the ring finger. There are also bowling balls additional holes, which may help players to fine-tune their hand position while they are bowling.

Bowling Pin Rules


All bowling pins are made out of hard maple. The standard measurement of a bowling pin is 15 inches tall with a 2.75-inch diameter at the base and a 15-inch circumference at the widest point around the middle. The minimum weight of a bowling pin is 2 pounds 14 ounces, and the maximum weight is 3 pounds 10 ounces.

Bowling Lane Rules

A standard bowling lane has to be 60 feet long, measured from the foul line to the head pin, and have a width of 42 inches. The rules also state that a bowling lane must be level, with an error margin of just 40/10,000s of an inch. The condition of a bowling lane is determined by the oil pattern, which can be oily, medium or dry.