What Is The Average Bowling Score?

Maybe you have been to the bowling alley with your friends and found you have won a few games quite handily, we bet you wondered what the average score for bowling is, and how you would stack up against it.

What Is The Average Bowling Score

Are you playing against people who are below average, or are you a potential candidate to be considered for competitive bowling competitions?

If you are thinking of engaging with the latter, then it can be worth getting a good idea of the opposition and where you ended up in order to compete with the best.

Regardless of your reasons, we have found out everything you need to know about the average bowling score and how to measure yourself against it. Keep reading to find out.

How Do You Score In Bowling?

Let’s start with the basics, as it may be worth considering how bowling is scored in the first place

Each player plays ten ‘frames’ per game, with a max of 2 throws in each frame. In the last frame, if you score a strike or a spare you also get an extra turn, but only in this last frame.

To put it simply, bowling is scored by tallying up the amount of pins you successfully knock down each frame and keeping a record of the total number.

A strike means that you get 10 points because you have knocked over all the pins in your first throw, after this your score from the entire next frame is added to the 10 points scored from the strike.

Similarly, a spare is when you knock over all the pins in two throws, after this your score from your first throw of the next frame is added to the score of the spare.

What’s The Average Score?

Of course, the average score in bowling, following the common scoring method we described in the previous section, will be dependent on your proficiency. What is average for a league bowler will be much different to the average for a beginner or a child.

The scores we mention will not include scores made with additional help such as gutter barriers or the ramp that children use.

What Is A Perfect Game?

It makes sense to identify what the best score is you can get in bowling, so we have something to compare an average score to. 

Well, if math serves us right, you can get a 300 score in bowling which does happen occasionally in the highest levels of the game.

In order to reach this maximum score you must score nine consecutive strikes and score three final pins in the final frame in order to hit that 300 maximum points.

For those interested in world records, Ben Katola scored a perfect game in 86.9 seconds as an assistant manager at a bowling alley after setting up in an empty bowling alley.

Conversely, Fero Williams is the person who has bowled the most perfect games with a record of 135 perfect games, wow!

Average Score For Beginners

You may have never played bowling before, and are looking for guidance within this article on rules and average scores. Don’t worry, you won’t make too much of a fool of yourself, bowling is pretty recreational and easy so there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Generally, a first or second time player should expect to get below 100 points, usually below 90 although you might get a lucky spare, a strike, or just find you are a natural!

Average Score For Recreational Player

For those who enjoy going bowling with their friends and family, having a few drinks while they do it, making a day out of bowling as a special occasion for a birthday or celebration, rather than taking it seriously, you might consider yourself a recreational player.

Even as a recreational player you may have some experience playing bowling and may even find yourself winning more of these matches than losing.

The average score in this setting could be anywhere from 90 – 150 might be considered your ‘average’ score that most bowlers will be within at this recreational level.

Average Score For A League Player

The next step up would be to enter the world of semi professional bowling. If you find you exceed a score of 120 most games, and even find yourself getting higher than that on a good day, you may want to consider entering your local bowling league if you fancy it.

On average, a competitive bowling player who wants to win a competitive match, rather than playing recreationally should be scoring around 120 – 200, depending on the level of skill your league is which can differ per player, of course.

Average Score For A Professional Player

If you are genuinely interested in making a living from bowling, dedicating your life to its practice, and being able to compete with some of the best players in the world, then the average score here is a little different.

Most professional leagues may ask you to declare your general average score before joining or at least have heard about your scores through word of mouth in the bowling community. Perhaps after winning some local leagues.

What Is The Average Bowling Score (1)

In any case, for most professional players if you actually want to compete with the best, you need to be aiming for a perfect score and not falling too far short.

This means you need to score around 220 – 280, this is generally where most professional bowlers are scoring. Anything below 200 would be a quite bad game.

How To Improve Your Bowling Score

The most sure fire way to increase your bowling score is to aim for strikes and spares, you don’t want to leave a frame without clearing the alley, this should be your main aim if you want to score high.

Most professional players are really ‘bowling’ how most recreational players would, they are generally trying to get a perfect game and their score is usually a reflection of how successful they were in  doing that.

If a professional player does not clear the alley in their frame, by getting a spare or strike, they will generally fall fairly below the score of other players.

So, for actionable advice as a recreational player aspiring to this standard, you want to perfect your technique for clearing the alley. For clearing the alley, the thing you want to focus on the most is actually two things.

You want to focus on where your ball hits the cluster of pins; in general, you want your ball to hit either just right or just left of the pin closest to you. This should work in tandem with the technique of your throw.

For general technique you want to roll as straight as possible in order to utilize the point of impact to clear the alley.

This involves making sure your wrist moves as little as possible, making sure your hand remains behind the ball all the way through the throw as well as keeping a good frame with your body.

If your ball is super straight and hits the most forward pin slightly off center, the force should clear the whole alley and score a strike.

If you aim to achieve this and fail then you should be able to clear up the rest of the alley and get a spare which will increase your score.

In Summary

So, there you have it, the average scores for each skill of a player in bowling.

To summarize, a beginner player who is new to the game or played only a handful of times should score somewhere below or equal to 100 points approximately.

A competitive player who has played and won a good few games, and enjoys being competitive with friends or a local league, would be happy with a score of approximately 150 to 200.

In the professional bowling leagues you must be scoring over 200, most players are aiming for a perfect 300 game, so generally end up with an average score of around 220-270.

Bowling is a mainly recreational game, that is to say it is mainly about having fun. While some do take it seriously and enjoy its competition, competition is always based on those you are playing with.

If you find you can breach the 200 points mark, then you might be a really good player. On average anything between 80-120 would be a respectable score for a recreational player.

Drew Kaufner