How Long Does a Game of Ten Pin Bowling Take?

I was with my buddies at the local bowling alley unwinding when it struck me! How long does a game of ten-pin bowling take? That got me thinking, so I decided to time our game:

I found it takes about 10 minutes for a single person to finish a 10 frame game of ten-pin bowling. This means that a group of 6 people would finish a game in about an hour – give or take a few minutes.

A game should take about an hour for 6 people

On average, most bowling alleys agree that for a group of 6 people per lane, a game would take at least an hour to complete. That would mean that each person would take 10 minutes to complete a game.

With children, this may take longer as they like to talk, laugh, and crack jokes in between turns. Children should complete a game in slightly over an hour. For that matter, a group of friends out for a good time may also just fool around and take more than an hour per game!

So, is it better to rent a lane by the hour or per game?

Using the calculation that a person finishes a game in about 10 minutes, a single person could benefit by renting a lane by the hour as they would be able to get in many games. Even if he has a friend or two joining him, they could squeeze in a few games in an hour.

Each lane accommodates a maximum of 6 people at most bowling alleys. So, if there are six people, renting by the hour or per game is almost the same.

What if you have a big group of 10 to 12 people?

Well, since most bowling alleys permit a maximum of 6 people per lane, you would have to rent more than one lane. In all probability, if you book in advance, you will get two neighboring lanes to accommodate your group.

However, if your local alley just has two lanes, you would have to book in advance! Please do check with your local bowling alley in case you have a big group going for an evening out.

What if you want to rent the bowling alley for a birthday party?

Once again, you would have to check with your local bowling alley to see if they allow you to conduct a party. In all probability, you would need to book in advance.

In case you want to have a children’s party lasting about two hours, you could plan for an hour of bowling for the kids and about an hour for eating and feasting. Children would take an hour and a half to finish a game, but you would have to keep them motivated as they tend to lose interest very fast.

Make sure you have several adults to assist and help you keep track of boisterous children.

Most bowling alleys insist that you use their in-house catering. And you would have to eat in the designated eating space.

Also, since most bowling alleys also have an attached arcade, you can always let the children have a run-around with the various games in the arcade. Of course, you would need adults to supervise them, but that sounds like a great idea. Having a children’s party at the local bowling alley-cum-arcade where they can play a game of ten-pin bowling or just enjoy the other arcade attractions.

You could explore this option for the next children’s party you want to host. The bowling alley would love the custom and would even give you good suggestions for a great time!

Do bowling alleys have discounted rates?

In all probability, most alleys will have discounted rates for the times when they have low footfalls. However, you would have to check with your local alley for information on rates.

Some bowling alleys may even have discounted rates for bigger groups or if you want to hire the place exclusively for a party. Once again, you will have to check with them for information like this.

Do you need to rent bowling shoes?

This is a valid question. Why do I need to use bowling shoes anyway? We are out for a fun time. Some of us just got back from the office in our formal shoes while some in flip-flops.

Well, it seems that bowling alleys do not want our street shoes to damage the lane approaches with dust and dirt from outside. That is one reason why you need to use bowling shoes only for bowling.

The other reason that is given is that the bowling shoes allow you to slide when bowling. This seems logical and practical. However, do they have shoes for children as well? Most alleys have various sizes of shoes for both children and adults.

Do bowling alleys also supply socks?

Most of them do have socks on sale. Please do check with your local bowling alley for more information. If in doubt, take your socks along.

Final Thoughts

So now we both finally know that it takes about 10 minutes per person to finish a game, give or take a few minutes. We also both know that if we are on our own with time to kill, it may be better to rent a lane by the hour.

At least then that would allow you to get in several games! At this point, you should already have an idea of the average time it takes for a game of ten-pin bowling to last. There can be certain variations to this, with some games taking a bit longer while some taking only less than an hour.