What Is the World Bowling Scoring System?

Besides learning how to play the game, one of the essentials of bowling taught to beginners is the scoring system. After all, knowing how much you need to score is necessary if you want to succeed in catching up to your opponent or not letting them do so if you’re in the lead.

As a self-proclaimed ‘competitive person’ who bowls regularly, I can get anxious about the scoring. So if you’re anything like me, you definitely would want to become more familiar with the current scoring system before getting into the game.

The World Bowling Scoring System is also defined as the current frame scoring. The pin values are as follows: A strike for 30 points regardless of the following results, a spare for 10 points including the first roll’s pinfall, and an open frame refers to the current frame’s total pinfall, resulting in a maximum score of 300, which is only achieved with ten strikes in a row.

A New Scoring System

The World Bowling Scoring System is actually a newly established scoring system, introduced to aid Olympic sports goals. In addition, it was supposed to help audiences understand the sport better and increase television viewing traffic.

This scoring system was established after it failed to be included in the Olympic programme in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Therefore, it is part of its evolution in hopes that this will gain them a spot in the Olympics soon.

This current frame scoring retains the ten-frame format of traditional scoring. However, per strike, 30 points are to be counted, with 10 points per spare. To be added to this is the first shot’s pinfall in every frame, and in an open frame, the other pinfall after the two rolls.

Lastly, the maximum score can only be achieved with ten strikes in a row totaling 300 points, and this does not include the bonus pins awarded after the last frame.

An Experimental Scoring System

To create a high impact scoring system that appeals to more audiences, this experimental system with similar features as the one used in golf during the Ryder Cup competition was introduced as the ‘best frame’ system, as explained previously.

In 2016, three competitors were listed to compete in the World Bowling Tour Finals held in Las Vegas in a single-elimination method: Jason Belmonte from Australia, Dom Barrett from England, and Mike Fagan from America.

They will be using the experimental scoring system that was recently introduced to test the water.

World Bowling

Initially known as the International Bowling Federation (IBF) until it was hailed as World Bowling in 2014, the World Bowling is the international federation that governs ninepin and tenpin bowling and is the one that established the official World Bowling Scoring System.

The International Bowling Association leaders founded the IBF in Hamburg, Germany, back in 1952, to cater to the global interest for amateur ninepin and tenpin bowling.

Furthermore, in 1979, the International Olympic Committee acknowledged it as the governing body for bowling. As a result, it grew rapidly from 5 to 141 member federations from 5 regions of the Olympics.

World Bowling is now one of the largest and most reputable sports federations with over 100 million participants, 250,000 bowling lanes, and 10 million competing bowlers.

The main tasks of World Bowling are as follows:

  • Promote and encourage worldwide development of ninepin and tenpin bowling
  • Build international bonds through national and international bowling competitions
  • Earn recognition and have both tenpin and ninepin bowling become officially acknowledged in the Olympic games as an athletic competition.
  • Provide support to national organizations that contribute to promoting both tenpin and ninepin bowling in their respective regions and the world as one.

Traditional Scoring

The traditional scoring system is quite different from the World Bowling Scoring System, given that the World Bowling Scoring System is only a newly established scoring system.

In the traditional type of scoring, each knocked down pin is awarded one point, and when the knocked down pins are less than ten in every two rolls in a frame or an open frame.

This means that the total points will be equivalent to the total number of pins that have been knocked over.

On the other hand, when the bowler knocks down all pins in either the first or second roll per frame or a mark, the bowler will be awarded bonus pins:

  • A Strike is awarded when the first roll knocks down all pins. There will be an ‘X’ mark on the score screen when this happens, and this gives the bowler an initial ten-point plus an additional pinfall on the next two rolls. If a strike occurs in the final frame, they receive two bonus rolls.
  • A Spare is awarded when the second roll knocks down all pins, and it marks an ‘I’ or ‘/’ on the score screen. The bowler is given ten points plus an additional pinfall in the following roll. A spare by the final frame receives one bonus roll.

A Variant of World Bowling Scoring

There is also an existing variation for the World Bowling Scoring System that became known in the World Bowling Tour finals in November 2014.

It is a system of 12 frames and is similar to the match play scoring in golf wherein the winner is identified by counting which player won the higher number of frames instead of determining who got the higher pinfall score.

This means that a player can win a frame by having the higher pin count but lose the match if their opponent wins more frames than them.

Therefore, this variant is a less complex way of scoring and is suited for two-player matches and shortens the duration of the match.

To know more about the World Bowling Scoring System, here are some links that further explain and demonstrate step by step how the ‘best frame’ system works; these videos will also show you the relevance of the scoring system in determining the outcome of the match: