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The History of Bowling

Glenn Hamilton

Most people think of bowling as a fun indoor game that can be played with family or friends. When most individuals think of bowling they think of going to a bowling establishment, renting a pair of shoes, picking up a ball and trying to knock down all ten-pins in either one or two tries. This is done ten times in a full bowling game. There are however many different types of bowling, other than the traditional ten-pin bowling, that have been played for centuries around the world.

The earliest form of bowling known to exist has been traced back to ancient Egyptian time, around 5,000 BC. The ancient Egyptians rolled stones at various objects with the goal of knocking them over. Over time, various varieties of bowling emerged from the Ancient Egyptian game. Variations of the sport range from traditional ten-pin bowling to nine-pin bowling, candle pin bowling, duck pin bowling, and five-pin bowling. Additionally, two other forms of the game are also extremely popular to this day; these are lawn bowling and bocce, both of which are still played today.

As with most popular sports, bowling has terminology of its own which individuals in the sport are expected to know and understand. For example, knocking down all the pins with one bowled ball is known as a strike, if you know all the pins down with two balls it is called a spare, and if you leave a gap between the pins, it is called a split. These are just a couple of the common terms heard regularly during bowling games.

While bowling is a fun and relaxing sport, there are a few minor risks involved. Bowling ball weights vary, with the maximum weight being 16 pounds. The motion of bowling along with the weight of the ball can put a strain on your hand, wrist, arm and shoulder. In addition, the motion of the delivery can also cause strain on the bowler's back and legs. Preventative measures such as properly stretching prior to exercise can reduce stress and strain.

Origins and History of Bowling

  • History of Bowling – On this useful page an overview of the history of bowling complete with a timeline, is provided.
  • Brief History – Provided on this resource, individuals can review a brief history of the sport of bowling, bowling trivia, and information on where the future of bowling is headed.
  • History and Facts – The Iowa Bowling Proprietors Association provides this page of basic information and little known facts about the history of bowling to those interested in the sport.
  • A History of Bowling – Now one of the most popular sports in the world, information from the International Bowling Museum about the history of the sport is available on this page.
  • Bowling History – This brief, but useful article details some of the history of the sport.

Types of Bowling

  • Nine-pin Rules – The rules and history of nine-pin bowling are made available on this page from the Bulverde Bowling Club.
  • Candle Pin Bowling - Information on the game is provided here, from the International Candle Pin Bowling Association.
  • Duck Pin Bowling – Provided on this website is information on the history and rules of duck pin bowling.
  • Bocce History – This page discusses the origin and history of bocce.
  • Candlepin Bowling – Additional information on Candlepin bowling is provided on this page.

Bowling Equipment

  • Purchasing a Bowling Ball – Terminology and information on what to know when purchasing a bowling ball.
  • Pin Action – This resource provides a scientific explanation of why pins react the way they do when struck.

Bowling Terminology

  • Bowling Lingo – Provided here is a listing of several terms that are used in the game of bowling.
  • Lawn Bowls Terminology – Page with information on the terminology used in lawn bowling.
  • Bowling Glossary – This list of bowling terms is provided alphabetically to make it easy to identify what certain terms mean.
  • Bowling Terms – Find a lengthy and informative glossary explaining some of the terms found in bowling.

Bowling Safety and Etiquette

  • Safety Rules – Useful page with tips and rules to ensure safe bowling.
  • Bowling Etiquette and Safety (PDF) - Publication which provides bowlers with general rules on bowling etiquette and safety.
  • Safety and Etiquette – Information on bowling safety and etiquette that should be followed.
  • Bowler Etiquette - Helpful article with information for the beginning bowler about etiquette and safety.

Bowling Basics and Resources

  • Basics of Keeping Score – Web page which provides fundamentals about how to keep score in bowling.
  • Bowling Information – Helpful guide that provides rules and safety information for bowlers.
  • Bowling Resources - Portal of information and resources to learn more about the sport of bowling.
  • Bowling Basics – From equipment to shows to approach, this bowling basics page will help beginner bowlers learn what they need about the sport.
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