Have a ball!

Many people enjoy going to their local bowling alley and having fun competing to knock down as many pins as possible. But how much do we really know about the sport of bowling? Let’s look at some interesting facts, that we probably didn’t know, about one of our favourite pastimes.

  • The history of bowling dates back thousands of years and could have been an idea that originally came about in the Stone Age.
  • A bowling Alley is made from polished wood, which is why we need to wear those serious uncool shoes. The alley is 60 feet long from the foul line and 41-42 inches wide.
  • If three strikes are thrown in a row it is called a Turkey. Four strikes equals a Hambone.
  • According to the Guinness Book of Records, Japan has the largest Bowling Alley in the world, the Inazawa Bowling Centre has 116 lanes!
  • Nevada in the United States has a Bowling Stadium!
  • Bowling Balls used to be made from wood.
  • The balls can weigh between 6 and 16 pounds.
  • Indoor bowling lanes first appeared in 1840.
  • Around 1960, bowling ball manufacturers used polyester resin for the first time which gave us the brightly coloured balls that we use today.


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The sport has a very long history indeed and was mentioned for the first time in writing during the reign of Edward III. He had to ban his troops from lawn bowling as they were becoming distracted from archery practice. Henry VIII also enjoyed the game and used cannon balls instead. For more information on bowling equipment, visit http://www.petesproshop.co.uk/

1914 saw the switch from wooden to rubber balls and in 1936 pinboys were replaced with semi-automatic pinsetters which made the game much quicker. 1946 saw the first completely automatic pinsetter  and it’s later versions of this machine that we see in alleys today. The 1970’s saw an explosion in popularity as automatic scoring was introduced across many alleys, making the game easier and more fun now scoring was being done for you.

Bowling is actually good for you too. Whilst not viewed as a particularly athletic sport, Bowling for three games is the same as walking one mile and studies show that it helps to burn calories, regulates blood pressure and helps prevent osteoporosis.

The most unusual place to find a bowling alley would be the White House but there is indeed a bowling alley in the basement. Richard Nixon was a big fan and had one installed. His high score was 232.