For some reason, many people consider keeping score in bowling to be a nightmare and will do everything they can not to do it. The truth is, scoring in bowling is a lot easier than scoring in a bar. There are just a few simple rules that you have to learn. But, if you’re still not up to it, with today’s technology, you can have the alley do it for you.

Bowling score
Bowling score

To make this simple, let’s first start with what the highest score is that you can roll. The highest possible game is 300 over the course of 10 frames, which is what a game of bowling consists of. Now, one might think that with only 10 pins to knock down each frame, scoring more than 100 would be impossible. Well, that’s the wonderful thing about the game of bowling. It gives you a bonus for making either a strike or a spare. How much of a bonus depends on which.

For example. If you get a spare, which is knocking down all 10 pins with two shots, your bonus is whatever you knock down on your next shot added to that spare. So let’s say you get a spare in the first frame. You don’t compute your score yet. You wait until you roll your first ball of the second frame. Let’s say you knock down 8 pins. What you do is add the 8 pins you knocked down to the 10 pins you knocked down in the frame before and place that total in the first frame. So your score through one frame is actually 18 instead of 10. This is where the bonus comes in.

Calculate bowling score
Calculate bowling score

With a strike, the bonus is whatever you roll on your next two shots. So let’s say that you get a strike in your first frame, which is knocking down all the pins with one shot and in the second frame you get 7 pins with your first ball and 2 pins with your second ball. You would add the 7+2 to the 10 pins you knocked down in the first frame because the bonus is two shots. That would give you a total of 19 in your first frame. To compute the score of your second frame you simply add the 9 pins you knocked down in that frame to your score of the first frame. That gives you a total of 19+9 or 28.

So, how do we get a score of 300? Easy. If we roll a strike in every frame and keep adding the bonuses, you end up with 30 in the first frame (10 pins plus the next 2 shots as bonus which is 10+10), 60 in the second, 90 in the third and so on. The reason we get to 300 is because the tenth frame has 2 bonus shots in the frame itself. So if you roll a strike in the tenth frame, you get two more shots to roll two more strikes. When you add it all up, you get to 300.

With just a little thought and basic math skills, keeping score in bowling is really not all that hard. Bowling a 300 game, now that’s hard.


  1. Azia

    Good point. I hadn’t thoguht about it quite that way. 🙂

    1. Buckie

      No cmopliants on this end, simply a good piece.

      1. Janess

        You have the monopoly on useful information? Aren’t monop0lies illegal? 😉

        1. blablabla

          🙂 Thanks for support.

  2. Terrence Penwarden

    Definitely, what a fantastic website and educative posts, I surely will bookmark your website.All the Best!

    1. Karess

      Very valid, pithy, succncit, and on point. WD.

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