Bowling Lane – Diagram With Sizes and Dimensions

Bowling lane diagram

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The Lowdown on Your Favorite Bowling Alley

Bowling is a pastime that many people – of all ages enjoy. What you may not have realized, however, is just how widespread the love of this game is. Did you know that almost a hundred million people around the world bowl on a regular basis? Or that there are about 12,000 bowling centers scattered across various countries? How about the fact that around 10 million people compete at varying levels? There is no denying that bowling is something that numerous people are passionate about. So, let’s learn more about the lanes that this incredible game is played on:

The Dimensions of a Bowling Lane

For the most part, bowling lanes tend to have similar dimensions across the board. On average, a bowling lane will be about 23.96 meters in length and 1.05 meters in width. The length can vary as the only region that is actually carefully controlled is the area up until the pin deck.

A bowling lane consists of four main parts. The first area (near where the bowlers are) is called the approach. The whole approach is 4.57 meters long and it ends at the foul line. The foul line is usually white in color and is no more than one inch wide.

There are three rows of dots in the approach region. These are sometimes referred to as approach dots and are there to help the bowler better aim in the direction they want the ball to go in. The scoring area is indicated from the second line of dots, all the way up to the foul line. The first set of the dots are located 4.57 meters away from the foul line. The second set of the dots are 3.66 meters away. The last set of dots are just 0.076 meters away from the foul line.

Around 1.8 meters in front of the foul line, facing the bowling pins, there is another line of dots. These are known as the lane dots. In front of the lane dots, there are seven arrows positioned. These are in the same positions as the bowling pins at the end of the alley. The final arrow (the one closest to the bowling pins) is 4.57 meters away from the foul line.

The length of the area from the foul line to the first bowling pin is 18.29 meters. This is how far a bowling ball has to travel before reaching the pins. The distance from the first pin in the first row to the back row is 1.02 meters. The distance from the first pin to the back end of the alley in total is 1.099 meters.

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What is a Bowling Lane Made From?

If there is one thing you can be certain about bowling lanes it is that they are incredibly strong. Just think, day in and day out, they have to withstand the weight and pressure of a bowling ball that weighs over 7 kilos. Still, regardless of how much force the ball meets the ground with, there are no cracks or damage.

Well, the secret is in the materials that are used to construct the lane. Now, the lanes can be made from synthetic materials. This, of course, is provided that the materials that are utilized can withstand the daily abuses. It is still quite common, however, to find lanes that are made from wood.

There are two types of wood used to make up the lanes. One is a softwood with pine being the most popular option used. The hardwood that is typically used is maple. More than 3.5 meters of the starting of the lane is made from maple wood. This is the portion of the lane that takes the greatest amount of abuse. Maple is an incredibly strong wood that is able to resist a lot. In particular, it is very good at withstanding a significant amount of shock. This is not the only reason that maple is used, however. This type of wood has a high density. Therefore, it makes it a lot easier to refinish it. This is something that occurs quite frequently in bowling alleys.

Pine wood is used for the region between where the bowling ball lands and where the pin deck is. While it is relatively strong, it is not nearly as durable as maple. However, the wood is quite malleable and is easy to work with. It also resists shrinkage and is even known to ward off mildew and decay.

The Evolution of the Bowling Lane

Bowling can be traced all the way back to 3200BC. In the 1930s, an archeologist discovered the remnants of a rudimentary bowling set. It appeared to be a game that was played by children. Of course, it was impossible to tell what kind of lane that the people then would have used. It was probably just a flat surface, however, so that the ball could make its way to the pins.

The game disappeared and flourished at various times throughout history. Due to this, there is a lot of unsubstantiated evidence regarding the game. This makes it quite difficult to know just what kind of lane or ground the game was played on during these early years. However, from what historical images indicate, lawns or outdoors grounds were where the game was played.

For different reasons, the game of bowling was actually outlawed at different times. It was first banned by King Edward because apparently the game was distracting his troops from archery practice. It was then reportedly reinstated by Henry VIII.

When people were allowed to finally bowl – for an extended period at least – they did so on green lawns, tossing the balls towards the pins. It was only in the mid-1800s that indoor bowling alleys came into being. Early images of these alleys and lanes show many similarities with the ones that people play on today. The floors are clearly made from wood, with the panels visible in the images.

The bowling centers quickly gained popularity which led to competitions and championships taking place. Once bowling began being played in a competitive environment, bowling associations decided on creating universal dimensions for the court.

Playing Areas Similar to a Bowling Lane

There are a lot of games that are quite similar to bowling. There is lawn bowls, bocce, and many others. While there are obvious similarities with the way the game is played, the playing areas are quite different one another. The main discrepancy with these games is that they tend to be played outdoors. As a result, they are typically played on grass or compacted dirt. Therefore, strictly speaking there aren’t courts that have structural similarities to that of bowling.

Short mat bowls, on the other hand, is a game that is played indoors. Unlike bowling, however, this game can be played on a variety of surfaces as long as it is smooth enough. There is a long green cloth which does mimic the appearance of a bowling lane. This is what helps to create a frictionless surface along with the balls can be rolled. As such, to a certain degree, these playing areas could be interchangeable. Of course, there aren’t any actual playing areas that are truly comparable to that of a bowling lane.

This is a bit of information regarding one of the oldest games in the world. The love of bowling clearly is something that we shared even with our ancestors. To that end, it doesn’t appear that bowling or bowling alleys will be fading from memory any time soon.

Last updated on March 8, 2018