Bowling Lingo

Laurel Lanes LogoEver walk past a couple of seasoned bowlers chatting it up?

Hear some wicked bowling lingo you didn’t even know existed?  For a game that’s relatively simple, you might be surprised at some of the terminology.  Here, I’ll paint the picture.

Rick:  How you been shootin’, Joe?

Joe: My first game I shot 5 over but I kept leaving 10 pins and baby splits.

Rick: Those splits are nothing, at least you shot a deuce!  I almost had a 6 pack but then I left a Greek Church and chopped it.


To the untrained ear, you might think someone swung an axe at a Greek Church.  But to the experienced bowler, it’s just a way of explaining the pins left behind after the first ball was thrown. Lots of these terms sound silly, but they have very specific meanings.


For example, from the sample conversation:

Greek Church – 1. A split leave of five pins similar to the 4-6-7-9-10 so called because it reminds people of an old cathedral type church with spires, etc.
2.  Any split on which there are three pins on one side of the lane and two on the other.

Six Pack – 6 strikes in a row

Deuce – A game of 200 or more

Baby Split – Either the 2-7 or 3-10 Split.  Much easier to pick up compared to a regular split.

Leave – The pins remaining after the first ball was rolled

Chop – To knock down one pin of a spare leave, while the pin next to or behind it remains standing.



That’s just the tip of the iceberg though, there are lots of terms for everything from the formation of pins left behind to the fundamentals of bowling.  Here are some basic bowling terms.

Address – The bowler’s stance before the approach

Approach – 1. The space extending back from the foul line used to make the steps and delivery.
2. How the bowler gets to the foul line

Arrows – The triangles embedded on the lane used in aiming the throw.

Board – A lane consists of 39 strips of wood, each called boards; they are usually numbered by the player and used as targeting terms; i.e., I was throwing the 5th board; in synthetic lanes there are no boards as such, but usually the synthetic overlay has a pattern that resembles natural wood lanes.

Foul Line – 1. The line that separates the approach area from the beginning of the playing surface.

Foul – Crossing or touching the foul line at delivery. It’s penalized by a count of zero pins. If the foul occurs on the first ball of a frame, the bowler gets a second shot at a new rack.

Pocket – The desirable location for the ball to hit the pins to maximize strike potential. Generally the area between the 1-3 pins (right-hand player) or the 1-2 pins (left-hand player). This is the target for the first ball in a frame.

Pushaway – The pushing out (forward) of the ball to begin the swing (coincides with first step of four-step approach.)



Now, of course, from the other end of the lingo spectrum, here are some of the more obscure terms:

Beak – The nose; the center of the head pin.

Bed Posts – 7-10 split

Belly the Ball – Describes the type of shot where a player stands inside and tosses it to the outside in the hopes it returns to the pocket for a strike.

Boomer – A big hooking ball; a person that throws a big hooking ball.

Dressing – The lane conditioner; the act of applying lane conditioner.

Dutch 200 – A game of exactly 200 made by alternating strikes and spares throughout the entire game.

Fast Eight – Describes an apparent good pocket hit that gets just eight (8) pins; typically the right-handed players will leave the 4-7 spare and the left-handed players the 6-10; usually

the ball is a tad high when this happens.

Full Roller – A ball that rolls over its full circumference. The track of the ball cuts between the thumb and finger holes. Although once very popular, it is now rarely used because it lacks the carrying power of a semi-rolled ball due to the fact that it generally cannot create the increased entry angles that are helpful to carrying your strikes, particularly the off-hits.

Half Ten – The description of a 10-pin that was left by a ball in the pocket and the 6-pin laying down in front of the 10-pin in a half hearted manner; same as “weak 10”.

Jersey/Brooklyn Side(or hit) – A ball that hits on the opposite side of the player’s normal pocket; i.e, a Jersey for a right handed player would hit on the 1-2 pocket; usually refers to getting a strike in the “wrong” pocket. Called a “Brooklyn” in most locations of the country.

Kegler – German word for bowler.

Lily – The 5-7-10 split; also known as the “sour apple”.

Loft – The distance the ball travels between the time of release and the time it hits the lane.

Long Oil – Condition in which the lane conditioner is applied from the foul line farther than normal. There is no magic standard, but 35-40 feet or more of application was considered long oil. It can be a more difficult condition in that there will be less back end to generate pocket entry angle. Long Oil in today’s environment would be considered anything longer than 40 feet of oil. 35 is now considered short oil.

Mass Bias – Mass bias in a bowling ball occurs when the weight block or portion of weight block is more dominant in one direction inside of a bowling ball.

Messenger – The name given to the pin that rolls across the pindeck into a pin or pins to either get a strike or break up a split.

Picket Fence – The 1-2-4-7 or 1-3-6-10 spares.

Range Finders – Markers in the lane that help the bowler determine the target line. There are two sets of such markers: 10 dots located seven feet past the foul line and seven arrows arranged in a triangle beginning 16 feet beyond the foul line. There are also range finders at 35 and 40 feet down the lane per USBC rules.

Turkey – 3 strikes in a row.

Washout – A “split” with the head pin standing; symbolized as “W”; not making the spare is considered a blow or error, not a split. For example, the 1-2-4-10 or 1-2-10 for right-handed bowlers, or the 1-3-6-7 or 1-3-7 for left-handers is considered a “washout.”


Congratulations, you now have the vocabulary of a bowling veteran.  Have fun with your new lingo, whether your chopping sour apples or shooting turkeys

COOL Summer Fun for Kids

Bowling Pins Graphic with Bowling ball

Summer’s almost here, and so is the heat and humidity.

Who doesn’t love the feeling of breaking a sweat the second you step outside? How about sunburn? Not us! Lucky for you, Laurel Lanes can keep you cool and entertained in a fun air-conditioned environment all day long. Whether you’re bringing your kids to bowl for free (Yes, you read that right), or coming to enjoy one of our weekday specials, Laurel Lanes is the place for summer fun.

Have you heard that kids bowl free all summer? That’s right, Laurel Lanes is a proud member of the Kids Bowl Free Summer Program. What exactly does that mean? Last summer hordes of kids came in and bowled for FREE! Kids bowl free aims to provide children with a safe, fun way for children to spend time in the summer. All you have to do is go to and register for kids to recieve 2 FREE games every day of the program. That’s a value of over $500 per child! It’s really that easy. After all, kids love bowling and parents love FREE!

Summer Birthday? Surprise your kid with a bowling birthday party! Birthdays in the summer aren’t always the easiest to plan or the most enjoyable to celebrate outside depending on the weather.. Have no fear! Our team of party planners and hosts will make sure your child’s birthday is a special day. Birthday packages can be customized to cater to exactly what your child wants.

If you want to have a bowling party, but have no summer birthdays coming up, we’ve got you covered. Our Pizza Pins & Pop Package has a tremendous amount of value at a great rate. It’s no wonder that it’s one of our most popular packages, including two hours of unlimited bowling, shoe rentals, one free large cheese pizza, and unlimited soda!

Make your kid’s summer one that they’ll remember forever by creating lasting memories at Laurel Lanes. Kids Bowl Free is an offer too good to pass up, so make sure you register to download FREE bowling passes weekly! If you’re not participating in Kids Bowl Free, you can still get a great deal on bowling with our Pizza Pins & Pop Package. No matter what you’re looking for, if staying out of the heat and having fun is what you’re looking for, Laurel Lanes is the place to be.

Health Benefits of Bowling

Graphic of bowling ball and pins

Health Benefits of Bowling

Although bowling isn’t a full-contact physical sport, it still works muscle groups throughout your entire body. It’s a healthy
exercise for people of all ages. It’s important for seniors to maintain control of their motor skills, and it also helps children
work on their hand-eye coordination. We know that exercise can have very positive effects on your health, from lowering your risk chances of heart related incidents to increasing bone density, so why not get some exercise through bowling? Not to mention the fact that if you’re competitive, any adrenaline rush you may get increases your heart rate, which can also lead to better heart health. Oh yeah, and… it’s really fun!

You might not think of bowling as being good exercise, but you actually use quite a few muscle groups as you go through the
motions. When you break it down, you bend your knees during your approach, you keep your core tight, you use your legs to walk up to the lane, and you use your arm to throw the ball. There isn’t too much of your body that you’re not using when you’re bowling! It’s not an extreme cardio workout, or a heavy weight lifting routine, but it’s a well rounded combination of exercise that definitely helps burn calories.

At a later age, getting the proper amount of exercise can definitely become a challenge. Staying active is important because it’s
easy to lose it if you don’t use it. One of the good things about bowling is the bowler’s ability to choose and customize the ball
they use. It’s important not to use too heavy of a ball, especially at a later age, because you don’t want to put excess strain
on your body. Being able to have the right weight and fit makes it a lot easier to enjoy some light exercise. Most other sports
aren’t as adaptable, they don’t allow you to custom fit the game to yourself.

There aren’t too many sports that children, especially young children, can fully participate in. Light bowling balls and the
availability of ramps makes bowling a plausible activity for any age child. Although they might not be firing a 15 pound ball down the lane like an adult, they can still roll the ball (whether using a ramp or not) and experience what bowling is all about. It
also teaches kids about aim, and how to adjust where they’re aiming so that their next shot is more successful. These are all
healthy skills to learn, and the younger someone learns them they better off they are.

From the social aspect of bowling with a group of people to the concentration necessary to successfully knock pins down, bowling helps keep your mind active in many ways. It takes a lot of hand-eye coordination to bowl well. You can’t just run up to the lane and randomly throw the ball if you expect to see any kind of consistency in your bowling. A great amount of focus is required to be able to duplicate a good shot over and over again. You have to be alert and in the zone to know how to adjust and compensate for whatever bowling conditions you may be subject to.

No matter your age, bowling is good for your mind and body. Children can learn important developmental skills, and elders can
benefit from the exercise and mental stimulation. In a time where its increasingly challenging to stay active, bowling is a great
way to burn some calories and keep your mind sharp!