Quite often, people will form an interest in bowling when they have played a few games with family and friends. Their interest piques, and they want to enjoy this more frequently. When they do, they may decide that they want to join a bowling league.

The Basics of Bowling Leagues

A group of bowlers will come together and form teams. They will have regular games throughout the year which they refer to as their bowling season. The teams will play against each other during this time. In most bowling leagues the teams are comprised of four players, although they can be as small as three or as big as five. In some associations, the teams are made up by gender, while in others they are mixed leagues.

The Playing Format

Generally, during a match, a team will play three games. During the first week of the season, averages are determined for each of the bowlers. As games progress throughout the season, the averages can change. This is known as handicap bowling.

What are Scratch Leagues?

Leagues which play in this category only score according to pin count. Leagues choose this method of play because it is simple to keep track of the scoring. In the case of handicap bowling, the scores are determined not only by the pin count but also by each players handicap value.

The Rewards

It always makes a game more interesting when there is something for the victors of the game. With bowling, this can range from year-end trophies or cash prizes which are referred to as strike pools or spare pools. A key part of the league is betting with your friends on who wins to make the game even more eventful.

Strike or Spare Pools

Players will put down a specific amount of money to participate in the game. This accumulates among all the teams and the first bowler to land a strike or spare wins the pot. Other approaches to this are by the drawing of a ticket. Then, the bowler holding the winning ticket has a chance to roll a strike to take home the prize money. The pooled money rules can be varied as to what constitutes a winner. Sometime it may be for a high handicap or high scratch game. Then, it may be a mystery game where a specific score has to be obtained to win the pot.


As a team faces off against another, for each game which they win, they are awarded a specific number of points. Then, included in this, will be extra points for total pins above the other teams at the end of each week. This is just one example, as each league will have its own scoring rules. The scoring system will also depend on how often the league meets per week to play.

How to Choose a Bowling League

Most who want to join a league will seek out those which are close to their residence. Although, if this is not possible, then many avid bowlers don`t mind traveling a small distance to join a league. Most often, the bowling facilities will have an association or will be able to direct bowlers to those that they are aware of.

Then, it is a matter of doing some research to learn more about the league, to see if it is offering everything necessary to you as a bowler.