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Bowling Terms 101

image of bowling balls and Hollywood light up sign at lucky strike

We heard you love bowling (so do we!) Well, really, who doesn’t?! What a lot of people don’t know about bowling is the extraordinarily long list of terminology that exists. As bowling has evolved over the centuries, so has the terminology. We’re here to help you become one with the pros and understand the most important bowling terms.

  • Bagger: term used for consecutive strikes.
  • Bucket: a cluster of four pins.
  • Clean Sheet: when a player makes all her/his spares in a game.
  • Deuce: a game of 200 or more.
  • Double: term used for two consecutive strikes.
  • Frame: unit measuring the number of turns a bowler has in a game (there are ten frames in one game of bowling).
  • Golden Turkey: nine strikes in a row.
  • Greek Church: a split with three pins on one side of the lane and two on the other.
  • Ham Bone: a term used to denote four consecutive strikes.
  • Head Pin: the pin in the front of a triangle of pins.
  • Hook: a ball that curves into the pins as it approaches them.
  • Leave: the pins that are not knocked down with the first ball.
  • Maples: refers to bowling pins or the point the player intends to use as a target.
  • Par: term used to indicate a 200 score.
  • Perfect Game: maximum possible score of 300 achieved by throwing 12 consecutive strikes.
  • Revs/Revolutions: the number of times the ball turns completely over its circumference from the release until it contacts the pins.
  • Schleifer: from the German word for “cut-thin” or “slice”, a strike where the pins appear to fall one by one.
  • Sleeper: a pin directly behind another pin.
  • Spare: knocking down the remaining pins on a second throw.
  • Split: a difficult shot left on the second throw in which there is a gap between the remaining pins.
  • Strike: knocking over all 10 pins on the first throw.
  • Turkey: three strikes in a row.
  • Wild Turkey: six strikes in a row.