How Long is a Bowling Lane?

You have gone to different houses before; you might have noticed that some lanes may not look the same size. But in actuality, any lane that is USBC certified that you go to across the country will be the exact same in length. So, how long is a bowling lane?

How Long is a Bowling Lane

It is approximately 60 feet, or it is 60 feet from the foul on to the headpin, and there have 39 boards from left to right between each gutter. The difference is that while some lanes smaller and narrower than others and some longer. It is simply for the lighting, and the height of a roof in a certain bowling alley can change the look and dimension. But they all are the same. You don't have to worry about it.  

If you want to add an all-season entertainment venue to your home, then bowling lane alley would be a great option for sure. But before taking any significant step, you must have to ensure that you have the budget and enough space. It's not something different from the professional bowling alley. You can build a pair of bowling lanes. You will need an architect and an expert builder as well.

So, how much space will you need to have a bowling alley? Longer space is always appreciable. At least a sofa set and a table so that you can have some coffee or drinks with your friends.

For home bowling alley the ideal size is about 100 feet long. Actually, it requires 88 feet for bowling lane and equipment, and the rest of the space will allow you to have a seating area in front of the bowling lane, which usually takes around 12 feet. When it comes to the width of the room, you need at least 14 feet area for two bowling lane, and the ceiling should also be more than 14 feet. So, 100 feet long space can make a complete package for a bowling alley.

Bowling is a common game. From children to adults, male to female, everyone can play this game. As it is an indoor game, it can be played during rain or snow, no matter. It offers s you enough physical exercise as well. It's a great social catalyst.

Well, here is another option, if you don't have 100 feet long home bowling alley space. You can place your seating area to the side of the approach. It will definitely save some space.

Bowling Alley Length and Width

Bowling lane measurement is the most important part to consider in a bowling alley. The length itself is a vital part of it. This area is extended from foul area to the pin deck. From foul line to a headpin, it is 60 feet long. Moreover, the lane structure is not that simple what we actually see. The lane is split up into some boards and measure in three parts. The first 20 feet of the lane is called the head or the frontal part. Try to use this part wisely because most of the oil is applied here usually.

The next 20 feet is called the mid-lane, comparatively less oil is applied. And the last part of the end is known as the back-end where no oil is applied typically. The head is made of harder maple and the mid-lane too while softer pine wood is used to made back-end lane. Now come to the width of the lane. According to the international bowling federation, the ideal width of a bowling lane is 41.5 inches. If you measure in meters, it will be 1.05. But 41 and 42 inches width are also acceptable. After factoring the gutters, total width of the lane will be near about 60 feet and should not be more than 60.25 inches.

How are Boards and Arrows made of?

If you look into the board closely, you will find some tinny strips in the lane. You will see if you look into the wide of the lane closely. There are 39 of them, and they are called board. This is one of the known features for the bowlers to aiming and positioning the ball. 

You might have seen a V shape that is featured by seven spread across the lane. These arrows and the shape are 15 feet down the lane and many of the bowlers use them to line up their shots. It is a wise and safe option to target an arrow which is just 15 feet away instead of a pin that is almost 60 feet away.

Here is an interesting thing. Expert bowlers use to mark these markings by number. Right-handed bowler count from the right to left where left hander count from left to right. For example, you may hear from an advanced bowler says that his target is 3rd arrow or he stands at the 4th board. But before you use these markings; be sure these arrows are placed exactly at the right place. Otherwise, you could face difficulties to perform your best.

The Approach Area, Dots and the Pin Area

Taking steps before rolling the ball is a very common scenario. The area before the bowling lane that is called the approach area is very important to notice. Because that area also has 39 boards and those are directly linked to the bowling lane with the same synergy. 20th board is known as the center board.

Here is a simple but effective tip for you. Many of the bowlers use approach area just for ensuring the proper stances. But you can use it for another reason. You will find some small locator dots at the approach area which you can use them for aiming and positioning rather than using the arrows on the bowling lane. Dots are very common sign in a bowling lane. From the foul line, you will find one of them at two or three inches distance. Each dot is placed at five board interval except the center dot which is placed at the centerboard.

At the very edge of the lane you will find the Pin area. It is also called the pin deck. To be frank, this one is not as vital as the previous two. This part is more about the behind mechanism. Padding cushion is provided by the pin deck. It offers to back the ball up the lane and to back the pins into the pinsetter.  

What is Known as the Foul Line?

This is one of the most common bowling rules for a bowler. You cannot afford going past the foul lane. Usually, the foul lane itself is less than an inch in width. And it is extended along the whole width of the lane and very easily visible.  

Generally, foul lane is printed with a light and colorful color so that it can be seen easily. Foul line starts from the last line before you take your steps to throw the ball. It sits between the two gutters and painted across the board.

Foul lane is the border area that you cannot go past while you bowl. It indicates and warns you that your prohibited approaching area starts. If you go past the line, you will be fouled.

It won't be a foul unless you touch the floorboards past the foul line. You will see the light flash automatically or hear an alarm sound if you make a foul. In modern era, generally, bowling alley authority uses sensors to detect the foul.

What Are Gutters in Bowling?

When you miss a shot completely, and the ball doesn't hit any of the pins then it goes to the gutter.

Simply, gutter means the space outside the lane. It is 9.25 inches in wide. And it should lie at least 1.875 inches beneath the surface lane.

Gutters are made of rubber or plastics and sit aside each bowling lane. Length of a gutter is as long as a lane. If the ball goes out of the lane and falls on the wooden part then goes into the gutter, we consider those as miss throws. Those don't add up to resulting scores.  

Quick Facts About Bowling Lanes & Pins

What to Consider for Choosing the Best Ball for Dry Lanes?

You need to consider the cover stock first. Pick a 'stiff' ball cover stock that is made of plastic or shiny. And it is made of pearl in case of poly-urethane bowling balls. These cover stocks offer to easy slide which ensures the proper velocity for impact with the pins.

What is the Dimension of a Bowling Pin?

It varies pin to pin. Depending on your pin type the dimension will be determined. Bowling pins are 15 inches tall when it is Ten pin bowling pins. It is 2.25 inches wide ideally and maximum 3 inches wide. It weighs 3 lbs 6 oz to 3 lbs 10 oz. The neck is narrower than its body, ideal width 1.797 inches.

How Far Apart Are Bowling Pins Spaced?

Generally there are 12 inches spacing between the bowling pins. This measurement is from pin center to pin center. Here is an equilateral triangle on the pin deck. The gap between 1 to 7 pin is 36 inches. There is same gap between 7 to 10 pin and 1 to 10 pin. If you measure it by yourself, you will find it quite interesting.

How Much Do Bowling Balls Weigh? How Big Are Bowling Balls?

They are 8.5" in diameter. There is no specific bowling balls weight. It starts from 6 pounds. The last limit of bowling ball weight is 16 pounds. It depends on bowler to bowler, their strengths, comforts etc.

What is the Head Pin in Bowling?

Headpins are known as 'one pin', 'pin one' etc. It is exceptional because of its sitting place. It stays very front of the bowling pins and 60 feet away from the foul line. Headpin indicates the lane ending and signals the bowling wall begins.

How Does the Bowling Machine Work?

A bowling machine does a tremendous job for the whole system. It sits hidden at the end of the bowling lane. It sends the pins and balls back to the lane, and retools the pins. This is one of the most key factors in a bowling alley.

Before this automated system, some people used to do this work for a small amount of money. It was time consuming too. After the invention of bowling machine the game total system has been refined and sped up. The bowling machine made the game faster and more easier, no question about it. 


For making a certified bowling alley you must need to follow the rules by USBC (United States Bowling Congress). We have discussed some vital bowling alley aspect in this article. We hope it helped you and you enjoyed reading it. Good luck!

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