More than 95 million people enjoy bowling, in 90 countries spanning 6 continents! Bowling is one of the largest participatory sports in the world.
Bowling is a popular sport that can attribute much of its popularity to the fact that it is a game that people of all age groups and all conditions can enjoy. While many people think about the bowling balls, the alleys, and the pins, they forget about one very important aspect: the bowling lanes. Bowling would certainly be impossible without them!
Most modern lanes are made of synthetic materials that look and feel like the old hardwood lanes, a switch that occurred relatively recently, mostly in the 1980s. Before that a bowling lane would actually have been made out of the wood that modern synthetic materials strive to copy.
The lay out to a full sized bowling lane are usually the same from one bowling center to another. The distance from the foul line to the front pin is exactly sixty feet long (which is coincidentally the same distance of the pitcher's mound to home plate in baseball) and your target is the “pocket”. Missing by just one inch can make the difference between a perfect strike and leaving a corner pin.
The distance from the foul line, where you release the ball, to the first set of directional arrows is fifteen feet, one quarter of the total distance. There are two sets of "approach lines." The first is fifteen feet from the foul line; the second is a little closer at a distance of twelve feet. The lane is also precisely 42 inches wide, with 39 boards. These precise measurements should be true about wherever you go.
Bowling lanes do have to be maintained by the respective bowling centers, and maintenance includes the oiling of lines, as well as tests to make sure the lanes themselves are not damaged or warped. Problems have decreased with the newer synthetic materials as opposed to wood. There are certainly other conditions that can adversely affect the way a lane plays. Surface characteristics, environmental factors, cleanliness and the bowlers themselves.
It really is amazing how precisely a bowling lane is laid out. If you have never stopped to take notice, pay attention next time to the exact number of boards, the symmetry of guide arrows down the lane, the precision that is necessary for every single lane to function as it does. Remember, it's not just about bowling balls and pins it’s about having a good lane.
BOWLING FACTS/DID YOU KNOW?
- A 16 lb bowling ball hits the lane with a force of 2,000 lbs per square inch
- A bowling pin is 15 inches tall and 15 inches at the widest part of the pin
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