4735 Mormon Coulee Rd.
La Crosse, WI 54601
(608) 788-7827

A Guide to Scoring in Bowling November 14, 2019

Shelby, La Crosse County
A Guide to Scoring in Bowling, ,

All age groups can enjoy the sport of bowling. Whether you’re in a league or just hanging out with friends, you should know how to keep score so that you can understand the game and improve over time. Here’s a guide on scorekeeping over a game’s 10 frames, or turns.

What Symbols Mean & How Much They’re Worth

Numbers (1-9)

A number represents how many pins a player knocked down in one roll. These can range from one to nine pins.

Strike (X)

An X represents a strike, which means a player knocked down all 10 pins at the beginning of the frame. They gain 10 points. Also, add the total of the player’s next frame to this one.

Spare (/)

Write a spare as a slash. A bowler achieves this after clearing all the pins with the second throw of a frame. They receive 10 points for the frame, plus the total score from the next frame.

Foul (F)

This letter indicates that the bowler crossed the foul line, and any pins they knock over don’t count. If the foul occurred on the first throw, reset the pins and let the player roll again. If it was on the second throw, their turn is over.

Dash (-)

This is the symbol for a gutter ball, in which the ball rolls into the gutter and hit no pins. The player receives zero points.

How to Add It Up & Determine Who Wins

BowlingThe sum of all 10 frames is the final score, and the largest score wins. Here is a three-frame example.

A bowler throws a strike in the first frame, earning them an X, worth 10 points. Don’t add a score in the large box yet. On their next frame, they knock down six pins and then the remaining four—a spare. Mark a six in the left box and a slash in the right box. In the big space of the first frame, mark 20; this is the strike plus the spare in the second frame. In the third frame, the player rolls a three and then a four, for a total of seven. Add this number to the 10 points earned from the second frame’s spare, plus the 20 from the first frame. Therefore, in the large box in the second frame, mark 33. Add seven to that number and mark 40 in the large space in the third frame.

Continue scoring until the end of the 10th frame. If a player throws a strike first in the 10th frame, they may roll two more balls for a total of three in that frame.


The next time you’re looking for something fun to do, go bowling at All Star Lanes & Banquets in La Crosse, WI. They have a full-service bar and grill, mouth-watering pizza, pool tables, and karaoke on Friday nights. Call (608) 788-7827 to ask about bowling leagues, and visit them online to learn more about their group rates.

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