Bowling Rules


Being competitive on the field is applauded & encouraged in all of our leagues! It is also important to understand that there is a fine line between being competitive & being unsportsmanlike. All players and referees should treat one another with respect on the field & after the game. Everyone has to go to work tomorrow, so please keep safety & sportsmanship in mind out there!



Every individual participating in a Players Sport & Social Group program may compete as a member of the gender that they identify with, regardless of their gender at birth. We expect all players to be respectful and honor the spirit of this policy. We are LGBTQIA+ friendly (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and other sexualities and gender identities/expressions). 


We have found that open communication between teams is super helpful. If there is a situation that may raise some questions from opposing teams, captains are encouraged to have a quick conversation with our umpire/official before the game to ensure everyone is on the same page. At the end of the day, inclusivity is key. 


Game Play


The regulations listed here are generally based around regulations set by the United States Bowling Congress and the British Tenpin Bowling Association. These rules are followed by all sanctioned leagues and events, such as tournaments. This is a Recreational Bowling league.  The object to have fun, bowl well, and network with new friends.


Rules of play


A game of bowling consists of ten frames. In each frame, the bowler will have two chances to knock down as many pins as possible with their bowling ball. In games with more than one bowler, as is common, every bowler will take their frame in a predetermined order before the next frame begins. If a bowler is able to knock down all ten pins with their first ball, he is awarded a strike. If the bowler is able to knock down all 10 pins with the two balls of a frame, it is known as a spare. Bonus points are awarded for both of these, depending on what is scored in the next 2 balls (for a strike) or 1 ball (for a spare). If the bowler knocks down all 10 pins in the tenth frame, the bowler is allowed to throw 3 balls for that frame. This allows for a potential of 12 strikes in a single game, and a maximum score of 300 points, a perfect game.




A handicap system will be used to determine scores for standings and playoff seeding. Each individual player's handicap will be used  to calculate a team total for the week. Handicaps adjust from week to week as more games are added to a player's average. The handicap is calculated by subtracting the player's average from 200 and then taking 80% of that total. This handicap is added to each player's "scratch" (actual) score to establish the totals. The handicap total is calculated after all games for the week are played and then the scores are adjusted to reflect the new total.




In general, one point is scored for each pin that is knocked over. So if a player bowls over three pins with the first shot, then six with the second, the player would receive a total of nine points for that frame. If a player knocks down 9 pins with the first shot, but misses with the second, the player would also score nine. When a player fails to knock down all ten pins after their second ball it is known as an open frame.

In the event that all ten pins are knocked over by a player in a single frame, bonuses are awarded.

A ten-pin bowling score sheet showing how a strike is scored:

Strike: When all ten pins are knocked down with the first ball (called a strike and typically rendered as an “X” on a score sheet), a player is awarded ten points, plus a bonus of whatever is scored with the next two balls. In this way, the points scored for the two balls after the strike are counted twice.

Frame 1, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 2, ball 1: 3 pins
Frame 2, ball 2: 6 pins

The total score from these throws is:

Frame one: 10 + (3 + 6) = 19
Frame two: 3 + 6 = 9
TOTAL = 28

A player who scores multiple strikes in succession would score like so:

Frame 1, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 2, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 3, ball 1: 4 pins
Frame 3, ball 2: 2 pins

The score from these throws are:

Frame one: 10 + (10 + 4) = 24
Frame two: 10 + (4 + 2) = 16
Frame three: 4 + 2 = 6
TOTAL = 46

The most points that can be scored in a single frame are 30 points (10 for the original strike, plus strikes in the two subsequent frames).

A player who bowls a strike in the tenth (final) frame is awarded two extra balls so as to allow the awarding of bonus points. If both these balls also result in strikes, a total of 30 points (10 + 10 + 10) is awarded for the frame. These bonus points do not count on their own; they only count as the bonus for the strike.

A ten-pin bowling score sheet showing how a spare is scored:

Spare: A “spare” is awarded when no pins are left standing after the second ball of a frame; i.e., a player uses both balls of a frame to clear all ten pins. A player achieving a spare is awarded ten points, plus a bonus of whatever is scored with the next ball (only the first ball is counted). It is typically rendered as a slash on score sheets in place of the second pin count for a frame.


Frame 1, ball 1: 7 pins
Frame 1, ball 2: 3 pins (spare)
Frame 2, ball 1: 4 pins
Frame 2, ball 2: 2 pins

The total score from these throws is:

Frame one: 7 + 3 + 4 (bonus) = 14
Frame two: 4 + 2 = 6
TOTAL = 20

A player who bowls a spare in the tenth (final) frame is awarded one extra ball to allow for the bonus points.  The maximum score in a game of ten-pin is 300.


All teams will make the league playoffs.  Teams will be seeded based on the end of season standings.  Teams will advance by bowling a higher team score (pins + individual player handicaps added to each game) in the playoffs. All leagues that have 12 or more teams will be split into a Flight A & Flight B Playoff Bracket.  At the end of the season all captains are responsible for confirming their team’s end of season team record.  Once playoff brackets are posted and playoff games are played the tournament seeding will not be changed.  If there is an incorrect score posted for your team, the captain is responsible for notifying the league office prior to the playoffs being played. During the regular season it is ok for team captains  to ask players from other teams to “Sub or Fill In” open slots on game day, to avoid forfeit. In the playoffs, a player can only participate and play for one team.  If a player is found playing on two or more teams in the playoffs all games are subject to forfeit. Players must play in a minimum of one regular season game to be eligible for playoffs.

Player Rules            

Teams consist of four players with no gender rule in place.  Your team can have a maximum of 8 players on the roster.  Teams can bowl four people (4) the first game and then bowl a new set of players the following game.  The new set of players can consist of one (1) new bowler or four (4) new bowlers.

Schedule & Standings

Schedules and standings will be updated weekly throughout the season.  Standings are determinded by cumulative pin total with individual player handicaps added to each game score. 


Forfeit time is GAME TIME.

If your team forfeits a match during the season, the following rules apply:

  • First Offense: game recorded as loss and warning issued.
  • Second Offense: game recorded as loss and PSG staff reserves the right to remove team from league and playoffs with no refund for games not played.
  • Third Offense: Removal from the league and playoffs with no refund for games not played.

If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game, we encourage you to call our office so as to help us schedule your opponent a game however this does not mean that your team will not receive the loss as a forfeit.

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For the last three years, I have been playing indoor and beach volleyball with Players Sport & Social. They are always exceptional and professional. My favorite part of the leagues is the cadence and the different formats that they offer; whether you want to play Rec vs Competitive or 2s vs 6s - they have it all! They also have referees for all of their indoor leagues, and they are prompt to email requests.

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