Hollywood Lanes

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!

Bowling is helped by the fact that it is an indoor game and therefore is not affected by outdoor weather. 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 (most bowling lanes will have the same dimensions, though in some situations, like maybe a college bowling alley, might have smaller lanes depending on space situation) will be the same from one bowling alley to another.

The distance from the foul line to the front pin is exactly sixty feet long. 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.

The lanes were not always this exact. The dots that you now see on the bowling lanes to help guide aim were not even added until 1948. When many players’ games improved vastly, the design was adopted in general. Originally an earlier form of bowling called nine pins was popular, but since it was a gambling game and often outlawed from state to state, many people believe the tenth pin came specifically to get around these laws. The need for a universal bowling lane arouse to allow even handed competition, and bowling has prospered because of it, boasting of several professional organizations overseeing the game since as early as the early 1900s.

Bowling lanes do have to be maintained by the respective bowling alleys, and maintenance includes the oiling of lines, as well as tests to make sure the alleys themselves are not damaged or warped. Problems have decreased with the newer synthetic materials as opposed to wood, but even so, maintenance is an absolute necessity to keep a good bowling alley operating the way it should.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. It’s not just about bowling balls and pins, because you need a good lane, too, and you’ll notice the difference when you don’t have it.