There are many words or phrases that are used to describe something, and Bowling has a whole vocabulary or jargon of its own. I'm sure if you've been bowling awhile you've heard most of these, but if you are still fairly new to the game or just starting out, you may want to check these out:
Alleys-- This is the place where the bowling games take place. It can also be referred to as the Bowling Center or Bowling Lanes.
Anchor Man-- Person who bowls last on a team.
Baby Split-- Those splits where there is just enough space for the bowling ball to fit in between the pins to convert the pins. Baby splits are the 3-10, 2-7, 4-5, 5-6, 7-8, and the 9-10.
Brooklyn--A strike or hit made on the left side of the head pin (1-2 pocket) for a right handed bowler, or the right side of the head pin for the left handed bowler (1-3 pocket).
Bucket-- The bucket is that difficult spare with four pins together in a cluster, either the 3-5-6-9 or the
Channel--The left or right side recessed area on the lane. It is also referred to as The Gutter.
Clean Game-- When you have no open frames, or all strikes and spares.
Didn't want to hurt the pin--What you may hear someone say when they just barely make a single pin spare.
Double-- Two strikes in a row.
Double Pinochle-- When you have the 4-6-7-10 split.This split can also be referred to as "Grandmas Teeth".
Double Wood-- When you have a spare leave that has one pin directly behind the other. These are the 2-8 or 3-9 spare leaves.
Dutch 200--When someone starts with a strike, then gets a spare, then a strike, then a spare and alternates throughout the entire game with that pattern. Or the game can begin with a spare, then getting a strike, a spare, strike, and alternating that manner. A Dutch 200 equals a score of 200.
Grandmas teeth-- Any of the larger splits, examples are 4-6, 7-10, or 4-6-7-10.
High-- Means your ball came up too much on the headpin (farther left than the intended 1-3 pocket).
Jersey--If you're from the east coast and a right handed bowler, and your ball crossed over into the 1-2 pocket, you would say you got a "Jersey Strike" or hit on the "Jersey Side".
King Pin-- Is what a 5 pin is referred to because without it's help hitting into the other pins, it would be extremely difficult to get a strike.
Light Hit--A first ball that barely touches the 1 pin.
No Tap-- A variation of bowling where a 9 count is the same as getting a strike. Some places have NO Tap leagues and some Bowling Centers have No Tap tournaments.
On The Over-- Is when the ball crosses over into the 1-2 pocket for a right handed bowler and you get a strike, or on the 1-3 side for a lefty.
Pit--The area of the lane in back of the pin deck.
Pocket-- Where you need to get the ball in order to convert a strike. It is the 1-3 pocket for righty's and the 1-2 pocket for the lefty's.
Ride The Rail--Going for a 7 pin or 10 pin spare and the ball rides along the lane closest to the gutter all the way down without going into the gutter.
Robbed-- Getting what looks like a beautiful pocket hit but not getting the strike. Someone may say "Call a cop".
Running-- When the lanes are hooking nicely and the strikes are carrying.
Scotch Doubles-- A type of tournament when two people bowl a game together alternating turns.
Soft Lanes-- Are high scoring lanes.
Sleeper-- When there is a pin in back of another one that is hard to see as in a double wood spare.
Split--On your second ball when the head pin is missing but you have two or more pins to convert with spaces in between them.
A Solid 2, 8, 3, or 9 Pin--When you hit what looks like a strike but one of these pins is still standing.One could say "I got robbed".
Stiff-- What the lanes can be referred to when there's a lot of oil on them and your ball is not moving or hooking much.
String--When you have more than three consecutive strikes. You may also hear this referred to as a four bagger (four strikes in a row), five bagger (five strikes in a row), etc.up to a perfect game which is 12 consecutive strikes.
Three Amigos--I made up this one, which is leaving the 2-4-5 pin spare or the 3-5-6.
Tight Lanes-- When there's a lot of oil on the lane and your ball isn't hooking very much.
Track--The area or path on a lane that is most often used.
Triple or Turkey--Three consecutive strikes (three strikes in a row).
Wash Out-- A split with the head pin still up (1 pin). Examples are the 1-2-10 or the 1-3-7 spares.
I am sure there are several more that are used, but these are the most common you'll hear at the lanes, especially in league play. Try to learn them so you can get in the loop of using them and understanding what someone means when they are using them.
Join me back here next week when I'll be discussing "When is it time to replace my bowling ball"?
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
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Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.