What is Candlepin Bowling?
Candlepin Bowling is another type of bowling that you should try. It is very similar to the Ten Pin Bowling we are familiar with today and was started by a man named Justin White in Worcester Massachusetts back in 1881. It is still a very popular sport in California, the New England area, Canada, and Germany.
The main difference between Candlepin bowling and regular ten pin bowling, is that you get three tries to knock down all ten pins as opposed to two since the ball is much smaller, only 4 1/2" in diameter. The ball also has no holes in it for your fingers and the pins are much thinner, weighing about 2 lbs. 7 oz. each and 15 3/4" high.
When you knock these candlepins down on your first try, they are NOT cleared off the rack like in regular ten pin bowling. They remain on the lane to help you in knocking down the rest of the pins on the next two tries.
Candlepin bowling lanes have three sets of foul lines as opposed to the one in ten pin bowling. The first line divides the approach from the lane. The second is ten feet from that in the direction towards the pins which is called the "Lob Line". Your ball must come in contact with the lane before it comes to the Lob Line. If it hits the lob line or goes past it, then it's considered a "LOB" and if you knocked down any pins they will not be counted. The third foul line is 24" forward of the headpin and is called the "Deadwood Line". Any pins that have fallen in this area can't be played legally and are not counted in the scoring. These pins won't be re-set which can be to your advantage in helping you to knock down the remaining pins down.
A game of Candlepins is called a "String" and each string has ten boxes or frames. If you get all the pins down on the first try, it is called a "Strike". You will add what you throw on the next two balls just as in ten pin bowling. If you get all ten pins down after two tries, it is called a "Spare" and you'll add whatever pins you knock down on the next ball to that. If you take all three tries to get down all ten pins, that is called a "Ten Box" which is marked by an "X".
A Foul happens if a ball is thrown into the gutter, a bowler goes over the first foul line, or a ball lands on the lane passed the Lob line (second foul line). Fouls are always scored as a Zero-"0" and the pins will be re-set.
The scoring is done automatically nowadays but some of the Candlepins lanes are semi-automated and the bowler has to enter in the pin count and the machine will just add it up. Players can use a vertical sheet and add the totals from all the boxes to determine the score. The most points a frame can have is 30 like regular ten pin bowling. Here is a sample scoring below:
The right side of the sheet indicates the total scoring. The left side shows what the bowler did. So the "X" means that the player got all ten pins down in the three tries allowed. The fourth box down on the left shows a spare, meaning all ten pins were knocked down in two tries, and on the next ball he/she got a 9 count. So you would add the 9 + 10 to the 25 giving a total of 44 in the fourth box or frame. A strike was achieved in the sixth box (all ten pins were knocked down on one try) so on the next two balls another strike and a six count was gotten. So you add 16 + 10 for the strike to the 54 which equals 80 and so on as you can see. The final score was a 133 which is a fair score for Candlepins.
The highest score recorded to date is a 245 out of a possible 300. It was done in 1984 by Ralph Semb who is the head of the International Candlepin Bowling Association (ICBA). Then in 2011 his record was tied with a fellow named Chris Sargent in Massachusetts.
This is a fun and challenging game and if you are ever in a part of the country that has a Candlepin Center, please give it a try!! You may find another sport you love!
Join me back here again next week when I'll be discussing one other bowling game to try, "Duckpin Bowling".
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.