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Compute Your Bowling Handicap

Bowling handicap is a universal method bringing bowlers together in a fair and equitable way during competition.

Most amateur bowling leagues and tournaments utilize a bowling handicap system. Knowing how to compute your handicap will help you learn how to measure up with your competition.

Handicap gives all bowlers with varying levels of skill an equal chance of winning.

A bowling handicap is a percentage of the difference between your average and a basis average.

If you’ve never bowled in a league, don’t worry. Leagues assign you an average until you establish one.

The handicap system uses a basis score with a chosen percentage factor.

The basis score is a high score intended to be more than any individual bowler’s average. Basis scores range from 200, to 210, or to 220.

The percentage factor is used to calculate your handicap and will usually be 80, 90, or 100 percent, but may vary in special competitions.

To find your average score, add the scores from all of your official league games, then divide by the number of games you bowled.

Subtract your average score from the basis score and multiply the result by the percentage factor to calculate your bowling handicap.

Suppose the basis score is 200 and the percentage factor is 90 percent. If your average is 160, you have (200-160) X 0.90 = 36.0. Your handicap in this example is 36 pins per game.

Next, add your handicap to your actual score for each game.

For instance, if you have a game in which you score 150 and your handicap is 36, your adjusted score is 186.

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC), the sanctioning body for bowling making the rules and regulations of play, defines handicapping as the means of placing bowlers and teams of varying degrees of bowling skill on as equitable a basis as possible for competition against each other.

Handicap leagues and tournaments usually bring out goodwill among the bowlers and generate an atmosphere of friendly competition.

The handicap system provides a fun and fair way for bowlers to compete for awards and prizes.