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Regulation Bowling Lanes

If you wish to learn about the regulation bowling lane, we must warn you the information can be technically boring. However, it's fun to know a little about lane dimensions and the actual lane construction. Let’s start with available information on regulation lanes courtesy of the United States Bowling Congress.

A regulation bowling lane (including flat gutters, kickbacks, and the approach) must be constructed of wood and/or other synthetic materials which have been fully tested and approved for use by the USBC.

The approach is exclusive of the foul line and is an unobstructed level approach not less than 15' in length, free from depressions 1/4" or more, and not less than the width of the lane. The foul line is no less than 3/8" and no more than 1" in width, extending across the entire width of the lane at a minimum, and is distinctly marked or embedded between the lane and the approach.

Dimensions of the lane are as follows:

1. The kickback is 24" above the pin deck at the highest point and 17" above the deck at the lowest point.

2. The tailplank is 2" maximum thickness and the pit cushion is 9-7/8" thick.

3. The pin spots are fiber spots 2-1/4" in diameter.

4. The center of the 7 & 10 pin spots are between 2-1/2" and 3" from the edge of the pin deck and the centers of the pin spots are 12" apart set in a equilateral triangle formation.

5. The gutter (channel) width is 9-1/4" in width.

6. The gutter is 1-7/8" beneath the lane surface.

7. The lane is made of tongue and grooved stock typically laid on edge or of a synthetic material giving the appearance of boards sitting on their edges.

8. The center of the head pin spot is 60' (plus or minus 1/2") to the foul line.

9. The overall length of the lane to the pin deck is 62', 10-3/16".

10. The lane is 41-1/2" in width.

The surface of the lane must be free of contiguous grooves or ridges, 40/1000" tolerance for crosswise tilt, crowns, and depressions. The lane surface must also have a lengthwise tilt tolerance of 40/1000".

The lane and approach markings allow for a maximum of 7 guides embedded in or stamped on the approach at each of the following points: 2"-6", 3'-4', 6'-7', 9'-10', 11'-12', and 14'-15'.

Seven targets (arrows) may be embedded into or stamped onto the lane 12'-16' distance past the foul line and must be uniform in length and shape and must be at a maximum of 1-1/4" in width and 6" in length.

At a distance 33'-44' beyond the foul line, there maybe 4 targets uniform in appearance no wider than a single board nor longer than 36".

Each series of guides 6'-7' past the foul line must be parallel to the foul line and circular in shape with a maximum of 10 guides not to exceed 3/4" in diameter.

The foul light beam is no more than 1/4" beyond the approach, fully automatic, and must be visible between 10-15 seconds duration.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned a little more than you already do about bowling lanes.