What Are the Bowling Lane Dimensions? (with Drawings)

Bowling lane dimensions

Everyone has visited a bowling alley at least once in their lifetimes. However, have you ever spent the time to measure the width and length of a single bowling lane? Probably now, but you don’t have to since I have the measurements.

A bowling lane measure 60 feet long from the foul line to the back of the pin deck. It measures 42 inches wide and includes 9-1/4-inch gutters to the left and right. The typical bowling alley will have between 12 and 36 alleys.

Bowling lane dimensions

To fully understand what a bowling lane is, you should also be familiar with the different parts and their measurements. I’ll explain what they are in this guide, as well as describe the differences between 10-pin, 9-pin, 5-pin, candlepin, and duckpin bowling lanes.

Bowling Lane Dimensions

If you visit your local bowling alley, you’ll most like find that it is equipped with at least a dozen lanes for 10-pin bowling. This is the most popular type of bowling, which is governed by all sorts of leagues, including the US Bowling Congress and the Professional Bowlers Association.

While there are several professional bowling leagues scattered throughout the US and beyond, just like the bowling pin dimensions,  the bowling lane dimensions follow the same guideline. Here’s a brief overview of a regulation bowling lane’s measurements.

  • Lane Length—60 feet from the foul line to the headpin and 62 feet 10-3/4 inches to the back of the pin deck
  • Lane Width—42 inches between the outer edges of each gutter
  • Gutters—9-1/4 inches wide

Parts of a Bowling Lane

Parts of a Bowling Lane

Everyone knows that bowling lanes rectangular alleys that are much longer than they are wide. However, if you want to get into the specifics of a bowling lane, then you should understand the various components that make it up.

Bowling Lane—The lane where the bowling ball must pass. The lane also includes the gutters. The lane measures 60 feet from the Foul Line to the headpin (frontmost bowling pin) and 62 feet 10-3/4 inches to the back of the Pin Deck. The lane measures 42 inches wide from the outer edges of the Gutters. Bowling Lanes are made with 1.06-inch-wide boards that measure 1.06 inches wide and span the entire length of the Lane.

Gutters—The grooves found on both sides of the lane. When the ball enters one of the gutters, it is an automatic miss, regardless of whether the ball bounced out the gutter and made it back onto the lane. Each Gutter measures 9-1/4 inches wide.

Approach Area—The rectangular field in front of the Bowling Lane. Players are allowed to move around in the Approach Area before throwing the bowling ball. The Approach Area measures 42 inches wide and between 10 and 15 feet long.

Foul Line—The line that separates the Approach Area from the bowling lane. Players must have both feet behind the line when throwing the ball. If they pass the line, then the throw is invalid, and the thrower will receive 0 marks. The foul line spans the entire width of the lane (42 inches) and is roughly 2 inches thick.

Lane Arrows—The arrows are located 15 feet in front of the Foul Line. These arrows serve as a guide for bowlers to aim their throw. Alternatively, players can look at the pins when aiming. The Lane Arrows must not measure longer than 1.25 inches long. They are placed on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 30th, and 35th boards.

Pin Deck—The farthest part of the lane from the foul line. The pin deck extends 2 feet 10-3/4 inches from the back to the headpin.

Bowling Lane Variations

The measurements above describe the bowling lane for 10-pin bowling. However, there are other types of bowling, which include 9-pin, 5-pin, candlepin, and duckpin. So, how do their lanes differ?

Type of Bowling LaneLength (Foul Line to Headpin)Width (Including Gutters)
10-pin60 feet42 inches
9-pin64 feet51.6 inches
5-pin60 feet to 62 feet 10 inches41 to 42 inches
Candlepin60 to 62 feet 10 inches41 to 42 inches
Duckpin60 feet42 inches

What Are Bowling Lanes Made of?

What Are Bowling Lanes Made of

If you take a look at a bowling lane, you’ll discover that there are only 39 boards that make it up. Each board measures roughly 1.06 inches wide and 62 feet 10-3/4 inches. The lanes are numbered 1 through 39, with the arrows drawn on specific boards to help players aim their throws.

Each of the boards is made of maple or pine wood. Some boards are made of wood and have a synthetic overlay.

Maple wood is the traditional wood type used for professional matches. It’s the costlier type of wood since it can withstand the shock and rolling of heavy bowling balls. Since they’re so durable, bowling alleys don’t have to pay as much to maintain maple boards, and it can be used for over a decade before being completely worn out.

Pine wood is the cheaper alternative to maple wood. The great thing about pine wood is that it doesn’t shrink or expand due to temperature changes, so it can retain its shape throughout the year. However, pine will wear out more quickly and have to be replaced more frequently.

Synthetic flooring is the cheapest alternative. It is given a wood-like finish to simulate maple or pine wood. Synthetic material will usually outlast wood, and it doesn’t require nearly as much oil to maintain its frictionless surface.

Some bowling alleys will use a mixture of different materials. For instance, a section of the bowling lane will be made of maple wood for its durability, while parts that don’t aren’t beaten up as much by the bowling ball are made of pine.

Why do Bowling Lanes Need Oil?

Regardless of what the lanes are made of, they will require a constant coating of oil from time to time. The oil coating has two purposes: to reduce friction and allow the bowling ball to roll more freely and absorb some of the impacts when the bowling ball lands on the lane’s boards.

Also, oil gives the lane a beautiful shine, which makes the bowling lane more attractive to serious and hobbyist bowlers.

How big are bowling balls? How much do they weigh?

Bowling balls are typically sized with a diameter of 8.5 inches. As for their weight, it varies depending on the strength of the player. However, it is worth noting that bowling balls never exceed a weight of 16 pounds.

How wide are bowling pins?

Bowling pins have specific widths determined by their unique shape. At the base, a bowling pin measures 2.25 inches wide. The waist, which is the widest point of the pin, measures 4.766 inches in width. Lastly, the neck of the bowling pin has a width of 1.797 inches.

How tall are bowling pins?

According to available information, the height of bowling pins typically measures approximately 15 inches.

How far apart are bowling pins spaced?

Understanding the spacing between bowling pins is crucial to fully grasp the game dynamics. To answer the question, “How far apart are bowling pins spaced?”, we can consider the following:

In official bowling regulations, the spacing between the bases of the bowling pins is indeed standardized. The distance between adjacent pins is precisely measured as 12 inches. This means that from the center of one pin to the center of the pin next to it, there is a consistent gap of 12 inches. This standardized spacing ensures uniformity and fairness in the game.

It is important to note that this distance applies to traditional ten-pin bowling, which is the most common form of bowling played worldwide. Other variations, such as candlepin or duckpin bowling, may have different pin arrangements and spacing.

Understanding the spacing between bowling pins allows players to strategically aim and target specific pins while striving for strikes or spares. Additionally, it aids in the analysis of pin setups and aids in developing effective bowling techniques.

By having a comprehensive understanding of the spacing between pins, bowlers can enhance their skills and make accurate shots, improving their overall performance in the game.

How far apart are the dots and arrows?

What is the spacing between the arrows and dots?
The arrows and dots are spaced about five inches apart from each other.

How many arrows and dots are there on each side of the center?
There are three arrows and dots on each side of the center arrow and dot.

Where is the center arrow and dot placed?
The center arrow and dot are placed on Board #20.

How many boards are there on a bowling lane?
There are 39 boards on a bowling lane.

“The Lane Arrows must not measure longer than 1.25 inches long. They are placed on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 30th, and 35th boards. Additionally, to provide proper spacing, each arrow is separated by a distance of approximately five inches from one another. This ensures that there are three arrows on each side of the center arrow, which is placed on Board #20. The center dot is also placed on Board #20, in alignment with the center arrow. Therefore, the dots and arrows on a bowling lane are strategically positioned on specific boards, with a consistent spacing of about five inches between each arrow.”


Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of measuringknowhow.com

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