How Long Does a Game of Bowling Take?

On average, it takes about 10 minutes per person to bowl a single game. So if you have a group of five or six people bowling on two lanes, it would take approximately 50-60 minutes to complete one game.
Group of friends playing bowling

There are however several other factors that can make a bowling game go faster or slower. Things like your bowling ball, pins knocked down per shot, how many bowling games are played per day, and other factors we will go over in this article.

How Long Does the Average Game of Bowling Take?

A friendly game of bowling

The average game of bowling takes about ten minutes or so per person. Most bowling games, however, are not simply about bowling. They are about hanging out with friends and having some good fun.

Some friends bowl faster than other players, while other bowlers hope the game lasts longer. If the average person takes a few minutes per frame and plays ten frames, then the game could take anywhere from 10-20 minutes per person.

With five players, brings the average length of a bowling game to 50 minutes to just over one hour and a half.

Longer Bowling Game

At the bowling alley

Depending on how many bowlers there are, the game could actually take a really long time. The number of games already played can also increase the game time of the next game. The effect of how many games bowlers can play in a day is discussed later in the article.

Many Factors that Increase a Bowling game’s Length

There are many factors that could increase or decrease the time it takes to play a game of bowling. More bowlers, bad bowlers, bowling lanes, etc… In this section we will break it all down.

1. Playing More Games than One

Bowlers will start to get tired after several games and depending on the number of people playing, the last game of bowling for the day could be a lot longer than the initial game.

One game of bowling could take roughly 50 minutes at the beginning of the day, while the last game may take more than an hour if it’s even a complete game.

2. Getting More Strikes than Gutter Balls

When you get a strike you only have to bowl once per frame. So the more strikes you get the less game time there will be.

How many strikes bowlers get will drastically decrease each game and in some cases, two games could be played by professional bowlers faster than a casual game of bowling played by two bowlers.

If you want to end the game faster, get as many strikes as possible.

3. Bowlers Not all Being on the Same Level

Casual bowlers will usually take their time and chat before attempting to knock down those bowling pins. On the contrary, serious bowlers will be bowling to win and will want to keep the pace up as much as possible. This will help them get into a groove.

No matter how you play, make sure that you find other players that want to bowl at the same pace as you, or the game of bowling will feel long even if it’s not.

4. Playing with a Time Limit

Some really serious bowlers will place a time limit on each ball. If this is the case then the length of the game is basically determined by the wait for the ball return.

5. How Many Fouls per game

A foul can increase the time of the game as it needs to be recorded. For instance, stepping over the foul line can disrupt the flow and increase how long a game of bowling can take.

6. Professional Bowlers Bowl Way Faster

As we mentioned before, strikes can speed up the time of play. Professionals usually get lots of strikes so their game of bowling will be way faster than the average person who can’t knock down all the pins at once.

7. Arcade Games at the Alley

If there is an arcade game section at your bowling alley, and you are playing with your kids, a single game could take all day. I know when we go to the alley, my kid loves to play air hockey and sometimes leaves me hanging on an open frame. 🙂

Depending on how many games there are to play other than bowling, you may want to put your bowling ball down for a while. 🙂

8. Waiting For the Bowling Ball to Return

This may sound trivial but it’s basically an inevitable time suck that has to occur. When you leave any remaining pins, you have to wait for your ball to come back.

The speed of the ball return at your bowling alley will either decrease or increase the length of your game of bowling.

9. Single Lane Vs Many Lanes

If you only have one lane and as many as six players, then a game of bowling could take almost double the time to play. A bit longer if you have more than six players.

Most bowling alleys try to limit each lane to four bowlers at one game. This really helps speed things up. It also allows the bowling alley to sell more games. See for bowling alleys to make money it doesn’t make sense to put every bowler on a single lane.

10. Trips to the Vending Machine Increase how Long Bowling Lasts

Making trips to the vending machine can kill a game of bowling. Imagine four players on two lanes, but instead of being ready when your turn comes up, you are trying to decide between a Snickers bar and Twizzlers.

11. Type of Bowling Balls Used

House balls are not the best balls to use when you want more strikes. As we said earlier, more strikes mean a faster game of bowling. So if you aren’t using the correct ball, the entire game could take longer.

13. Type of Bowling Shoes

Shoes make a difference. If you don’t believe me, play one game of bowling in really crappy rental shoes and then play one game of bowling with some amazing custom shoes with interchangeable soles.

You will notice the difference immediately and it will up your bowling game drastically. This will lead to a better bowling game.

Other Distractions that Increase Game Time

Beer and Alcohol

Friends don’t let friends bowl drunk. Or do they? I imagine that by the 4th game of bowling especially when beer is involved that the question “How long does a game of bowling take” can be answered very differently.

People Interrupting You

Let’s face it people love to see other people they know. If you haven’t seen someone in a while and you run into them at the bowling alley, they love to come over and talk during your game.

Bowling Shoes coming untied

This one is kind of a gimmie, but hey every minute counts if you are wondering: “how long does a game of bowling take?”

Girl sitting on the floor in bowling alley

Conclusion – So, how long does a game of bowling take?

Bowling is a popular pastime for people of all ages, and it’s easy to see why. Bowling is a great way to spend time with friends or family, and it’s also a fun way to get some exercise.

But how long does it actually take to bowl a game? The average game played can take ten minutes per person bowling. If only one person is bowling, then each game of bowling would take about ten minutes.

Depending on the number of people playing, the game of bowling could be pretty short or take a decent amount of time.

Of course, the time it takes depends on each individual’s bowling style. Some people bowl very quickly, while others take their time and enjoy the game more leisurely.

So bowling is a great option if you’re looking for a fun activity that won’t consume your entire day.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a little off the top to help me keep this website running. 

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