How Bowling Pins Are Set Up [A Detailed Guideline]

Bowling Pin

Once you begin to bowl, it’s important you learn about all the basics and lingo of bowling. Your bowling instructor is probably telling you all about bowling balls and their types, bowling lanes, and even taught you the bowling scoring system as well. But how much do you know about the pins at the end of the lane? Well, we are here to inform you of stuff you didn’t know before about bowling pins.

Whether you’re a competitive player, or just casually bowling in the alley, it’s important you have a clear idea about how bowling pins are set up. The USBC (United States Bowling Congress) set pin specifications for bowling pins. World Bowling has also adopted the USBC’s tenpins pin specifications. Each bowling pin has 4.75 inches in width, and 15 inches in length. The pins weigh between 1.5 kg to 1.6 kg. The idea behind the weight of the pin is that a single piece of bowling pin should be around 24% the weight of the heaviest bowling ball which is 16 lbs.

How Do You set-up Bowling Pin?

So now that you have an insight into the pin’s specification, let’s find out how the pins are set up.

As the tenpin bowling game is the most standard bowling game, we are going to talk about only this. You can guess from the name that, in Tenpins, ten pieces of bowling pins are used for playing. The pins are placed at the end of the bowling lane and then arranged in a triangle formation. The point of this triangle is placed at the front, facing the players

The pins are placed in 4 individual rows and assigned by the numbers 1 to 10. The 1st pin, also known as the headpin is placed on the first row. The 2nd and 3rd pin is put on the second row, 4th, 5th, and 6th ones are put on the third row, and lastly, the remaining 4 pins- 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th are placed on the fourth and final row.

Bowlers earn points by knocking down each pin. The points are based on the number of pins. For each knocked-down pin, a player gets 1 point. So when you knock down all the ten pins in a single shot, you earn 10 points. If you fail to knock down any of those pins, you will not get any point.

The length between the foul line and pins is 60 feet. A bunch of guide-lines is there, about 15 feet from the foul line. Pin number 7 and 10 are located 2.75″ from the edge of the lane. On both sides of the lane there is a gutter. The spots of the pins are 2.25″ in diameter and they are spaced 12″ apart from each other in an equilateral triangle form. The four pins’ (in the last row) center of the spot is 3 inches from the ball pit at the back edge of the pin-deck.

The gap between the 7 and 10 pin’s center spots and the closest kickback panel is 12 1/16″. This 12 inches distance from the kickback panel as well as the additional 2.75″ (mentioned above) the 10th pin is spotted on the pin-deck from the edge of the lane yield total of 15″ a pin must travel from the kickback to also contact the 7 or 10 pin and this results in strikes. The headpin is equally distant from both kickbacks and edges of the lane and is located 34 3/16″ from the center of the pin spot to the pit.

9 Pin Bowling Pin Setup

The pins are lined up in a diamond shape in 9 pin bowling game. The nine-pin is at the center and is red in color. It has a significant meaning in scoring. The pins are further apart than in 10-pin. All pins are the same width like 10 pin, but each pin is longer than the 10-pin counterpart. Due to the increased distance between the pins, there is more opportunity for splits to happen. Splitting pins—though not good for scoring purposes—is advantageous because it can be costly.

How many pins are there in one set?

There are 10 pieces of pins in one set of bowling pins. Each has the same weight, height, pin diameter, and center of gravity.

Why do bowling pins have a hole in the bottom?

As the pins are controlled and operated automatically with the pinsetter, you probably haven’t noticed that there is a hole in the bottom of every pin. But why is the hole there in the first place? Well, as the coating procedure begins, this hole comes in handy. As we know, the core of a bowling pin is called the billet. During manufacturing, a hole is drilled at the bottom of the pin into the center of the billet. This hole is later used to center the pin which is needed during the coating process.

What is the job of Pinsetter?

The pinsetters task is to put the pins on the rack at the beginning of each frame. It also clears away knocked down pins to make room for the pins in the pin elevator. When all ten are filled, the switches are triggered and the next frame is set up.


So friends, there you have it. These are the basics of bowling pins arrangement. That’s pretty much all a bowler needs to know whether they’re casually or professionally bowling. If you were curious to know how bowling pins are set up, I hope we could help you with proper information. With that being said, make sure you always have fun while you’re bowling.


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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