Bowling Pin Layout Dimensions

When you’re playing a game of bowling, the layout of the bowling pins is important.

You want to make sure that you know how to hit each bowling pin so that you can score as many points as possible.

Bowling pins are standardized to certain dimensions, as well as the bowling lane.

These pin layout dimensions show the specifications of the various pin layouts used in bowling competition.

Please note that all measurements are in inches or feet.

Different Patterns of Different Bowling Games

It is only logical that different bowling games have bowling pins spaced according to different standardized rules.

Ten pin bowling, five pin bowling, candlepin, duckpin and nine pin bowling uses different amounts of adjacent pins at the bowling alley, so bowling pins spaced at different distances are no surprise.

This article describes bowling spacing dimensions as far as ten pin bowling is considered, and set forth by the United States Bowling Congress.

A Bowling Pin Rack

A bowling pin rack is made up of 10 bowling pins standing on the end of the bowling lane.

The bowling pins stand in a triangle formation with equal sides.

A bowling pin rack is often called a pin deck, but the pin deck is rather the area where the bowling pins are set, while the former are the pins themselves.

The Numbering of Pins on the Bowling Lane

There are 10 pins in a pin set, and each one has a unique number from 1 (also known as the head pin) through 10.


Bowling Pin Setup on the Pin Deck

The bowling pins are set in four rows, with number 1 at the headpin (closest to the bowler), 2 and 3 in the second row from left to right, 4,5 and 6 in the third row from left to right, and 7, 8, 9 and 10 in the fourth or back row from left to right (furthest from the bowler).

This makes it easy to tell which pins you removed after your first ball, and it also aids in the identification of splits.

Pin Setter Machines

Pin setter machines, also known as pin deck machines or bowling ball return machines, are devices that automatically set the bowling pins in the equilateral triangle formation back up after you bowl and knock down the pins.

Bowling alleys usually have these machines at the ends of the lane nowadays.

Automatic pin setter machines became popular after the 1950s, until that pinsetter boys were hired to reset the pins into their original positions at the end of each bowling lane.

With the help of these pin setter machines, you don’t have to worry about bowling pin spacing or lane dimensions, since pins will be returned to the exact same spot in the triangle.

Ten-Pin Pin Deck by

What is the Spacing Between Bowling Pins?

The following distances are measured from the center of each pin.

Horizontal Distance

The adjacent pins’ horizontal distance is 12 inches between neighboring pins.

Direct Vertical Alignment

The distance between the 2-8, 3-9, and 1-5 pin alignment is 20.75 inches between these pins.

Pin Deck Perimeter Lengths

The total length of each side or edge of the equilateral triangle formation is 36 inches.

Distance from the Foul Line

The head pin’s distance from the foul line is 60 feet or 720 inches.

Distance from the Gutters

The distance or width from the left and the right gutter on each side from the triangle in the back row is 2.5 inches.


Why are Bowling Pins Set Up in a Triangle?

Bowling pins are set in an equilateral triangle, and in four rows so that if a bowler strikes at the head pin, which is the one at the very front, it will cause all or most of the pins to fall.

Bowling pins are also set in this formation because it is easy for people to see how many pins they have knocked down after their first ball.

Closing Thoughts About Ten Pin Bowling Pin Spacing

It is important to be aware of the different dimensions and layouts of bowling pins.

The layout of the bowling pins determines how difficult the game will be and can affect your score.

Our guide on bowling pin layout dimensions provides all the information you need.

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