Bowling is a fun game you can opt for in your leisure time; however, it is also an official sport. Yes, there are bowling leagues and tournaments with proper rules. One important rule that everyone must know before participating in a bowling tournament is the handicap number rule.
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has introduced the handicap term to provide a fair chance for entry-level bowlers to play against other skilled players. So, how to calculate bowling handicap is something you must know before applying for a bowling league.
In this article, learn how the handicap rule works, easy calculation techniques, and the importance of handicap scores.
Handicap in Bowling
In bowling, the handicap is a method where a numeric value is assigned according to the player’s skill. This set value is then added to the scores at the game’s end, concluding the total score.
The bowling handicap rule allows players of different skill sets to compete with each other fairly. It gives the confidence to amateur players to participate in leagues and fairly play opposite most advanced players. Although bowling isn’t an Olympic sport, check why bowling is not an Olympic sport, but there are international leagues and tournaments for bowling.
You can term it as a ‘bonus’ score to the low-level players that will be added to their score at the end of the game. If your handicap number is larger than the number added to your scores will also be more significant.
Let’s take an example of a player assigned a handicap value of 135 while playing games. If They score 90 points, then after adding a handicap value (90+135), the player’s total score will be 225 points.
Bowling Handicap Calculator
When you participate in a league, the secretary will assign you a handicap number after testing your skills. However, you must also know how that formula works. Handicap number changes as your practice becomes stronger over time. It would help if you learned the calculation to do it independently.
The formula used is (Basis score from the league – Average scores of a player) x Percentage Factor.
1. Base Score
First, you need to know the base score to calculate your bowling handicap. The base score is also known as the base average of the game you intend to play, usually the scores from the most recently played game of the tournament.
This average represents the player’s skill level without the bowling handicap. The number is intended to be greater than the average of the best player. For example, if the average score of the best player in the previous game is 210, then the base average assigned by the league can be 230 or 240.
2. Average Score
The next step is to find your average score. The bowling average calculator means adding scores from five previous matches and dividing them by 5. This score will give you the average of your scoring tendency in multiple games.
For example, your scores from the previous five games are 140, 145, 143, 150, and 152. So, (140+145+143+150+152)/5, the answer will be 146. To peek into the possible highest score in a bowling game, you can check the highest score in bowling.
3. Percentage Factor
The percentage factor is not calculated; the league assigns a predetermined value. It can be termed as a percentage of the difference between the basis score and the player’s average determined by the handicap rule.
For example, if you get a percentage factor of 82% from the league or organization, your handicap score will look like.
4. Doing the Math
Now, let’s go back to the initial handicap formula we discussed. Put the calculated values in it, do the math, and Voila! Your handicap score is there.
Handicap Number= (Basis score from the league – Average scores of a player) x Percentage Factor
Basis score= 230
Average score= 145
Percentage factor= 82%
Handicap Number= (230-145) x82% = 69.7
So, according to this example, your handicap score after rounding off will be 70. It means that your handicap number grants you 70 pins per match. At the end of every game, 70 additional points will be added to calculate your total score.
Importance of Bowling Handicap
The bowling handicap is essential in various ways; here are specific points that will discuss its importance further.
1- Fair competition
The foremost purpose of calculating bowling handicaps is to provide a fair chance to entry-level players in tournaments. Even if their skills could be better, they can play against highly skilled professionals and get an opportunity to learn more about bowling through competition.
2 – Motivation
Handicap numbers can motivate mid-skilled or amateur bowlers to improve their game. Players will try to increase their bowling skills to chase high average scores. This number system promotes healthy completion and more players’ involvement in the leagues.
3 – Balanced Teams
One of its other essential points is that it balances the teams. With individuals of different skill levels in both teams, handicap number ensures a fair play chance so both teams can win the game equally.
4 – Engaging New Comers
This is an exciting way to attract newcomers to play in leagues and tournaments to create diversity in bowling. Beginners often feel discouraged from playing against skilled players, and handicap allows them to level their skills and participate without pressure.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Handicap
Well, the coin holds two sides, so the handicap rule. Where it is a favor for amateur players, many skilled players do not support this rule. According to them, granting bonuses cannot be the right way to motivate new players and impacts their winning chances.
|Promotes fair competition
|Potential for gaming the system
|Difficulty comparing scores
|Levels the playing field
|Limited representation of actual skill
|Creates balanced teams
|Inconsistencies across leagues
|Attracts and engages newcomers
Closing the discussion on how to calculate bowling handicap, now you are fully aware of the method and calculation. You can do it yourself or ask a bowling supervisor to help you. The handicap gives amateur players an advantage, allowing them to play in leagues with confidence and motivation. It adds versatility to the bowling game, allowing fair play.
Share your opinion regarding the bowling handicap. Is it a fair rule or not?
William Martin is a passionate bowler who spends most of his weekends playing the sport. With years of intense experience under his belt, William decided to share his knowledge by creating BOWLING OCEAN. Join me on this journey to explore the world of bowling and discover the tips and tricks to becoming a pro.