Bowling - Bowling Centers

Bowling Centers

A bowling center is a facility that is equipped to play the game of bowling. Bowling centers usually have at least two lanes with larger centers having over 80 lanes. Depending on the building, lanes may be laid all on one floor, across multiple floors, or a setup with a group of lanes facing one direction and another group of lanes facing another direction. Bowling lanes are laid out in married pairs with each pair sharing a ball return rack, automatic scoring console, and in some cases a bowler seating setup. Weekly league sessions are normally contested on one married pair of lanes with equal play for each participant on each lane. In a tournament, one game will be played on a married pair of lanes and bowlers will change to a new pair of lanes after every game.

The lanebed is built from either wood or phenolic. A wood lane uses maple for pindecks, the ball impact zone and the approach while pine is used for the second half of the lane after the impact zone. The measurement from the foul line to the center axis of the head pin is exactly sixty feet. In tenpin, the pins are either Surlyn-coated maple or a plastic composite. For small ball bowling, all pins are now made of plastic composites. The pinsetter varies by game, but have two foundations - string and free-fall. Most ten-pin, candlepin, and duckpin centers are free fall while five-pin and soft belly duckpin centers are dominated by string pinsetters. String pinsetters have a lower operating cost. The ball return consists of a ball tray and an up-ramp. Most ten pin centers and some small ball centers use a power lift to raise the ball to the tray.

A bowling center requires a lot of space. A single lane requires a footprint of about 620 square feet including the lane bed, gutters, pit end, pinsetter, ball returns, and approach area. This does not include space for seating, party rooms, arcades, the concourse, kitchen, administrative areas, fire safety systems, and other building requirements.

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