Let's Play Duckpin Bowling

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

When one witness a bowling game where the players use balls and pins that are midget-like, he is witnessing a duckpin bowling competition.


Duckpin bowling was born somewhere in the 1900's in the eastern part of the United States. Duckpin is believed to have been born in the bowling alley which was owned by the famous baseball players Wilbert Robinson and John Mcgraw. History has it that people back then had an interesting idea of making the pins and balls smaller. The manager of the bowling alley, Mr. John Van Sant, hired a wood turner to customize the balls and pins. The people loved the new game and played it.

By the 1930s, around 200,000 people were playing the game. It has continuously gained popularity because people who wanted the fun of ten-pin bowling but hated the stress and backaches caused by the game quickly shifted to duckpin bowling.

Why is it called "duckpin" bowling?

The owners of the bowling alley (the baseball players) were also duck hunting enthusiasts. They loved hunting birds, especially duck during their spare time. As they watched the pins scatter around the alley, one of them made a comment about how the pins resembled ducks. This is the story of why the game was named "duckpin"


Duckpin bowling has the same goal as that of regular ten-pin bowling- knock all the pins down. However, there are some major differences between the two games:

-The size of the duckpin ball is smaller, of course. A duckpin ball will measure to about 5 inches in diameter (maximum). The duckpin balls do not have holes in them, they are meant to be held in one hand.

-The pins are also smaller. The duckpins measure to around 10 inches in height.

-In duckpin, one can throw three balls during a certain round. Unlike regular ten-pin bowling, a player can try his luck three times during a certain round. This is because it is much harder to get a strike or a spare in duckpin bowling as compared to regular bowling.

-When a player knocks down all the pins in three throws, he is merited with 10 points. No bonuses are given to him for knocking all the pins down.

One must try playing duckpin bowling to experience the fun and excitement it brings. It's as fun as ten-pin bowling but minus all the back and finger aches.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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