• What is Duckpin Bowling?

Posted by: kidhelper on Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Duckpin Bowling is an old form of ten pin bowling only with a smaller ball and smaller (squattier) pins. It is really popular more in the Eastern US, especially around Baltimore north and south. On my last two trips to Baltimore, MD I was able to play this fun version of traditional bowling. You could say this is more the original form of bowling.

The ball is about the size of a softball, I am holding one in my hand. It can weigh 2-4 pounds. It does not have any finger holes. Another feature of the game that is different than our more traditional bowling, you get three tries per frame to knock all the pins down, not two. The scoring is similar, but with extra throw you get another chance at getting all ten pins down. If you knock all the balls down, that is a Strike. If you knock all the pins down with second ball, that is a Spare. How ever many you knock down by the third throw, that becomes your score.


You can see by this photo the varieties there are in bowling pins. Duckpins are the second two from the left. The tall narrow pin is called a Candle Pin is the second from the right.  The standard bowling pin, for many of us, is on the far right. You will notice the two other pins with a rubber collar around the pin, these are Rubber Pin Bowling Pins. I have never played this type, but apparently, you get more bounce, or pin action, when the pins hit each other.

For the younger players they have these guard rails that close off the gutters, so there are no gutter balls. So the thrown ball stays in the lane, no matter how the ball is thrown. My youngest grand kids aged three and six, could not really throw the ball correctly, but because of the slight slope in the floor, a dropped ball at the line, the ball would roll very slowly all the way down the lane, bouncing off the gutter rails and at the other end would knock down pins, every time. It was so funny to watch these two just run up to the start line, drop the ball and watch it roll all the way down bouncing from rail to rail to the pins and knock them down. My son and I just barely beat these two with this kind of throwing, which compared to ours, should not have happened, we surmised. It kept them in the game and made a lot of family fun.

For a family outing this was a winner. We just played for about an hour, free pizza came with the deal. The pizza was not that great, but a good time was had by all. I actually scored a win, but not by much. Only a few pins separated me from the youngest two! It was close!

FYI, Babe Ruth loved to play Duckpin Bowling!

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