Bowling Lane Dimensions (Home Bowling Lane Included)
Understanding our playing field, bowlers don’t take the time to learn about what they’re actually participating and playing their sport on. In basketball, everybody knows that the rim is 10 feet from the floor, and in football, everybody knows that the field is 100 yards long from end zone to end zone. If we are eager to learn about the different bowling lane dimensions, the first question that arises is:
How long is a bowling lane?
The USBC regulates many markings and measurements of the bowling lane surface through their bowling lane specifications rulebook. All lanes measure 60 feet from the foul line to the headpin.
How wide is a bowling lane?
Lanes are also approximately 41 feet and 1/2 inches in width from gutter to gutter.
Bowling Lane Boards
Bowling Lanes are typically marked in or constructed from 39 boards.
Bowling Lane Dimensions Diagram
Take a look at this image before we dive and dissect every section of a bowling lane and explain it to you as easily as possible.
Let’s dig deeper and answer a few questions about various bowling lane dimensions and markings. What are the Dots? How far are the arrows? What are the different markings on the lane, and what do they mean?
1. The Targeting Dots
Our first stop out of the lane is the Dots. Dots are placed on the approach to allow the bowler to line up for their shot. Most bowling approaches have a set of dots at the foul line along with two sets of dots near the beginning of the approach.
These markings are always 5 boards apart and coincide with the arrows on the lane. The USBC actually allows for up to 7 sets of approach guides to be in place at various distances from the foul line.
The distance is roughly 6 to 8 feet away from the foul line. Now you might be wondering why it is approximately 6-8 ft and not an exact number. According to USBC specifications, it does not have to be an exact number. Any number with this certain parameter will do.
What are these Dots used for?
These dots are used when people want to get the bowling ball rolling a little sooner. They may bring their target and their eyes closer to them and use one of these targeting dots to help that.
If you have found yourself consistently fouling or coming up short of the foul line at a different bowling center, know that the distance of the approach dots from the foul line is not regulated to an exact distance.
2. The Targeting Arrows (Arrows on Bowling Lane)
The arrows are marked on every fifth board across the lane surface. I can tell you that the third arrow from the left and the third arrow from the right is exactly 15 feet from the foul line and serve as the visual target for almost all bowlers.
One important thing to note is that each arrow is in 5 board increments. So, the arrow farthest from the right (we call that the first arrow for right-handers) is on board 5, the second arrow on board 10, the third arrow on board 15, and then the middle arrow (the fourth arrow) is on board 20.
And then work our way across the lane for left-handers, 15, 10, and 5. In my opinion, the targeting arrows are the most widely used targeting method for bowlers worldwide.
3. The Down Lane Targets or Range Finders
Down lane targets or Range Finders are visible on a certain brand of synthetic Lane surface. The first set of range finders is at 34 feet. They go 3 feet in distance, and they end at 37 feet.
The second set starts at 40 feet and 3 feet in length and then ends at those 43 feet in distance.
The inner pair of targets line up with the 3rd and 3rd arrows or the 15th and 25th boards from the gutter.
The outer pair of targets line up at the 2nd and 6th arrows or the 10th and 30th boards in the gutter.
While little variation is allowed according to the rule book, nearly every bowling center uses the exact location for these markings.
What are these markings used for most in bowling?
It’s really breakpoint control when you’re throwing shots down the lane. It’s easy to tell where your bowling ball is because you have some breakpoint markings that will help you guide along the way.
Summary: Bowling Lane Measurements
Lanes are usually 60 feet from the foul line to the headpin.
Approximately 41.5 feet wide from gutter to gutter.
Bowling Lanes are marked in from 39 boards.
In the Targeting Arrows, each arrow is in 5 board increments.
There are two sets of Down Lane Targets or Range Finders. The first set starts at 34 feet and ends at 37 feet. The second set starts at 40 feet and ends at 47 feet.
Home Bowling Lane Dimensions
There are probably 5000 homes in the United States with bowling lanes in them. So, home bowling or residential bowling is actually a thing.
There are basically two different home bowling alley dimensions available.
1. Home Bowling Alley Dimensions for Mini Lane: This one is for smaller spaces that run about 31-32 feet long.
2. Home Bowling Alley Dimensions for Full Version Lane: They go about 88-100 feet in length, depending on whether you have seating behind the lanes.
However, nothing is carved in stone. You can also get a customized bowling lane if you want. Some companies like Fusion Bowling or All America Bowling do offer that.
Home Bowling Lane Cost:
A mini bowling lane will cost you USD 30k-50k installed turnkey.
On the other hand, a full lane (full version bowling lane machine and all the whole yards) would be somewhere between 90k-120k depending on the extras you want with the lighting and so forth.
The next time you visit a new center or feel pressure in an unfamiliar environment, remember it’s 60 feet long and 39 boards wide, just like you’ve always bowled on.