Whether you own a bowling ball or rely on house balls, a game of bowling is a great way to relieve stress and have a ton of fun. Heck, it’s even a great date idea or double date idea for long-time friends!

However, not everyone has a few hours free on a random weeknight for a long haul at the lanes. The average person has a lot to do during a given day, especially if they’ve got a family and children to attend to. Sometimes it’s hard to spend time on yourself that you don’t have!

Whether you’re thinking about joining a bowling league or just want to throw a few frames with friends, you’re probably wondering about the average length of a bowling game. Does it change dramatically based on the number of people playing? Can you complete ten frames in fifteen minutes? Thirty? Does your local bowling center have a time limit for a single game of bowling?

We’re here to give you the lowdown on the length of bowling games. Whether you have two bowlers in your party or are trying to cram six people onto a single lane, we’re here to break things down for you.

How long does one game of bowling take?

The average game of bowling for a single player is about ten minutes. However, that’s a standalone example and doesn’t factor in wait times for other players and other distractions around the alley. Honestly, it’s hard to complete a game of bowling in ten minutes unless you’re extremely focused and not taking breaks.

And if you’re bowling with just one ball instead of two, you might have to add a minute or two for waiting on the ball return. Sometimes the return gets stuck or backed up with other balls. Oftentimes, a ten-minute bowling game will last twelve to fifteen minutes with such delays added in.

If you hope to get a few games played in under one hour, you’ve got other questions to consider too. Let’s take a look at factors that might lengthen the time it takes to complete a bowling game.

How many bowlers are playing?

The more bowlers on your lane, the more time it will take to complete a game. And the more players that are bowling, the more variables there are for timing things out. If you have four bowlers on a single lane, getting things done in 40 minutes might be a pipe dream — especially if bowlers are distracted by other things going on at the alley.

Are players distracted by arcade games or the snack bar?

The modern bowling alley is more of an amusement center than anything else. There are video games to play, on-demand jukeboxes to tinker with, and plenty of yummy food and drink items to consume. If you’ve got five players in your party, chances are that one will delay the proceedings while finishing a beverage or taking a spin at Skee-Ball in the arcade. If you’re on a tight schedule, you’ll need to factor this in.

Are more strikes being thrown on average or less?

A game with three strikes will last longer than a game with seven strikes. That’s because there will be four extra shots to take into account, each adding time to the overall duration of a game. The better bowler you are and the more practice you have under your belt, the less time a given game of bowling will take if you’re in the zone. If you don’t bowl regularly, ten minutes is likely not an attainable goal for a bowling game.

Are players serious about the bowling game or are they messing around?

If you’ve ever been split into teams in a league, you likely have dealt with a bowler that’s just not into it. They hold things up, especially if you’re playing on just one lane. The less that bowlers are focused on your lane, the more time it will take for a game to get done.

Is the bowling alley in good order or are there constant stoppages for maintenance?

Are you being left to wonder when a bowling attendant will service your lane over and over again? Is the ball return acting up? The more technical delays you have to contend with, the more time it will take to finish a game.

Is there a group of bowlers next to you on one or both sides?

It’s a bowling lane courtesy to let other bowlers in adjacent lanes finish their shots before standing in the approach area. If it’s a busy day or night at the bowling alley, this might add some time to the length of a game of bowling.

How many games are you playing?

So, how long does a game of bowling take if you’re playing multiple games? Over the course of multiple games, several factors could increase the time of each game.

Does the average game length increase when more games are played?

Not necessarily. However, fatigue will often add a few minutes to a game due to missed shots or needing to take a longer pause between shots. And if you’ve got six players in your party, that leaves plenty of opportunities for distractions or lengthy delays. Consider splitting your party into two or three lanes, placing the bowlers who need to head out sooner onto one lane.

How long does it take to finish two games of bowling?

Two games of bowling will likely take anywhere from 20-30 minutes per player. The better the bowlers and the more focused they are, the shorter the time.

How long does it take to finish three games of bowling?

Three games of bowling, on average, will take 30-45 minutes to play for a single bowler. The more bowlers in your party, the longer it will take for you to get those games done. Two players will likely complete a series of three games in about 60-90 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you play an entire game of bowling in ten minutes?

It’s possible! If you’re bowling alone on a lane and limit your delays and breaks, you can finish one game in ten minutes.

Do different bowling balls affect the length of a bowling game?

Not necessarily. However, a ball that helps you get more strikes will help you decrease the length of a bowling game. The fewer shots you have to take to finish a game, the less time it will take to complete.

Should I split my party at the bowling centre into two lanes?

If you have four to six players in your party, you might want to consider booking two lanes. This is especially true if you’re short on time or you’re renting lanes at a per-hour rate.

How many people are allowed to play a single game on a lane?

It depends on the bowling alley. Some bowling centers limit you to four players per lane. Others allow as many as eight bowlers to play on a single lane. Just remember — a single lane with eight bowlers is going to lead to long delays between frames for each bowler.

Do bowling centers sell socks along with renting bowling shoes?

Most bowling centers sell basic pairs of socks either at the desk or in a vending machine. However, they are often marked up to provide bigger profits to the center.

Closing Thoughts

Remember, bowling doesn’t have a minimum age! Younger bowlers might lengthen the time it takes to complete a game. But, it’s worth it to see kids have fun if you have a few extra minutes to spare. If you can, don’t rush things! You can book bowling lanes for longer if you have some free time and enjoy everything that an alley has to offer while taking a breath or two. It’s ultimately up to you and what your schedule will allow.