What Is An Open Frame In Bowling?

what is an open frame in bowling

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It’s not uncommon for novice bowlers to have questions about the game and its terminology. One of the most commonly asked questions is, “What is an open frame in bowling?”

This article will answer that question and a few others related to open frames. By understanding what constitutes an open frame, you can avoid making costly mistakes on the lanes.

What Is An Open Frame In Bowling, And How Does It Work?

An open frame in bowling is a term that refers to any frame in which all the pins are knocked down. In other words, an open frame is one in which a bowler has scored a strike or a spare, meaning that all of the pins are successfully cleared from the lane with each shot.

Open frames can be either positive or negative, depending on whether the player made a good score or not. For example, if someone were to knock down all ten pins on their first attempt, they would have achieved an open frame and earned ten points.

However, if someone were to miss all ten pins on their first attempt and leave multiple pins standing, they would have an open frame and rather than earning any points, they would lose between zero and two points based on how many pins were left standing.

Thus, an open frame can be seen as an opportunity to build up one’s score or minimize it, depending on how well the shot went. Ultimately, it is an essential concept for bowlers to understand and be mindful of as they play games or compete against others.

What is an open frame in bowling?

Bowling Scoring

The result of each frame is used to compute the overall score in bowling. A frame is a 10-pin bowling frame. The bowler has two opportunities to hit the pins, as there are two bowls in a frame.

The last ten pins are at the end of the alley. A strike is a bowler who successfully bowls all 10 pins on his or her first try. When you destroy all 10 pins in your second bowl, you’ve got a spare. Finally, an “open frame” game entails no knocking down of the pins.

When you’re tracking your current frame’s total running score, the symbols ‘X or x’ for spare, ‘/’ for strike,’-‘ for no pins knocked down, and ‘5 4’ for 1st roll versus 2nd roll will appear on your bowling screen.

Bowling Perfect Score

A bowling alley has a minimum score of 0 and a maximum score of 300. A player is given two opportunities to knock down all of the pins in each frame in order to win. To obtain a strike, you’d need an exceptional achievement.

Open Frames 

A bowler’s failure to knock over all ten pins with both bowls results in an open frame. To compute the score of an open frame, the total number of pins toppled on both bowls is combined.

In this example, if you throw two pins over on the first bowl and six pins over on the second bowling attempt, your open frame score would be 8 points.

When only open frames are evaluated, the final score is simple to calculate. However, when spares and strikes are factored in, things get a bit more challenging.


On a scorecard, a spare occurs if you complete the frame on your second attempt. The subsequent frame’s score is derived from the previous frame’s deficit.


A strike is worth 10 points, but rather than taking the first roll of the next frame, the aggregate of the next two rolls is taken.

The 10th Frame

The bowler receives two additional rolls whenever a spare is made. The bowler who strikes on the tenth frame gets two more rolls. To keep track of how many pins have been knocked down, the overall count is kept.

Difference Between Open And Closed Frame

Pins are left behind when the frame is opened as soon as the first ball strikes the ground. Furthermore, if an open frame exists, the player is not required to pay any bonuses. To calculate a new total, existing pins from the previous frame must be added to the current total.

A strike is recorded on the scorecard when 10 pins are knocked down in a round. A spare is one that can only be taken down with two shots. The frame is closed after two shots, and if one pin remains standing after those two shots,

To close a frame in accordance with the USBC rule, you must kick it in one or two directions.

what is an open frame in bowling
What is an open frame in bowling?

Future Of Open Frame Bowling 

Open frame bowling is an emerging trend in bowling, and it shows great promise as a viable replacement for traditional ball return systems. Open frame bowling differs from traditional bowling in several vital ways.

First, open frame bowling utilizes a thinner lane surface that allows players to position their balls at multiple spots along the bowler’s line.

In addition, open frame bowling relies on lower-density polyurethane balls that are less prone to skidding or fouling and allow for more control over the direction and speed of each throw.

While these advances have made open frame bowling an attractive alternative to traditional ball return systems, many still question its long-term viability.

Some argue that the current technology will not be able to keep up with developing trends in recreational and competitive play. Ultimately, open-frame bowling will become obsolete as new technologies emerge.

However, others maintain that open-frame bowling offers significant advantages over conventional systems that are likely to sustain its popularity well.

Regardless of which side of this debate you support, one thing is clear: the future of open-frame bowling looks bright, and it will continue to be a significant player on the modern lane for years to come.


Now that you know all about open frames in bowling, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Bowling scoring can be a little confusing at first, but once you understand the basics, it’s easy to keep track of your score and work towards that perfect game. Strikes and spares are both important in getting your score up, but don’t forget about that 10th frame! It can make or break your game. We hope you have fun trying out this popular sport.

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Picture of Shmulik Dorinbaum

Shmulik Dorinbaum

I play bowling almost daily, and on the days I'm not? I'm writing about my day and what I need to do to improve myself as a better bowling player.

Picture of Shmulik Dorinbaum

Shmulik Dorinbaum

I play bowling almost daily, and on the days I'm not? I'm writing about my day and what I need to do to improve myself as a better bowling player.

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