The History of Bowling in the United States


As a sport that has been popular in the United States for many years, bowling has interesting roots. This article will explain how it began and changed throughout time. It will also provide commentary on the current state of the game and challenges going into the future.

Dutch Roots

Early Dutch settlers came to what became the United States in the 17th Century and brought with them a popular game. “Kegel” used nine pins, and like bowling, was mostly about rolling a ball, and attempting to knock down as many pins as possible. As happened with other American games such as baseball, various versions of the game were developed, each with their own unique sets of rules. Despite a lack of standardization, many settlers were playing some version of the sport.

German Influence

In the 19th Century, bowling had grown and expanded west, along with the population on the North American continent. The game was especially popular in German-American circles, and standard rule sets and leagues began to form. During this period, bowling became associated with gambling and alcoholism, leading some states, including New York and Connecticut to ban the activity. To combat bowling prohibitions, bowlers added a 10th pin to develop a new, unregulated sport. Evidently, this version stuck and is ubiquitously played to this day.

The Boom

By the turn of the 20th century, bowling had become a popular pastime and was played in a variety of forms, according to Bowling Addicts. Bowling alleys were built. The American Bowling Congress (ABC) formed and created a unified set of rules. The 1950s saw a huge boom in popularity, with countless players. The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) was established in 1958.

Modern Changes

The sport has seen some changes in recent years to keep up with modern days. Bowling alley improvements, such as better food options, arcade games, upgrades to the lanes themselves, and more have been incorporated to fight for the sport’s popularity in modern society. Luxury bowling alleys with many entertainment options are seeing huge growth.

The sport of bowling and bowling alleys have evolved with America and played a role in the lives of countless people. If you’re looking for the next generation of bowling alleys, visit Lodi Bowling Alley today. We look forward to seeing you.