Candlepin Bowling

Candlepin bowling was developed in the late 1800s in Worcester, Massachusetts, by a local bowling center owner Justin White. Today the game is enjoyed in many diverse places such as California and Germany in addition to New England. As in other forms of bowling, the players roll balls down a wooden pathway (“lane”) to knock down as many pins as possible.

The main differences between candlepin bowling and the predominant tenpin bowling style are that each player uses three balls per frame, rather than two. The balls are much smaller (11.43 cm or 4½ in diameter) with each ball weighing as much as only one candlepin and without finger holes. The pins are thinner (hence the name “candlepin”), and thus harder to knock them down. The downed pins (known as “wood”) are not cleared away between balls during a player’s turn. Because of these differences, scoring points is considerably more difficult than in tenpin bowling, and the highest officially sanctioned score ever recorded is 245 out of a possible 300 points.

Find a Special Olympics Area program near you to participate. Contact your Area Manager if you’re interested in starting this sport in your Area.


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