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Greatest Bowlers of All Time: Who’s the PBA Goat in Bowling?

Gold trophy with bowling ball and pins was the trophy received for the first bowler in test cricket history to reach 500 wickets.

Whether you’re a beginner bowler or not, knowing about the greatest bowlers of all time is essential to gauge your current skill set and discover what’s possible in the sport.

You’d be surprised at some of the feats bowlers have accomplished since the inception of the sport. If you want to know who the greatest bowlers of all time are, their accomplishments, and more, you’re in the right place!

Let’s jump right in!

Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Greatest Bowlers of All Time

Just because you belong to a respected organization like the PBA doesn’t mean you’ll end up being one of the greatest bowlers in history. Yet the organization has been fortunate enough to have many members with outstanding gameplay skills and wins among their ranks.

Here are five impressive names you’ll likely find at the top of any PBA list of exceptional bowlers:

Earl Anthony

Earl Anthony is considered one the most accomplished bowlers, winning six PBA National Championships, with 43 career titles to his name.

Earl anthony in a black and white images, the winner of pba titles and two firestone tournament

Pete Weber

Pete Weber has his own collection of 37 PBA Tour titles, 6 PBA 5 0 titles, and recognition of his achievements in 10 major championships.

Black and white image of pete weber who made bowling history more than one occasion: completing the “triple crown” at least twice (1989 and 2013) in a career and being inductee in the hall of fame at an early age.

Walter Ray Williams Jr.

Walter Ray Williams, Jr. has had 47 career titles and is widely known as the bowler with the most wins. Williams won eight primary championships during his career.

Image of walter ray williams jr who won his 47th pba title in 2010

Mark Roth

Mark Roth is a legend who won 34 career titles. He also won two major championships and set a record for the most single-season championships.

Black and white image of mark roth a usbc and pba hall of fame member

Norm Duke

Norm Duke won 2 PBA 50 titles in addition to his 38 titles, which include 7 major championships.

Black and white image of norm duke who made pba history as only one of three to reach 40 career pba tour titles at the time.

This list is by no means exhausted, and many other spectacular bowlers’ names rank among these names for any number of reasons.

Bowling is a popular sport with many stars that are established and rising. They have worked for their status and for other bowlers to learn from. But when it comes to name recognition, skill, and achievements, these are the five names you will most likely see repeatedly regarding their PBA association.

Best Male Bowlers of All Time

Even though the PBA list includes only males, that doesn’t mean all male bowling greats are found within their lists of the greatest bowlers around.

Here are the five best male bowlers of all time: 

Jason Belmonte

Jason Belmonte has an impressive 13 major titles to his name. The fact that he’s considered one of the best male bowlers out there might not surprise anyone who knows that he was raised in his family’s bowling alley. In fact, Belmonte rolled his first ball at only 18 months old!

Jason belmonte black and white image is an international bowler and has won titles in many places in the world

Mike Aulby

Mike Aulby is one of a handful of people who were able to get 8 major titles. Aulby is widely known for his overall championship performances throughout his career.

1997 Brunswick World Tournament of Champions

Don Carter

Don Carter won 6 major titles in his career. Carter was also a charter member and the first president of the PBA.

Black and white image of don carter the first pba president
[1], Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Del Ballard, Jr.

Del Ballard, Jr. won the titles at 2 US Opens, a Masters, and a PBA National Championship during his career. He’s included in multiple halls of fame, honoring his contribution to excellence in bowling.

Jason Couch, being the only bowler to win three Tournament of Champions titles and a Touring Players Championship, made history. He also achieved 16 PBA titles throughout his career.

2022 Florida Blue Medicare PBA50 National Championship Stepladder Finals

The names on the Best Bowler of All Time list include some of the best players bowling has had in the sport over the decade. But remember, records are broken all the time, so several other names could easily have been listed.

Best Female Bowlers of All Time

Women’s bowling has seen some of the most talented players within the sport. So, while you’ll find many different names on lists of the top female bowlers of all time, don’t be surprised to find these five bowlers on every single one:

Lisa Wagner

Lisa Wagner is arguably the most celebrated female bowler of her time. She earned the most professional titles throughout her career and was inducted into the Women’s Professional Bowling Hall of Fame.

LPBT-Ladies Pro Bowlers tour - 2 shows - late 1980s

Patty Costello

Patty Costello racked up an impressive 25 professional titles and set a record for winning the most titles within a year. Costello is also a member of the USBC Hall of Fame.

10th Greatest Season in PWBA History: Patty Costello (1972)

Aleta Sill

Aleta Sill is widely known as the first female bowler to have won over one million dollars in bowling – an impressive feat on its own! Sill also won the Triple Crown twice and is a member of eight bowling halls of fame. On top of that, she also earned 32 PWBA Championships.

1988 LPBT Fair Lanes Houston Open Entire Telecast

Robin Romeo

Robin Romeo won 17 professional titles and was named Bowler of the Year in 1980. She also set multiple records when she qualified for 77 successive tournaments.

1990 LPBT Brunswick Open Entire Telecast

Leanne Barrette-Hulsenberg

Leanne Barrette-Hulsenberg won 26 PWBA titles and Player of the Year 3 times. Barrette-Hulsenberg is also one of just four women who has won more than one million dollars while on the PWBA tour.

2002 Bowling PWBA Lady Ebonite Classic

The women on this list have accomplished more than most of their peers, earning them a place amongst the best bowlers of all time. 

The Most Popular Bowlers

If you want to know who the most popular bowlers are, look above; the bowlers mentioned above are famous for their outstanding accomplishments. They’re also known for being well-liked.

These traits have fostered some serious supporters and fans over the years, making everyone on the lists above a part of the popular crowd.

You can also include honorable mentions:

Liz Johnson

2011 Bowling US Womens Open: Match 2: Lynda Barnes vs Liz Johnson

Mike Durbin

1984 Firestone Tournament Of Champions

Amleto Monacelli

1997 Mobil 1 Classic

Kelly Kulick

2010 Bowling USBC Queens Tournament

Jakob Butturff

PBA Televised 300 Game #28: Jakob Butturff

Harry Smith

Championship Bowling: Joe Joseph vs Harry Smith [1959]

Danielle McEwan

2017 World Bowling Tour Finals

Many others deserve a place on any most popular bowlers list. Visit any official bowling regulating website and look at their Hall of Fame members to find a plethora of other names. There are many other talented players to learn about there!

The Most Famous Bowler

While winning the most games and money is what some bowlers are all about, there’s a lot to be said about being the most famous bowler around. Name recognition and sponsorships are rewards in themselves, and it doesn’t hurt if you happen to be more famous than accomplished in sports.

Selecting just one bowler isn’t easy, and there are no discernable rules for what would make one bowler more famous than another. Yet, if you were to search for the most famous bowler of all time, you’d likely see the name Earl Anthony.

Going for 300 with Earl Anthony

You likely recognize that name from the (PBA) Greatest Bowler of All Time list earlier in this article. Anthony has been repeatedly named on fans’ most famous lists for years and is remembered as a master of his generation of bowling. Even though Anthony passed away in 2001, his name has been memorialized as a genuine and talented professional bowler.

Is Your Favorite Bowler Missing From Our List?

It’s entirely possible that your favorite bowler(s) is not on our list. If that’s the case, it could just be due to chance. That doesn’t mean that the bowler(s) you had in mind is no less awesome than you think they are.

You might already know an outstanding bowler who plays a few lanes down from you every Saturday. Even so, these lists of the Greats are the subject of many interesting conversations about this amazing sport.

Who Was the Best Bowler in History?

Earl Anthony is widely acknowledged as the best bowler in history, having secured a remarkable 43 career titles. His skill, precision, and consistency on the lanes set a standard of excellence, marking him a standout performer in professional bowling.

Who Has the Most PBA Tour Titles?

Walter Ray Williams Jr. holds the record for the most PBA Tour titles, with 47. A dominant figure in professional bowling, Williams’ exceptional talent and competitive spirit have earned him a revered place in bowling history, showcasing a career marked by consistency and top-tier performances.

Is Earl Anthony the Greatest Bowler of All Time?

Earl Anthony’s legacy as the greatest bowler of all time is well-founded. With a collection of 43 career titles and six PBA National Championships, Anthony’s contributions to the sport are unparalleled, showcasing mastery that continues to be celebrated in the bowling community.

Is Pete Weber the Best Bowler Ever?

Pete Weber is undoubtedly a bowling legend, amassing 37 PBA Tour titles and 10 major championships. However, the title of “the best bowler ever” is often attributed to Earl Anthony, given his higher number of career titles and iconic status in the sport.

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And you can continue the conversation in your own life; look to more experienced players at your alley to learn about bowling’s evolution and those who have impacted it over the years.

You can even strike up a conversation with fellow bowlers and ask who they feel belongs on any of these lists. You’re likely to enjoy some lively discussions and debates.

We hope you found this article helpful, and we wish you the best with your individual growth in the sport!