Like most other competitive sports, bowling is governed by strict rules about play area dimensions.
These rules are in place to ensure that no one has an unfair advantage over their competitors.
If you’re interested in answering the question, how long is a bowling alley, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll examine the actual dimensions of a bowling alley and what it means for your gameplay.
- 1 How Long Is a Bowling Alley?
- 2 How Long/Wide is a Mini Bowling Alley?
- 3 Are Home Bowling Alleys Smaller Than Regulation Bowling Alleys?
- 3.1 Space Required for A Home Bowling Alley
- 3.2 Space Required for a Regulation Bowling Alley
- 3.3 Other Bowling Alley Size Considerations
- 3.4 Does Bowling Alley Size Matter?
- 3.5 Related Articles
How Long Is a Bowling Alley?
The bowling lane dimensions may stretch for one hundred feet, but all the bowling equipment that makes up a lane can fit into eighty-seven feet (87′) (or 26.52 meters) if needed.
On average, a bowling lane is sixty feet (60′) (or 18.29 meters) long and forty-one and a half inches (41.5″) (or 105.41 cm) wide. The bowling alley isn’t just a single lane for rolling the ball.
There are four distinct parts of any bowling lane that a player needs to know. These are:
- The Approach: This area makes up fifteen feet at the start of the bowling lane. The approach should use this area to add momentum to the throw and impart some force to get the ball to the pins.
- The Foul Line: The foul line follows the approach and is a well-marked line approximately 1-3/8″ broad. The alley is sixty feet (or 18.29 meters) from the foul line to the head pin. If the player oversteps this line, their throw is voided.
- The Lane: The lane stretches for sixty feet (or 18.29 meters) from the foul line. Part of the lane surface is oiled to increase its smoothness.
- The Pin Deck: The final two feet (or 0.61 meters) of the lane make up the pin deck, where the ten pins are kept, collected, and rearranged for each throw.
All of these components can vary in width and length.
Are All Bowling Alleys the Same Length?
Bowling alley lanes length will vary, although the minimum length of 60’ applies for regulation alleys.
The length may vary based on the amount of space available for the bowling alley.
For that reason, you’ll find bowling alleys as long as 87’ or as short as 60’.
How Long/Wide is a Mini Bowling Alley?
Don’t have enough space for a regulation-size bowling alley? Go for a mini-bowling alley instead. The average mini bowling system can easily fit into space around thirty-six feet (36′) to forty-five feet (45’) long.
However, the length and width of mini bowling alleys also differ depending on the available space.
The shortest length of a mini-bowling alley you’ll find is around twenty-seven feet (27′), with the average length being thirty-six feet (36′) to forty-five feet (45′).
The width of these mini bowling alleys typically comes in at fourteen feet (14′) for a pair of lanes.
Are Home Bowling Alleys Smaller Than Regulation Bowling Alleys?
How long are home bowling lanes? Given the average lane length and lane width of a regulation bowling alley, home bowling alleys are far smaller and narrower.
The mini alley will feel small for those used to bowling on a regulation alley. You may even need to adjust your bowling technique to get the results you’d typically get at a commercial bowling alley.
Space Required for A Home Bowling Alley
When determining how long is a bowling alley and the space requirement, a home bowling alley’s dimensions will vary based on the buyer’s preferences and the size of the room it’s in.
Anyone interested in purchasing a home bowling alley will need to consider the bowler’s area, the pinsetters, the lanes and their spacing, and the length of the lanes themselves.
Assuming the minimum size for everything, the smallest room you can house a home bowling alley in is approximately seven hundred square feet (700 sq. ft.
However, if you want a bit more room to play with and some slightly longer lanes, you may be looking at anywhere between eight hundred square feet (800 sq. ft) and nine hundred square feet (900 sq. ft).
Space Required for a Regulation Bowling Alley
You’ll need a space at least 100 feet long or wide for a regulation bowling alley. This room size will not only accommodate the lane, but the pinsetter, ball return system, and other odds and ends.
If your property doesn’t allow for such space, you’ll need to knock out some walls or opt for a smaller overall bowling alley.
Other Bowling Alley Size Considerations
To purchase a bowling alley for residential use, you need to look at more than the dimensions shared earlier.
Though knowing the average sizes is important, you’ll need to consider several other things to ensure that your bowling alley is a good fit for your household. Here they are:
How often do you plan on using it?
Anyone who doesn’t plan on using their bowling alley often may want to opt for a smaller one. Why? If you only use your bowling alley occasionally, chances are you won’t want it to take up a ton of space.
On the other hand, if you’re a true bowling buff, you may want to go as big as you possibly can. In that case, go for a regulation-sized bowling alley.
How much bowling alley can you afford?
A regulation-length home bowling alley (assuming you already own the land it’s going on) will likely cost anywhere between $120,000 to $150,000 for a simple two-lane project.
The cost will vary depending on how many extras you want your home bowling alley to have and if you want to trick it out with more high-tech equipment or not.
The obvious alternative is a mini-bowling alley, which is a lot more cost-effective. At the top end, a mini-bowling alley will probably cost around $50,000 to install, including two lanes and the bowling balls and pins.
At the cheaper end of the scale, mini alleys can be constructed for as little as $18,000, although their performance and durability over the long term may be questionable.
Putting the time and effort into figuring out what you want from your home bowling alley will help narrow down your options.
What size bowling alley are you used to playing on?
It may not be readily apparent, but the size of a bowling alley can affect your skill level and scoring ability. For instance, if you’re used to playing on a mini-bowling alley, you’ll notice the difference when you switch to a regulation bowling alley. Your game may suffer to the point that you become frustrated.
The same goes for the reverse; switching from a regulation bowling alley to a mini-bowling alley may be underwhelming. In most cases, the experience of a regulation bowling alley is impossible to replicate with a mini-bowling alley.
Does Bowling Alley Size Matter?
The size of your bowling alley does matter. A bowling alley that’s not the right size can result in more disappointment than fun.
Consider a case where you need a bowling alley for kids – a regulation-sized alley may not be the right choice.
The kids may find throwing the ball hard enough to hit the pins difficult.
Likewise, a mini-bowling alley may not be long enough for adults, leading to a bowling experience that’s less than a challenge.
There you have it – while regulation bowling alleys have standard size rules, home bowling alleys are much more customizable.
If you want a bowling alley for your home, it’s crucial to take ample time to figure out just how large it should be.
Consider your home size, who will be bowling at your place, how much of a bowling fan you are, etc. Once you’ve chosen the perfect bowling alley size, you can proceed to the next step of the process – purchasing and installing it.
We hope that this article has been helpful to you, having given you in-depth information about bowling alley sizes and how to choose the right one for you.