How to Become a Professional Bowler

If you are an avid bowling fan and you spend most of your time in the bowling alley practicing your shots, then it might be a wise decision for you to take up bowling as a professional sport. The PBA is a great place for all kinds of professional bowlers and amateur learners.

You might be wondering, how can I get into the PBA and become a well-known professional bowler; Well, if that is the case, then no worries, because that is what I am here to tell you.

In this article, I will talk about the Professional Bowlers Association, whether you can join them or not, the requirements of joining PBA, average scores in the PBA, the PBA bowling league, and the professional salary bowlers tend to get. So, make sure you read this article until the end because you will need this information if you think of going pro.

How to Become a Professional Bowler

Professional Bowlers Association

The Professional Bowlers Association is the official sanctioning body for the sport of bowling around the world. All official tournaments are held according to the rules of the PBA.

The PBA is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and former Microsoft executives rescued the art of bowling from extinction after they bought it in the early 2010s. The main governing body for bowling in the 20th century in America was the ABC or American Bowling Congress.

The PBA was started as an organization to create a professional bowling division in the United States by Eddie Elias. This organization became the front-runner of the bowling industry in only a few years.

As of now, there are more than 3000 members of the Professional Bowlers Association worldwide. The art of bowling is becoming more and more popular among young children and adults alike now, which is an excellent sign for the sport and its growth, thanks to the PBA.

The PBA is also the premier governing body of the rules and regulations of ten-pin bowling in the US. This means that any divisional game to be held will follow all its rules and abide by bowling laws imposed by the organization. If you are a bowler who wants to become a professional, joining the PBA would be incredible for you.

Read more here: PBA – Professional Bowlers Association.

How to join the PBA

The question that I am most commonly asked, though, is, can I join the PBA; Well, as an amateur bowler, you can indeed qualify for joining the Professional Bowlers Association to become a member.

What perks members enjoy is that they are given special discounts in PBA tournaments, merchandise, and popularity due to the majority of PBA tournaments being televised.

If you are 17 or younger, the PBA has another division known as the PBA Jr. It is a club where younger bowlers can become members, earn perks, and get a head start at becoming professionals. So, joining PBA should be your main focus if you’re thinking of becoming a professional.

Requirements of Joining PBA

Like every professional sports organization, the PBA also has some ground rules and requirements set up that you need to stay in touch with if you want to apply for joining.

These requirements make sure that you are a good bowler and not some who has just started. So, you will need to play a lot before you can think of getting right into the PBA as a member. Let us take a look at some of the rules and requirements of joining the PBA; You need to qualify for at least one, according to the official website of the Professional Bowlers Association.

  • Excellent Average – You are qualified to apply for membership in the Professional Bowlers Association if you have scored with an average of 200 or more in your bowling career for the past 12 months in tournaments, games, and leagues. This is the essential requirement for any bowling professional taking part in PBA.
  • Decent Average in USBC Leagues – If you are a professional who has experience of playing in the United States Bowling Congress Certified Leagues, then you need to have an average of 190 or higher in the last 12 months in case you want to apply for membership.
  • Cash in PBA Tournaments – The PBA is known to organize over 180 regional tournaments, the Open PBA tour, as well as the PBA50 tour tournaments, so if cash in any of the PBA official tournaments, then you can also apply for membership in the PBA.

Average PBA Score

Most non-bowling people, when asked about what they think is the average score in the Professional Bowling Association, reply with unrealistic numbers and huge expectations saying it must be around 280-290 out of 300, the total score, but that is not how it is.

In reality, the incredibly professional bowlers of the Professional Bowlers Association average around 230-240. That is an amazing average to keep over the span of more than a year. Most of the bowlers have been playing for several years, some even decades.

The scoring process in bowling can be ruthless when it comes to longer duration and a professional average over the course of time. For a 280-290 average, you would need to strike consistently nine times and get a spare which is something professional bowlers can surely do, but not every match. Nobody is perfect.

Even the greatest bowlers of history might end up having a bad day due to the oil patterns and lane conditions. So, the 230-240 average is tough to beat professionally; that is why the PBA does not have every bowler in the world as a member.

PBA League

The Professional Bowlers Association is known for organizing many leagues and tournaments, mostly notably PBA tours, around the world, but when it comes to broadcasting and the most popular in terms of leagues, the PBA league is right there on the top.

The PBA league was first initiated in the year 2013. It was created as a ten-pin bowling league held by the PBA in honor of the great Eddie Elias. The winning award was given the name Elias Cup.

In 2013, when the league’s first edition was held, six teams with five players each were introduced. But last year, in 2020, over four new expansion franchises and two all-women teams were added to the mix, and the telecast was on FOX Sports.

The event is considered incredibly prestigious and is one that you should take part in once you establish yourself as a valued member of the Professional Bowlers Association. It will be the perfect place for you to step on the ladder to international bowling success.

Salary of Professional Bowlers

Bowling is a sport for the passionate if you are thinking of making it a paying profession. We have talked about the details of a professional bowler’s salary, so we will not go into that.

But you need to know that bowlers get paid differently depending on their sponsors, victories, endorsements, and skill level. So, let us take a look at the varying salaries of Bowlers around the world depending upon their level and percentage in the bowling industry.

  • 25th Percentile – When it comes to the lower 25th percentile of bowling professionals, the earning is not quite a lot. The annual salary can be anywhere between $25,000 to $27,000, which is not reliable.
  • Average – If we talk about the average salary of bowling professionals, it is somewhat reliable. The average yearly salary that bowlers tend to get is anywhere from $40,000 to $42,000. As a professional bowler, this can be achievable for you.
  • 75th Percentile – If we talk about the 75th percentile of bowling professionals, the salary is pretty decent. The average annual wage of bowling individuals in this category lies around $52,000 and can go higher up.
  • Top Earners – The top earners in modern-day ten-pin bowling are bowling professionals that are more popularly known. These bowling professionals can make anywhere from $75,000 to even $90,000 and more if sponsorships are involved.

Some bowlers in history have made more than $100,000 even in a year, but they were the legends of their time, known all over the world, and had tons of sponsors supporting them. You can reach that level too, but with willpower and practice only.


Professional bowling is a great career choice, especially if you love the bowling ball and the pins. However, it is not something you should go for if you are not passionate about the sport itself. The pay can be great for some, but for others, it might not be enough.

Most people who pursue bowling as a career have to look for other sources of income to make ends meet.

Becoming a professional and joining the PBA is a matter of practice, skill, and performance combined. So, work with all of these things, and you will indeed become a legend. I hope you learned a lot from this article and that you will apply all this knowledge to become a better bowler in due time. Have an excellent bowling career ahead of you!

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