What is a spare in bowling?

If you are a beginner trying to learn the basics of bowling or being a spectator who wants to know more about the amazing game of ten-pin bowling, Spare is a term you should know about.

You might be wondering, what is a spare in bowling? Well, you have come to the right place. That is exactly what I am here to tell you.

This article will talk about one of the essential yet critical scores of a bowling game, the spare. So, if you are thinking of increasing your bowling knowledge, you should sit back, relax, and read this article till the very end.

What is a spare in bowling?

Spare in Bowling

A spare is when you knock all the ten pins within the two shots in a frame. In this instance, the structure will be scored after the player takes the following image.

A spare are much more common in ten-pin bowling than a strike or turkey, and they do not require as high skills as the other scores. But in the end, if you are thinking of playing a game as finesse-requiring as bowling, you are going to have to put in the effort to practice.

In the case of a spare, you can knock any number of pins in the first shot. Still, you will have to hit all the remaining nails in the following picture. Otherwise, it will not be a spare. It will be an open frame, and you will not get the following image to be recorded as the score of the previous frame.

In Candlepin bowling, spares are much easier to score since deadwood is not cleared in between shots. That is not the case with ten-pin bowling, which makes things more difficult in comparison.

How to score a spare

  • Take your bowling ball and throw it on the lane in your first shot to knock as many pins as possible.
  • Once you have knocked most of them and only a few are left, take your second shot and try to hit the rest.
  • If you can knock the rest, you are going to play another shot.
  • This can be another spare setup, an open frame, or a strike.
  • Whichever it is, the score of this shot will be added to 10 and recorded in the previous frame, and you have successfully scored a spare.

How much is a spare worth in bowling

The highest score you can get in a single frame with a spare is 19. This could be used as an effective technique in between games sometimes. So, how can you score a spare? Let us look at a player scoring a spare.

How Does a Spare Affect a Ten-pin Bowling Game?

How do spares affect a bowling game? This question might be echoing in your mind right now. Well, there are two different scenarios. Let us look at each of them.

Maximum Score with Spares

The maximum possible score with all spares in a ten-pin bowling game is 190. Bear in mind; it is better to avoid scoring all extras and instead try to go for strikes.

But if you are looking to tackle the weird but incredible maximum score with spares, or you are looking to master the art of bowling through practice, you can try getting this done.

To get this score, you are going to have to score 9 in the first shot of every frame so that each frame’s total score can be 19, leading to 190 in 10 total frames.

Normal Game

In the events of a game where you are playing all spares, strikes, turkeys, and open frames, if you get a spare, you are going to get the score of the next shot included into the score of the frame. This could be another spare, a strike, or a random number of pins. Aim sky-high and try to get the best possible score.


Spares are critical in a game of bowling. If you are an avid bowling enthusiast and you love to watch or play, learning about how spares work can be great for your bowling knowledge. And it will also serve to improve your game and allow you to become a pro.

I hope you learned all there was from this brief explanation of what a spare in bowling is. Have a great one when you go bowling with your friends and family next time.

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