What is a split in bowling?

If you are a bowling enthusiast, it is necessary to increase your knowledge and learning more about the art of bowling. Well, an incredibly critical bowling situation you should know about is a split.

You might be wondering, what exactly is a split in bowling? Well, that is exactly what I am here to tell you.

In this article, I will tell you what a split is, what the different types of splits are and how you can score a spare while facing a split. So, if you want to become a pro at bowling, sit back, relax, and read this article until the end.

What is a split in bowling?

Split in Bowling

A split is a situation in a particular frame of a ten-pin bowling game where the player throws the ball and knocks the headpin and other pins, but there are two non-adjacent groups of one or more pins still standing. This means that the player would have to knock down non-adjacent groups of pins to get a spare in the next turn.

Types of Split

Many different types of splits can occur in the regular equilateral triangle bowling pin arrangement. Let us take look at the most common and popular splits.

Goalpost 7-10 Split

The most popular and widely known type of split is the 7-10 split, also known as the bedpost or goalpost split. In this split, the leftmost and rightmost pins, which are the 7 and 10, are still standing and need to be knocked down to achieve a spare. This is the most difficult kind of split to score because the accurate angle, pace, and deflection are required to achieve the perfect shot.

Cincinnati 7-9 Split

The 7-9 or 8-10 split is similar to the 7-10 as it also deals with pins at the last row in the ten-pin arrangement. It is also known as the Cincinnati split. In terms of difficulty of scoring, it is slightly easier to score than the 7-10 split, but the margin of error is minuscule.

Woolworth 5-7 Split

The 5-7 split is one of the most practically unlikely but still very commonly occurring. It is also known as the Woolworth split. In a typical arrangement, the fifth pin from the third row and the seventh pin from the last row has to be knocked down to achieve a spare in the frame. However, it is tough to score, as are most of the common splits you might encounter. They all require great precision and incredible skill.

Murphy 3-10 Split

The 2-7 or 3-10 split (Baby Split) is also standard, and you might encounter it quite often during a ten-pin game. It is also known as the Baby Split or Murphy Split. The 2nd pin from the second row and the 7th pin from the last row or the 3rd pin from the second row, and the 10th pin from the last row are involved in this split.

These are some of the most commonly occurring splits. However, the 3-7, cocked hat, three wise men, big four, big five, Greek Church, and many other splits are also possible and occur in a ten-pin bowling game. All you need to know is how to score a spare in a split situation like a pro.

How to Get a Killer Shot?

If you are able to score a spare in a split, it is known as a “killer shot”. Achieving a spare in a split can be pretty difficult, but you can become professional enough to get it with practice. Let us look at how you can get a killer shot if you face a split.

  • Align yourself just according to your normal stance in front of a ten-pin arrangement.
  • Depending upon the type of split, make sure you angle the bowling ball outward.
  • Put force behind the throw so the ball hits the pin hard and causes a deflection.
  • The deflection will hit the other pin, and the killer shot will be scored.


Splits are very common, and they almost seem impossible to score for beginners. Nevertheless, with proper training, you can learn to score a split effectively. I hope you learned a lot from this article and you are going to have a lot of fun bowling with friends next time.

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