The Scratch Bowler Explained

What is a scratch bowler? The usual terminology is used in league play. Some of the terms can be hard to understand for newcomers to bowling. It’s possible that the scoring system is partly to blame for this issue. Despite appearances, there are two kinds of leagues: handicap and scratch.

A scratch bowler is a game that can be played as a team, individually, or in double. The actual bowling scores in this game decide the outcome, which differs from a regular game. This type of game is more exciting because it has fewer moving parts. 

The team’s pin count is the official score of a scratch league. This scoring method is straightforward, as all you have to do is total the pins. In this article, the term “scratch bowler” will be clearly explained for your guide. 

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What Is A Scratch Bowler?

In scratch bowling, the team or bowler with the most pins after the event determines the winner. It is because, at the end of the match, the group or individual with the most pins will be declared the winner.

A simple scoring system can help teams and individuals determine their total points. It eliminates the need for any kind of handicap or advantage and allows them to easily assess their total pins.

Scratch bowling is popular because the scoring system is easy to understand, and the game is played fairly. This type of bowling is very competitive, requiring a high level of professionalism and the ability to perform at a high level. 

Most major leagues also use scratch bowling as the scoring method for teams and individual players. For aspiring professional players planning on making a living from scratch bowling, it is important that they first learn how to use the scoring system. Doing so will allow them to keep up with the demands of their profession and improve their skills.

What Is The Difference between Scratch Bowler and Handicap Bowler?

  • Scoring
  • Participation


The rules and scoring of bowling are seldom changed. The main difference between the two sports is using a handicap in scoring. It is the only difference between the “handicap” and “scratch” events.

In a handicap bowling league, the score is made by adding the average number of pins each team knocks down to a certain number. Various methods are used to calculate handicaps, and the most common is to use a percentage based on the difference between the average team pin count and the average pinfall of the other teams.


Even though scratch bowling is straightforward, many people might not see why handicap bowling is essential. It was created to allow teams with below-average individuals to participate in league play. 

For instance, in a league, a team with members who consistently shoot at least 250 would be considered the favorite, while a team with members who shoot 160 would be regarded as the underdog. Having the second team compete with the first would give the participants more excitement and value.

What Is A Scratch Series In Bowling?

The total scratch series is computed by considering all the games you have played. Most leagues will have three-game series. It is a common measure of success.

  • 900 series
  • 800 series

900 Series

A bowler gets a 900 series when they roll three 300 games in a row. If a bowler were to roll three consecutive 300-series games, their total score would be 900. A bowler would have to throw 36 straight strikes to accomplish this. 

In the US, 39 individuals have already achieved the 900 series certification by the USBC, the governing body for bowling.

800 Series

Getting an 800 series in a tournament or league is nearly impossible. In most cases, achieving this type of record is much harder when you bowl on multiple lanes. It is the case in tournament bowling, where players alternate lanes after every game. 

League play, on the other hand, involves players bowling on the same two lanes throughout a series. To get an 800 series, you need to average at least 268. The effort to bowl a series of 800 is three times greater than a 300-game. You should aim for every frame in all three games to reach your goal.

For optimal success, aim to make every frame of every game. It will give you a reasonable chance of striking out. It’s also not enough to hit the target to achieve an 800 series. To achieve this type of record, you must maintain a steady hold on the corners of your frames.

How To Score Better In Scratch Bowling

You’ve decided that you want to become a true scratch bowler, and to do so, you’ll need to improve your skills in various ways. Here are some drills you can take to raise your average.

  • Positive outlook
  • Time and effort
  • Self-control
  • Participation

Positive Outlook

As a beginner, you must maintain a positive outlook and keep working hard to improve. Although you may face more experienced players, it does not mean you should abandon the sport. Instead, you should always remain positive and do everything you can to improve.

Time and Effort

Another essential factor you’ll need to consider when it comes to improving your skills is putting in the time and effort to improve. Doing so will make you among the best in the league and tournaments.


Self-control is one of the most critical factors you’ll need to consider when it comes to improving your skills. If you’re playing in a tournament where almost everyone has a higher average, you’ll need to have a strong will and take a deep breath before executing a kill.


Participating in a tournament or league allows you to learn from the best. Instead of seeing your opponents as people who are worse than you, you should see them as a chance to get better.


If you’re looking to join a league for scratch bowling, you can ask the staff members at your local bowling alley. They can tell you about the various kinds of tournaments that are available to join. 

But when it’s all said and done, nothing beats a good old-fashioned scratch bowling event. Not only will you improve your skills, but you’ll also be able to reveal your true competitive nature.

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