Calculate Bowling Handicap

Learning to calculate bowling handicaps can be helpful for anyone interested in joining a bowling league. Often, bowlers in a league have varying levels of proficiency in the game. A bowling handicap is a point value, determined based on the skill of each individual player, which is then added to their score to help level the playing field. Leagues calculate bowling handicaps for each player at the beginning of the season, usually based on the average score of a series of three bowling games. While the numbers and percentages may vary depending on the bowling league, the method used is the same.

  1. Teams bowl a series of three regular games.
  2. Each player's average score for the series is determined by adding their three game scores together, then dividing the total by three.
  3. Calculate bowling handicaps for each player by subtracting their three game average from a league determined maximum average score of 200 points.
  4. The result of step three is the player's season handicap.


Some leagues use a maximum score of 210 or 220 for determining handicaps.

The handicap may be determined using less than the full amount of the difference between the player's average and the maximum average score. For example, it may be decided to use 80% of the difference to calculate bowling handicaps. In this case, if the player's average is 150, the handicap would be determined by subtracting 150 from 200, then multiplying the result by 80% (50 x .8). The resulting number would be the player's bowling handicap.

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