Bowling Bumpers – Full Guide On All You Need To Know

What Is Bowling?

Bowling is an exciting game that has stood the test of time and continues to entertain folks both old and young. Meanwhile, Bumper bowling can be described as a form of traditional bowling that has been changed a little for specific purposes. 

In this article, we will be throwing more light on Bumper bowling, its origins, and what the game entails. Do well to read on. Bowling is a that involves the use of a heavy ball that is rolled down a lane that is usually long and narrow. 


The ball is targeted toward a group of objects that look like bottles and are known as pins. The objective of the bowler is to knock down as many pins and more pins than an opponent to come out tops.

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What Is Bumper Bowling?

Bumper bowling is a form of bowling where the gutters of the bowling lane are not exposed but are covered to ensure that the bowling ball is always on the lane at all times. This enhances the chances of the ball hitting the pins and not deviating from the designated path. 


It is a no-brainer that players get disappointed when they fail to hit the pins as they would like, and the frustration increases when the ball falls into the gutter instead of staying on the designated path. 

This occurrence is usually the case with players that are new to the sport and are not very skilled in handling and throwing the ball in a way that will make it stay on track and hit as many pins as possible.

Therefore, employing the use of bumpers to cover the gutters and keep the ball on the designated path at all times is the ideal solution. Meanwhile, advancement in technology has made it possible for some bowling alleys to turn bumpers on or off. 


Therefore, players can request that the bumpers on their playing lane be turned on, or for a specific person to ensure that any ball movement-related hassles during play are eliminated.

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Who Invented Bumper Bowling?

Philip Kinzer has been credited with the invention of bumper bowling in 1982 in his bowling center in Dallas. He was intent on ensuring that bowling was fun for everyone regardless of their abilities. 


According to him, the concept of bumper bowling could be likened to playing baseball without being afraid of striking out. It can be recalled that the game officially started at Jupiter Lanes Bowling Center in Dallas before it became popular and was embraced in many parts of the United States.

What Is Bumper Bowling Used For?

It appears that Bumper bowling was designed with kids and the disabled in major consideration. This ensures that they have an enjoyable and less hectic experience when playing the game as the ball won’t fall into the gutter when bumpers are available.

Also, in bumper bowling, the balls used, weigh less and could be around 6 pounds. Seeing that the game was designed for kids, the balls have to be designed in a way that would be comfortable for kids and the disabled to handle and carry.


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Bumper Bowling vs Traditional Bowling: Differences

There are just 3 major differences between the two and will be pointing them out here.

In bumper bowling, the gutters are covered to enhance the player’s chances of hitting the pins and also to prevent the ball from falling into the gutter. 


This is not the case with traditional bowling where the bowling lane has gutters on each side, therefore increasing the chances of the ball falling into the gutter if not thrown properly or skillfully as the gutters are not covered.

In bumper bowling, the ball is light and less skill, accuracy, and proper handling of the ball may not be key in hitting the pins as the ball’s movement cannot be restricted. 

However, in traditional bowling, skill, proper grip, and handling of the ball are required because if it is not done right, the ball will end up in the gutter most of the time.


Bumper bowling is specifically designed to suit kids and the disabled to ensure that have fun when in action. 

Traditional bowling, on the other hand, can be played by anyone although it is mostly played by adults and teenagers who have the power and skill to throw the ball in a way that it hits the pins instead of falling into the gutter.

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How To Play Bumper Bowling

The game uses the concept of bowling. The ball has to be thrown in a way that it hits all the 10 pins simultaneously although bumper bowling has gutters that are covered or no gutters to enhance the player’s chances of hitting the pins. 

It can be said that this type of bowling is easier compared to traditional bowling where the grip, handling, and accuracy of a throw are important.

Is There An Age Limit For Bumper Bowling?

We’ve mentioned earlier that bumper bowling is meant for kids and the disabled. However, there is no age limit for playing bumper bowling as it can also be played by teenagers and adults who find it interesting. 


Some folks even advise that newbies should start with bumper bowling before venturing into the more professional-looking traditional bowling.

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What Are The Bumpers In Bowling?

I’m guessing that you know this by now. Well, bumpers in bowling refer to the barriers that are used to close the gutters close to a bowling lane to ensure that the ball does not fall into the gutters.


When Should Bumpers Be Used In Bowling?

Bumpers can be used by anyone as there are no exceptions to the use of bumpers for leisure bowling. Bowling centers can make bumpers available to players based on request irrespective of who they are.

Bumpers can help newbies as a guide in using a ball. However, not everyone embraces the concept of bumpers in bowling. For newbies, it can be a great tool that will enhance their throwing skills and accuracy as there is no chance of the ball falling into the gutter.

However, bumpers are not allowed at the professional level and in bowling tournaments. This is because, at this level, the balls are rolled at speeds that could damage the bumpers. This is not the same with kids who have softer rolls that pose no threat to the bumpers in place.


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It could be said that bumpers should be in place when novice bowlers are in action. However, the pros won’t need such a guide as they have mastered the skill of throwing the ball to hit all available pins without any chance of falling into the gutter that surrounds the bowling lane.

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