What Is Scratch Bowling? How Does It Differ from Handicap Bowling?

If you love bowling and want to participate in league play at a bowling center in Hampton, VA, you might discover that some bowling lingo is a bit confusing for people new to the game. Some of your confusion might relate to how bowling is scored. Though it could seem simple, there are actually two different formats for leagues: scratch leagues and handicap leagues. What is the difference? Read on to find out!

Scratch bowling

In scratch bowling leagues, the team’s pin count is the actual score that team earns. This is the most straightforward way to score and involves no calculations beyond adding up pin counts.

Handicap bowling

In handicap bowling leagues, on the other hand, the team’s score is made up of their pin count and a predetermined handicap value. Though there are several ways to determine a handicap, most rely on looking at the difference between team pin count averages and finding a percentage to multiply the pin count by during league play.

You might wonder why handicap bowling exists when scratch bowling is so clear and easy. The reason handicap bowling developed, however, is to give teams with lower-averaging bowlers a chance to compete in a bowling league. If you imagine a league with one team in which bowlers normally average scores of 290 and one team in which bowlers normally average 160, you could understand how that second team would never stand a chance in league competition. Bringing in a handicap allows that second team to become more competitive, which is likely to make it more exciting and worthwhile for participants.

Which is better, scratch or handicap?

The advantage of handicap bowling is that it helps to even the playing field between teams, and thus gives lower-averaging teams a reason to invest in the competition.

On the other hand, some have argued that scratch bowling leagues and tournaments encourage better bowling and more natural competition because lower-scoring teams need to push themselves to really compete. Scratch scoring is also easier to compute, meaning you can focus more on the fun and less on the math.

Whichever type of bowling league you prefer, you’ll need a great bowling center in Hampton, VA to host your bowling fun. Look no further than Sparetimes, a full-service bowling center that’s brought people together around bowling since 1960. We offer nearly 60 years of top-notch customer service and bowling expertise within a beautiful, modern space. We also have a full-service snack bar and bar/lounge area to keep you full while you play.

You can do so much more than play a drop-in game at Sparetimes! We offer many bowling leagues throughout the year that will stretch your skills and let you socialize on a regular basis. We also have excellent and affordable party packages. Finally, our pro shop is staffed with bowling experts who will help you get all the accessories you need to become a serious bowler. Stop by our bowling center or call today to find out more about our competitive pricing and offerings!

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