Do you know your way around the lanes?

Teens enjoying AMF party package

Let's face it, bowling is a pretty simple sport - throw your ball as hard as you can and hope it knocks over as many pins as possible!

While its simplicity makes it a perfect choice for family activities, it can be handy to know exactly what parts make up those shiny lanes at your local AMF centre.

Here's your guide to the anatomy of a bowling lane!


The bit of the lane closest to you - the one with all those handy dots showing you where to aim - is called the approach, and is the only part of the lane where you can legally stand.

Foul line

The foul line officially marks the end of the approach and the start of the lane itself.

Whether you're playing for fun or in a bowling league, make sure you don't cross this line. Not only will you lose all the points for your throw, you'll likely end up on your backside thanks to all the oil!


That glossy stretch of conditioned wood separating you from the pins is - unsurprisingly - called the lane, and is usually 60 feet in length.

Although it varies from centre to centre, lanes are meticulously oiled in set patterns to reduce friction and make it easier to 'hook' balls.

The first few feet of the lane are also made of harder wood than the rest to protect them from the hard impact of the balls hitting the surface.


No one needs describing what gutters, also called channels, are. Many will agree that they hold some kind of magnetic force that always pulls your ball towards them!

Pin deck

The pin deck is the farthest part of the lane where the pins stand.

This section is around three feet in length and is also made of stronger wood to reduce the impact of the balls and pins crashing around.

Now you know exactly how a bowling lane is made up, why not test out the ones at your local AMF alley?