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What Is A Hambone In Bowling?

What Is A Hambone In Bowling? - Bowlingview

Bowling is a sport that combines strategy, skill, and a dash of luck. Amid the echoes of rolling balls and crashing pins, one term stands out from the rest – “Hambone”. A term coined in a PBA broadcast, a Hambone is an accomplishment reserved for the skilled and the consistent, where a bowler scores four strikes in a row.

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of the Hambone, exploring its history, significance, and the legends of bowling who’ve achieved this notable feat.

Understanding Bowling Terms

Before diving into the specifics of a “Hambone”, it’s important to familiarize ourselves with common bowling terminology. Here are a few key terms:

  1. Strike: This is when all ten pins are knocked down with the first ball rolled in a frame.
  2. Spare: This term is used when all ten pins are knocked down within a single frame, but it takes both rolls to do so.
  3. Frame: In bowling, a game consists of ten frames. In each frame, the bowler has two chances to knock down all the pins.
  4. Open Frame: An open frame refers to a frame in which the bowler does not make either a strike or a spare.
  5. Turkey: In bowling language, three consecutive strikes are known as a “Turkey”.
  6. Split: This is a situation where the bowler has left two or more pins standing, but there is a gap between them.

Understanding these terms will make it easier to grasp the concept of a “Hambone” in bowling.

What is a Hambone in Bowling?

In the world of bowling, a “Hambone” refers to four consecutive strikes. The term, while not officially recognized by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), has gained popularity due to its use during televised bowling events. Scoring a Hambone is a significant achievement as it requires consistency and precision in each delivery.

The term “Hambone” has an interesting history. It was popularized by Rob Stone, the broadcaster for ESPN’s bowling telecasts, who began using it during the 2005-2006 Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) season. Stone wanted a unique term to describe four consecutive strikes, similar to how three successive strikes are called a “Turkey.”

Drawing from a theatrical background where a “hambone” was a term for an overacting performer, Stone felt the exuberance of the term was an excellent fit for the excitement generated by the rare occurrence of four strikes in a row.

How to Score a Hambone

In the realm of bowling, achieving a Hambone, or securing four consecutive strikes, stands as a testament to a player’s skill, precision, and understanding of the game.

This feat is no easy task; it demands a perfect blend of technique, consistency, and comprehension of the bowling lane’s subtle nuances.

In the following section, we will delve into the intricacies that surround scoring a Hambone and provide valuable insights to elevate your bowling prowess.

Step-by-step process of scoring a Hambone in bowling.

Scoring a “Hambone” in bowling, which entails making four strikes in a row, is a test of skill, consistency, and precision. The first step is to find the right ball that fits comfortably in your hand and suits your bowling style.

Next, identify your target on the lane; many bowlers aim for the arrows or the pins directly. Ensure a stable stance, focusing on balance and positioning. As you approach for the throw, aim to hit the “pocket,” the area between the 1 and 3 pins for right-handed bowlers, or the 1 and 2 pins for left-handed bowlers. Consistent delivery is key.

Repeat the same motion with precision for the next three throws, maintaining your speed and direction. Mastering this process requires practice, as the challenge is not just to strike, but to do so consecutively four times.

Tips and tricks to improve chances of getting a Hambone.

Improving your chances of scoring a “Hambone”, or four consecutive strikes in bowling, necessitates a steadfast commitment to perfecting your technique and understanding the sport’s intricacies. Start by ensuring your grip and stance are correct.

Hold the ball with your fingers, not your palm, to control the roll better. Position yourself in a way that aligns your bowling shoulder with your target. Secondly, develop a consistent and repeatable approach and swing. Consistency is key to hitting the pocket successfully every time.

Additionally, understand the oil pattern on the lane, as it can significantly impact the ball’s trajectory. Try to practice on different patterns to become versatile.

Lastly, focus on your mental game. Patience and persistence are crucial, as striking four times in a row is a feat that often comes with time and practice.

The Significance of a Hambone

The significance of a Hambone in bowling cannot be overstated. Scoring a Hambone, which refers to four consecutive strikes, is a testament to a player’s skill, consistency, and precision. Achieving this feat is no easy task.

It requires a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics, the ability to adapt to different lane conditions, and the mental toughness to deliver under pressure.

When a player scores a Hambone, it not only provides a significant boost to the total score but also serves as an indicator of the player’s technical prowess and ability to perform consistently. Therefore, scoring a Hambone is considered a major achievement in the sport of bowling.

Famous Hambone Instances in Bowling History

In the history of competitive bowling, there have been a few remarkable instances where a Hambone was scored. One such moment belongs to bowling legend Pete Weber, who scored a Hambone during the 1991 Fair Lanes Open, eventually winning the tournament.

The feat was also achieved by professional bowler Earl Anthony, known as the “Duke of the Lanes”. He scored a Hambone during the 1983 PBA National Championship, further solidifying his place in bowling history.

More recently, in the 2010 PBA World Series of Bowling, Tom Daugherty scored a Hambone, a significant milestone in his career. These instances underscore the extraordinary skill and precision required to score a Hambone, marking a high point in any bowler’s career.


In conclusion, the Hambone holds a prominent place in the realm of bowling. It is a testament to a bowler’s skill, precision, and consistency. Scoring a Hambone is a significant milestone, offering a substantial boost to the total score and indicating a player’s technical proficiency.

The instances where bowling legends like Pete Weber and Earl Anthony, among others, achieved this feat underscore its prestige. Therefore, the Hambone remains an enduring symbol of achievement in this competitive sport.


Sources for further reading and learning.

  • Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame. (2022). “Bowling Achievements: The Prestigious Hambone”.
  • Stone, R. (2018). “The Hambone: A Bowling Legacy”.
  • Professional Bowlers Association. (2023). “Understanding Bowling Scores: The Impact of a Hambone”.

These resources provide excellent in-depth information on the significance of the Hambone in the realm of bowling, the technique required to achieve it, and its impact on a bowler’s overall score. They also offer historical insights into the instances where bowling legends achieved this impressive feat.


The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section is designed to elucidate the intricacies of bowling scorekeeping, particularly focusing on the impact of multiple strikes or ‘Hambones’.

This section aims to provide clarity on common queries, bolstering understanding for both novice and seasoned players alike.

In bowling lingo, when a player throws three strikes in a row, it’s traditionally referred to as a ‘turkey’. This is a significant achievement as it requires knocking all 10 pins in three consecutive turns.

‘Bagger’ is a term used in bowling to denote a string of strikes. For instance, if you got four strikes in a row, it would be called a ‘four-bagger’.

This term is popular in bowling alleys and is used to describe remarkable performances.

Yes, when a player bowls 4 strikes in a row, it is often called a “hambone”.

This term is part of the unique bowling lingo and signifies a remarkable accomplishment that can significantly elevate the score sheet.

A perfect game in bowling refers to scoring 12 strikes in a row in a single game.

This means knocking down all 10 pins with the first roll in each of the ten frames, and then two additional strikes in the 10th frame.

Of course! In bowling lingo, six consecutive strikes are referred to as a “wild turkey”, while a “golden turkey” signifies nine consecutive strikes.

Achieving such strings of strikes demonstrates a high level of skill and accuracy.

The term “brat” isn’t so familiar to many, but in specific bowling contexts, it’s used to denote 4 strikes in a row, similar to a “hambone”.

Conversely, a “six-pack” refers to six strikes in a row, akin to a “wild turkey”. Both terms are part of the specialized lingo you can encounter in a bowling alley.

The term “ham-turkey dinner” is a playful part of the bowling lingo, used to describe five strikes in a row.

It’s essentially a combination of a ‘hambone’ (four strikes in a row) and a ‘turkey’ (three strikes in a row).

When a bowler gets two strikes in a row, it’s commonly known as a ‘double’ in the bowling lingo.

Though it might not sound as exciting as a ‘turkey’ or a ‘hambone’, it’s still a scoring boost and a noteworthy achievement on the bowling score sheet.

Achieving several strikes in the first six frames can lead to a high-scoring game. In bowling, if a player throws strikes in the first six frames, they would be on track for a ‘six pack’ or even a ‘golden turkey’, assuming they maintain the streak of strikes.

You usually mark a strike on a bowling score sheet with an ‘X’. If you get a string of strikes, you record each one with an ‘X’ in subsequent frames.

When counting the score, a strike counts as 10 points plus the scores of your next two rolls in the following frame.