Bowling VS. Golf, Which Is The Harder Sport? Hint: It’s Not What You Think…

Golf and bowling are two completely different sports that have few things in common. One could argue it’s like comparing apples to oranges; it’s tough. But not unheard of. They share a funny commonplace as a sport advertised to play for people for an advanced age as a leisure sport. 

The two sports are very demanding that require skills to play on the absolute elite level. Bowling is a sport that is measured by having the highest score by the end of the game. A golf game is won by scoring less than your opponent, a rather counterintuitive metric for a game with a score, but that’s what makes golf so challenging.

 Many Golf games are won around the -2 mark. At the same time, bowling is a game that holds the opposite distinction. It’s one of the highest-scoring sports in the world.

 It is because the object of bowling isn’t how quickly you finish your game. It’s all about how effectively you manage to roll (throw) the ball. The maximum score for a bowling professional to achieve is a perfect game. A perfect game has a score of about 300 as each set of 10 pins signify one point, but if those pins are knocked down in one attempt, the score you get is multiplied into the next frame. If you can manage to score ten strikes in a row, you could roll a 300 based on the carry-on effect. Although it’s rare to score so high, a 220 to 190 is the average score for a professional bowler. 

What’s rarer, the elusive 300 or a Hole in one?

Each game has its gold-standard achievement; for bowling, it’s a a score of 300. For a perfect golf game, it’s a hole one. 

A Hole one is when a golfer hits(Tee off) a ball straight into a hole (cup). The most common hole in one scenario on any professional pitch is on a Par 3 pitch. Par indicates how many shots a professional needs to finish the hole in. So a par 3 is a pitch that you should be able to cover in 3 shots.

 It is the least lengthy pitch, so it’s the easiest to score one on sheer size alone. A Hole one is incredibly rare for professional golfers even. The chances that a professional golfer on any given hole of a professional pitch can score a hole in one are 12,500 to 1. For an amateur, the chances are significantly lower. Truly a miracle feat if accomplished. 

As for bowling, consistency is the name of the game. Another name for a 300 score is a perfect game. A perfect game has a score of 300 as each set of 10 pins signify one point, but if those pins are knocked down in one attempt, the score you get is multiplied and carried to the next play.

 The multiplier only applies once you’ve scored a number less than ten as long as you knock down 10 in one shot, also known as a strike. If you can manage to score ten strikes in a row, you could roll a 300 based on the carry-on effect. The chances you can score a 300 in the game of bowling are 460 to 1, for professionals, and for amateurs the chances are lower, but not as much as in golf.

There are a few reasons for the stark difference in probability in both feats. A bowling alley is still a very reachable space where you need significantly less strength to score any points whatsoever. A pitch requires a much harder knock, so covering a pitch is easier than rolling onto a lane when it comes to strength.

 External factors of weather and type of pitch will affect your balls landing specifically, plus an airborne ball is at the mercy of the wind. Bowling Alleys have a standard lane that is kept level, cleaned, and allows you to roll without requiring significant strength or a change in a technique according to weather or new obstacles per pitch.

Do you need to be more physically fit for golf or bowling?

You need to be strong enough to hit a golf ball far but also skilled enough to place your shots incredibly precisely to play golf. Most professionals who play on the highest level are between 25 to 37 years of age who have practiced for decades. 

Different clubs hit different ways, so having a decent understanding of your equipment is key. What club to use and what hole to use it on is also a skill. The most common injury is the golfer’s elbow, a strain-based injury that you need rest from 1-2 weeks. The most painful but rare injury is a tear in the rotator cuff from swinging too abruptly. 

To be fit to bowl you need to be strong enough to roll a heavy ball repeatedly. You need to have decent footwork and vision to aim the ball and release on a specific area. Balance and movements are also key. Although confined to a small space, bowling carries higher injury risk with carpal tunnel, tennis and golfer elbow, and torn rotator cuffs are far more common due to the heavy jerks and impacts on joints bowling balls have on the body.

Is bowling or golf easier to understand and pick up?

Bowling equipment just requires a ball, shoes, a place to play, and some sort of hand and finger support. It is for grip and to evade injury. This can get pricey but its also very affordable as used equipment can be bought. As previously stated, bowling has more risk of injury than golf.

Equipment for golf is a tad bit more pricey. Besides the expensive assortment of clubs, you also need 18 holes to play and, more often than not, some kind of transport to get around.

As a skill, bowling seems simpler to do. A person who has never thrown a bowling ball just might get a strike, but for a newbie to get a good score in golf requires at least an understanding of clubs to make the ideal choice of club depending on the distance. 

From an understanding and scoring perspective, both games have a little bit of math involved, but we have to give this to golf in this case. Golf is a pretty straight forward way to score. If you finish the hole in the set strokes for par, you score zero; if you score less, you score minus for how quickly you finished, and if you score more than you score plus the number of strokes you finished. Bowling is a much trickier game to score with consistent multiplying metrics depending on the number of strikes and spares you have, respectively. It’s a bit of a hassle and makes things rather confusing, so most people prefer that a computer or someone else keep score. 

Playing age for both bowling and golf is relatively similar, with anyone from the age of 3+ being able to play them. The only real restriction being how able-bodied you are. Both have injuries, with golf taking the brunt of the more serious due to the high range and muscle pulling shots. While bowling leaves a more lasting impact on the arm, you throw with if you don’t take care of it. But as far as a time to get into goes, both are just about how well your body can tolerate the activity, with golf slightly edging out as the more injury-prone and highest recovery time required afterward.

What makes bowling an easier sport to get into and play consistently is its natural low price tag in comparison. Bowling at a local alley consists of fees as low as a child’s daily allowance, while country clubs that offer golf are highly expensive and difficult to work with or play in a small number of times. The large pitches require walking in heat as compared to conventional and more convenient simple alleyways in bowling. And if walking is something you want to avoid, a golf cart is something you can purchase or rent, which is also an expense. 

So in the overall comparison of these two great sports, preferences will always be a key factor in what you want to do. But as far as the comparison goes, bowling might be just a tad bit more suitable for its financial accessibility, less able body requirements, and easier injury recovery.

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