The game of bowling dates potentially as far back as 3200 B.C., but in more recent history, has been filled with some major moments. Like any other sport or iconic past time, bowling has had some watersheds in recent history that serve as bookmarks for anyone who plays the game today.
Timeline of Major Events in Bowling History
- 1939 marked a watershed year for the game with the founding of the National Negro Bowling Association.
- 1941, the ABC Hall of Fame was instituted just two years after the founding of the National Negro Bowling Association, but it was not until 1950 that the terms “white only” was removed from its constitution.
- 1958 marks the founding of the Professional Bowlers Association or PBA. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the PBA is the sanctioning body for the sport of ten-pin bowling. The PBA is also a treasure trove of information about the facts and history of bowling.
- In 1975, the PBA established the PBA Hall of Fame. (See the full list of PBA Hall of Fame inductees._
- In 1981, the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour was formed, but it wasn’t until 1993 that phrase “male only” was removed from the ABC constitution.
In the late 1980s bowling made its way to ESPN broadcasting which solidified an already enthusiastic fan base and made the sport more accessible to wider audience.
A lot has happened in recent memory for this storied game. In the past century alone, bowling has evolved with regard to skill, accessibility, and participation against the context of history, and today continues to grow ever more popular.