String Pinsetter Research

During the summer of 2020, the United States Bowling Congress Equipment Specifications and Certifications team began a comprehensive research study on string pinsetters, specifically looking at the scoring and pinfall variables between non-approved string pinsetters and USBC-certified free-fall pinsetters.

USBC researchers have designed a series of tests to collect extensive data from various models of string pinsetters. The research project is planned to take more than a year, with the final results scheduled to be published in 2022.

All aspects of the pin area, including pinsetters, pins, pin deck and pit area, play a critical role in scoring.

In the United States, the overwhelming number of USBC-certified leagues and tournaments use average-based divisions or handicap systems. Therefore, equipment that impacts scoring variables must be standardized from center to center in order to compare certified averages for competition.

The goal of USBC’s string pinsetter research is to gather enough data about how the machines perform to determine if USBC certification is a reasonable path to consider. Additional issues to be considered could include development of equipment specifications and playing rules specifically related to string pinsetters.

As with all of our research, USBC intends to publish the data and share the analysis for the benefit of bowling. While a final report is more than a year away, USBC may share key preliminary findings, as we understand some industry stakeholders are interested in reviewing data as it becomes available.


Click HERE to read about preliminary USBC research showing string pinsetters yield a lower strike percentage and leave a higher percentage of multi-pin spare combinations, compared to traditional pinsetters.

Click HERE for the preliminary research report from USBC.

Click HERE to read about USBC affirming string pinsetters as non-approved equipment.