String Pinsetter Research

The USBC Equipment Specifications team is seeking volunteers to participate in string pinsetter scoring research. Bowlers averaging 150 and above are invited to bowl two free sessions (four games each session) at the International Training and Research Center.

Each session will consist of two games on a pair with traditional free-fall pinsetters and two games on a pair with string pinsetters. Availability is limited. Sign up today HERE.

USBC has published a new study and will certify string pinsetters and string pin bowling as an independent category of equipment and competition, separate from free-fall machines effective August 1, 2023, for the 2023/2024 season.

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.

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.

USBC will conduct additional bowler tests in 2023 with the objective of determining whether string averages can be used the same as free fall or whether a conversion can be created. As with all of our research, USBC intends to publish the data and share the analysis for the benefit of bowling. Ongoing research will continue in this area, along with key industry stakeholder communication. 


Click HERE to read USBC’s most recent research report on string pinsetters released at the USBC Annual Convention, April 2023.

Click HERE to read USBC’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding string pinsetters.

Click HERE to download a copy of USBC’s string pinsetter update.

Click HERE to read the full story about USBC certifying string pinsetters.


Click HERE to read about USBC proposing preliminary specifications to the manufacturers of string pinsetters.

Click HERE to read about the updates from USBC on research as part of a comprehensive scoring study on string pinsetters.

Click HERE for the second research report from USBC delivered in September 2021.

Click HERE to watch the video summary of USBC's second research report on string pinsetters from September 2021.


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 delivered in January 2021.

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