Why Do Bowling Alleys Not Have Windows?

why do bowling alleys not have windows

Take a trip to any bowling alley and you will notice that none of them have windows. Bowling alleys do not have windows because they are made to eliminate distractions. Windows let in sunlight and sound which can distract players while they are trying to bowl.

Bowling is a sport that relies on heavy concentration. Bowlers tend to train themselves to avoid distractions but even the most well-trained minds are prone to distraction sometimes. Because of this, bowling alleys are designed to minimize the number of windows in their layout. That way, you are not tempted to look outside.

Most bowling alleys have no windows whatsoever! Maintaining a dark, confined space helps bowlers focus on their game and limits visual confusion. Instead of focusing on weather or the time of day, players can focus on their game. Bowling alleys may also include special lighting that would otherwise be impossible to see with sunlight coming inside.

How Windows Can Negatively Affect a Bowling Alley

Windows let in sunlight which can cause visual confusion for bowlers as they play. In other words, sunlight causes bowlers to lose focus.

To fix this problem, bowling alleys need to minimize the amount of natural lighting. To do this, they must create windowless environments.

In their pre-construction guide, Fusion Bowling outlines proper design tactics which show numerous tactics for limiting visual confusion like creating enclosed spaces around bowling lanes and most commonly, avoiding windows altogether.

Even in their food and games areas (which most bowling alleys also have), you will probably notice a lack of windows. If they are present, they are most likely separated from the bowling lanes or tinted to prevent glare.

Maintaining a steady appearance assures that bowlers can focus on their game rather than what is happening outside the bowling alley.

One of the most obvious reasons why windows would not be present in bowling alleys is the most obvious one: bowling ball plus window equals big problem. There is no stopping a bowling ball once it gets going and with a window present, it can only lead to sure disaster.

Not only is it expensive to replace windows (and you will probably be doing so frequently) but it is also dangerous to the bowlers. Your entire alley would need to be shut down as shards of glass are cleaned from your floor.

Windows in a Bowling Alley Can Cause Inconsistent Lighting

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Have you ever stepped back into the light after a day in the bowling alley and felt sort of dazed? Maybe you had the impression that it was dark outside even though it was only twelve in the afternoon? That is probably because the bowling alley did a successful job at maintaining consistent lighting.

Just like movies, bowling alleys create their own environment. These controlled environments help you bowl without distractions like the changing weather or the moving sun. 

A key factor of maintaining consistent lighting is eliminating sunlight. I am sure you can think back to a time when the sun was shining right in your eyes and how much of a pain that was. Now, imagine that as you are trying to bowl!

It is not only a distraction but also a danger to yourself and the people around you. By not having windows, bowling alleys are eliminating the possibility of sunlight coming into their alleys.

Bowling alleys also avoid exposing changing weather by not including windows. Weather can be a major impact on lighting consistency because it changes quickly. Take, for instance, the changing coverage on a cloudy day. While one bowler may have success during their turn, another may be thrown off by a sudden flash of sunlight.

This is why maintaining a windowless facility is so important. That way, no bowler has the upper hand, the game is free of distractions, and everything is fair.

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Bowling Alleys Use Special Lighting

Most modern, Western bowling alleys tend to have unique lighting features which require complete darkness.   These vary from neon lighting on their lanes to mid-game laser shows. Mental Floss mentions even the oldest, most famous bowling alleys have midnight laser shows all of which would be ruined by the presence of sunlight.

Thick Walls Without Windows Helps Limit Sound Distractions

Bowling alleys tend to be thick concrete structures also equipped with sound-proof reinforcement to eliminate any excess noise from the outside. Since windows are thin, sound can easily pass through them.

That means all the sounds of your environment will easily pass through. To avoid these distractions, bowling alleys limit the number of windows they put in their buildings so you can have a quiet, contained experience.

A Windowless Structure Allows Bowlers to Focus and Concentrate Better

Bowlers need great amounts of concentration as they approach the foul line and not just because they are trying to score big. With technology today, you may not be keeping score yourself, but you are required to think two steps ahead as you calculate the number of pins you need to beat your opponent (especially if you are behind).

So, little things like sunlight or weather conditions can easily throw you off your game. One minute you’re scoring strikes and the next you’re getting gutter balls! That is why it is so important for bowling alleys to create stable light conditions.

Final Thoughts

Bowling alleys avoid placing windows in their facilities, so bowlers do not get distracted. Bowling requires a great amount of focus and even the smallest distraction can cost a player their game. Windows are thin and sound can easily transmit through their glass panes.

Even with extensive soundproofing, noise can still pass through and interrupt your game. That is a leading reason that bowling alleys opt for solid walls instead of thin glass. That and glass can be broken very easily.

A properly designed bowling alley will not have any windows. Even in food and gaming areas, these alleys will limit the number of windows they include so they do not allow visual or audio distractions to sneak inside their facility. If they do have windows, these windows will be separate from the lanes so bowlers cannot become distracted by what is outside.

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