The 7-10 split is widely considered the hardest shot in bowling, but guess what: Statistically, it’s not! According to a fascinating statistical analysis of professional bowlers’ scores since 2003, the hardest shot in bowling is actually the 4-6-7-9-10 split, also known in bowling lingo as a “Greek Church”.
Whether you compete in one of our bowling leagues or just compete against yourself, check out these tips to learn how to pick up a spare on the three hardest shots in bowling.
How to Land the Hardest Bowling Shots
7-10 Split aka “Bedposts”
The 7-10 split is challenging, but not impossible. With two pins left standing, one on either side of the deck, it takes skillful calculation, impressive technique, and maybe a little luck to pull this one off. Here’s how to pick up a 7-10 split:
- Start with a lighter weight ball.
- Begin on the side of the lane opposite your dominant hand.
- Aim for the inside edge of the pin in front of you. If you’re right handed, this should be the 7; if left handed, the 10.
- Aim for accuracy and speed with your throw.
If you’re on your game and luck is on your side, the bowling ball will strike the inside of the pin, knocking it into the wall with enough force that it will bounce across the deck and take out the other pin. It’s a tough move, but if you can pull it off, you’ll have beaten the odds and given yourself something to brag about to your bowling buddies!
4-6-7-10 aka “The Big 4”
Bowlers are a colorful bunch, so you may have also heard this split called “Big Ears,” “Grandma’s Teeth,” or “The Golden Gate Split.” Much like a 7-10, your best bet with this is to get enough power on the throw that the pins on one side will fly into the pins on the other side of the deck, or bounce out of the pit and hit them. Your ball will need to hit the pocket just right to give you any chance of this happening. And remember, you need to throw the ball as fast as you can to provide enough energy to get all four pins.
4-6-7-9-10 split aka “Greek Church”
If you’re left with this split—2 pins on one side of the deck, 3 on the other—you might think it will be easier because you have more pins to work with. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. This is another super rare spare to pick up. If you’re feeling lucky, aim to hit the 6 pin, which will hopefully bounce off the 9, which then strikes the 10 before crossing the deck to take out the 7 and 4.
All of these shots have a very low probability of working, but hey—that’s what makes it even more thrilling when you do pull one of them off!
Good luck, bowlers. We hope to see you at Rab’s soon, home of the best bowling on Staten Island.
Tim Kane says
I’ve picked up the Greek Church twice. Both times I went for the side with two pins.
Consider the 4-6-7-9-10. If you simply slide the 4-pin into the 9-pin (a relatively easy split), the 9-pin can fall back-right to take out the 6-10.
It takes some luck, but much easier than going for the three pins.
Carol Blair says
What is the success rate for picking off the
3 6 10 7 8 pins
Rab's Country Lanes says
The most avid bowler will have a success rate of up to 96% when picking off single pin spares.
Just picked the greek church by aiming at the 10 pin, deflated the 6 off the 9 and into the 7 and 4. I would think the hardest split is the 2 8 10 for a righty and a 3 7 9 for a lefty
Carter H. says
The only reason that the greek church has a lower conversion rate is because it is not worth going for the sparr in the eyes of most, as if you miss the spare you only gain 2 pins instead of going for score and picking the three.
I would still say that the 7-10 split is probably the hardest still as it depends almost entirely on luck, and whether the flap in the back of the lanes is solidly put on, or freely hanging.
DF Tampa says
The 5-7-10 is the most difficult spare to pick up.
You don’t see it left very often.
Made all of the previous splits but not 5 7 10. It is very difficult to leave
Frank F. says
Great hints! Please send to my E-mail
Scott hartzell says
I made the 7-8-6-10 split tonight. What is that split know as?