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Why Fowling Will Be Your New Favorite Sport

Posted on Monday, February 09 2015 in Sports

Fowling RaySchmidt

What began by accident at a tailgate in 2001 has recently become a favorite pastime around these parts. We’re talking about the sport of fowling (pronounced FOH-ling). It combines elements of football, bowling and horseshoes — and no, you don’t have to be an athlete to play.

Fowling is devised of a simple set of rules: Ten bowling pins are arranged in the traditional bowling triangle on raised wooden platforms, also called lanes. Fowlers take turns throwing a football from their board to their opposition’s board. Whoever knocks down all of their opponents’ pins first wins the game. Easy, right?

Fowling2 RaySchmidt
  Hamtramck's Fowling Warehouse

The game can also be won by getting a “bonk.” That’s when you’re on your first throw and if all pins are standing, you knock the center pin completely off the board without knocking any others down. At Fowling Warehouse in Hamtramck, those who achieve this magical feat get to “honk their bonk” (i.e., sound a Great Lakes freighter horn) to celebrate their accomplishment.

Ferndale resident Chris Hutt — considered to be fowling’s founding father — owns the warehouse, which originally opened in 2010 on Detroit’s east side. Last year, the business relocated to the more-expansive 34,000-square-foot space that has 20 lanes, big-screen TVs and a small stage for bands. There’s also a full bar, but no food service. You can, however, bring in your own grub or have something delivered. (I’d highly recommend giving Amicci’s a call if you’re in the mood for pizza.)

The Deets

Ages 18 and under can fowl Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. with parental supervision, while those ages 18 to 20 can fowl seven days a week from open to 9 p.m. After 9 p.m., it’s age 21 and up only.

Open fowling runs $10 per person and works much like a pool hall: You or you and a partner jump on an available lane. Winners stay on the board; losers find another lane to play.

Lane reservations are accepted for groups of up to 10 people at $120 per lane for two hours. To book, call 313-264-1288 after 5 p.m.


Have you given fowling a try?


By: Lori Bremerkamp

Photo Credit: Ray Schmidt