Tag Archives: PBA

PBA Senior Tour: Entering a Golden Age by James Goulding III

PBA Senior Tour: Entering a Golden Age

by James Goulding III

Hello once again avid Bowler-2-Bowler blog readers!  Sorry it has been a month since the last blog entry, but the hectic end to the current bowling season, as well as a multitude of good tournament bowling has left me with little time to catch up with all things bowling related here on the world-wide web.  I was strolling through the PBA headlines, and one thing caught my eye, which was the current results for the senior U.S. Open which is going on right now at the Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas, NV.  I got to thinking about the senior tour, and how it has gone from immensely popular back in the days when John Handegard, Gene Stus, and the great Earl Anthony ruled the roost, to practically non-existent a few years ago, and now it seems to be making a comeback in popularity.  Why?  Well, let me throw my .02 out on the matter, as reading through the PBA website gave me the idea for this post, and I have some opinions on the matter, so let’s get started!

First off, I think that the PBA Senior Tour is about to enter another “Golden Age” of sorts.  What I mean by this, of course, is the talent that people are going to see out on the lanes in the next few years is going to be as good as it has ever been on the PBA Senior Tour.  Viewers relate to bowlers they have seen on TV their whole lives, and now that many of the great PBA players of the past 20-30 years are getting into that 50+ age category to qualify for the senior tour, I believe the same viewers who followed those great players will continue to watch them do battle on the senior tour.  There are some great players who are now eligible for the senior tour, and some who have had some tremendous success in their limited time on tour already.  Tom Baker, Harry Sullins, Brian Voss, Hugh Miller, and the great Walter Ray Williams Jr. are just a few of the names out there competing, and WRW is still at the top of the heap on the regular PBA Tour, so he is a dual force to be reckoned with!  In the next few years we are going to see the likes of Parker Bohn III, Pete Weber, Ameleto Monacelli, and many other great PBA bowlers become eligible for the senior tour, and I believe this is what is going to make the PBA Senior Tour “must see TV” every tournament.  All of those players have been legends and staples on TV for decades, and now that they get a chance to compete at a high level on the senior tour, well, that just adds more drama and flare to a tour that so desperately needs it.  I just hope that the executives of the PBA realize this in the next few years, and take advantage of the marketing of the PBA Senior Tour by letting everyone out there know some of the “big guns” who are now competing out there.  This really could be a “Golden Age” for the PBA Senior Tour, but without the backing of the PBA front office, it will sadly go un-noticed and these great bowlers will not get the recognition, or financial gain, from the tournament bowling that they deserve.

Another reason I say this is going to be a “Golden Age” for the PBA Senior Tour is because history has shown me that these things are cyclical.  What I mean is, a tour like the senior tour, which has an age limit to get in, goes through periods of  drought where there are not many bowlers becoming eligible who may have dominated on the PBA Tour in their younger years, and even though they are getting a steady stream of senior players from the amateur circuit, many TV viewers are more likely to tune in if a recognizable name is on the telecast.  If you look back to the mid 1980′s to early 1990′s, which was the last “Golden Age” on the PBA Senior Tour, you had a flood of talent come up from the PBA ranks, the likes of Early Anthony, Teata Semiz, Gary Dickinson, Johnny Petraglia, and the legendary Dick Weber.  Many people grew up watching these gentlemen dominate the PBA Tour every Saturday afternoon on ABC, and now that they were on the senior tour, the same viewers tuned in to see them dominate once again, and they did not get disappointed.  I, myself, was too young to see the great Earl Anthony or Dick Weber compete on the national tour, but I was able to see both of them bowl on the senior tour, and it is something I will never forget.  If there were no senior tour, then I would have missed out on seeing two of the best bowlers of all time, which is another reason why it is so vital that the PBA keep the senior tour going.  For many younger viewers who didn’t get to see Pete Weber win the Triple Crown, or see WRW become the first bowler to top $200,000 in a single season, for instance, the senior tour allows them to see these guys in a whole new light.  So, like I said earlier, I believe that the cycle is about to be back on the upswing with the ground swell of PBA talent either eligible now, or becoming eligible in the next five years for the senior circuit.  I really do think that we are going to see something special with the senior tour, just like we did back in the late 80′s and early 90′s, and I don’t want to miss a minute of the action.

Lastly, I would like to say that the PBA needs to get their heads out of the sand, and get these senior bowlers on TV again!  How are people supposed to even know that Brian Voss may be bowling against WRW for a title if it is not on TV?  I would hate to miss a classic battle between two of the best bowlers of the last 25 years, just because the PBA decides to keep it off of TV to save a buck.  It would be a shame for an entire generation of bowling fans to miss out on some great senior bowling, so maybe with the infusion of talent coming onto the PBA Senior Tour in the next few years things will change for the better.  Every form of professional bowling deserves to be televised, from the PBA Women’s Tour, the PBA Tour, and the Senior PBA Tour, they are all professional athletes and deserve the respect of a national viewing audience to showcase their unique talent on the lanes week in and week out.  Maybe I am in the minority on this opinion, but I feel very strongly about it, and think most hard-core bowling fans would agree with me.  Get ALL of these professional bowlers on TV!!

In closing, I would like to say that I enjoy all forms of professional bowling, but I hold a special place for the PBA Senior Tour in my heart.  I love watching how these great bowlers can continue to compete at a level I could only dream of, and at an age when most people are thinking more about relaxing than grinding out 30 games of qualifying week in and week out.  It takes a truly special talent to do what the senior players do, and I hope the senior tour gains in popularity like never before due to the factors I mentioned earlier in my blog entry.  I think with the infusion of such spectacular talent over the next few years, along with the great bowlers already on the senior tour, this will become another “Golden Age” for the PBA Senior Tour.  As always, the opinions expressed in this blog are my own, and in no way reflect those of the MSUSBC or any of its members.  Please feel free to comment on anything you read, and I will post it up here, and respond ASAP.  Thank you for reading, have a great time on the lanes everyone, and don’t forget to check out the PBA Senior Tour this summer!

www.mist.bowlingchat.net

www.msusbc-maine.org

www.lausbca.org

www.jgoulding.wordpress.com

2010 – 2011 PBA Tour Information: “A Season Of Change” by James Goulding III

2010 – 2011 PBA Tour Notes:  “A Season Of Change”

by James Goulding III

As the current 2009 – 2010 season on the PBA tour winds down to the last few events, it is time to start wondering where the PBA will be next season.  It is no secret that the current economy has taken a toll on everybody, especially businesses.  And, the PBA is no exception in that regard.  There have been rumors of a possible short season schedule to save money next year, or smaller prize funds, or the worst case scenario being that the PBA tour folds up and closes its doors altogether.  Well, some of those questions were answered this week, and some were not so clear just yet.  Much of the information obtained for my blog post can be found on the PBA forums, just follow the link at the bottom of the page.  Here is a brief synopsis of where the PBA tour stands heading into next season:

The Professional Bowlers Association laid out general plans for the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season in a meeting with the exempt Tour players Wednesday in Norwich, Conn., site of this week’s GoRVing PBA Match Play Championship.

Highlights of the announcements made by Fred Schreyer, PBA Tour Commissioner and CEO and Tom Clark, Deputy Commissioner and COO:

- The PBA Tour’s signature event, the PBA Tournament of Champions, will feature a record $1 million prize fund, record $250,000 first-place prize and different eligibility rules making it open to any PBA titlist (National, Regional, Senior, Women’s Series) in history.  The Tournament of Champions will air Jan. 23.  This season’s event, which was won by Kelly Kulick in history-making fashion, scored the highest ratings for the PBA in five years.

- The ESPN Television schedule of 23 original PBA programs will begin at the end of November, 2010, and run through April 2011.

- Lumber Liquidators has affirmed its commitment as the PBA Tour’s title sponsor through September, 2011.  Lumber Liquidators has been the title sponsor since the beginning of the 2008-09 PBA Tour season.

- The PBA World Series of Bowling will return, producing nine separate TV shows and culminating with the PBA World Championship.  In a story that captured the imagination of the sports world, the PBA World Championship was won this season by Michigan’s Tom Smallwood.  A USA vs. World special competition will also emanate from the WSOB.  Last year’s inaugural PBA World Series of Bowling had participation from 700 different professionals from 14 different nations.

- For the first time in PBA history, some events will feature three consecutive days of live television (Friday, Saturday, Sunday time slots on ESPN platforms) coverage.  The PBA World Championship and U.S. Open will both be telecast in this groundbreaking presentation.  Previously, only the final championship round of any PBA Tour event has been telecast.

- The USBC Masters once again rounds out the list of four major championships and will be aired live from Reno’s National Bowling Stadium.

- For the first time in PBA history, live telecasts will be in ESPN High Definition.

- The first-ever PBA Playoffs will conclude the season with a six-week series of shows.  The elimination series will have its own separate prize fund and be a key decider in the PBA Player of the Year race.

- The Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational returns for the third consecutive year.  The event, which benefits New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul’s CP3 Foundation, features pro bowler/celebrity doubles teams.  LeBron James, Ludacris, Dwyane Wade and Hines Ward are among celebrities having competed the past two years.

- A new “Xtra Frame Tour” will bring the PBA Tour players to at least five different locations in the USA for non-televised events conducted with a similar format as the current PBA Senior Tour.  The events will be webcast exclusively on the PBA’s official video service on pba.com, Xtra Frame.  Xtra Frame has doubled in its subscriber base since this season’s inaugural WSOB.

Further information with more specificity on prize funds, tournament formats, event venues, qualifying tournaments and complete event and TV schedule will be released soon.

Now, there are many details and prize funds still to be determined, but I have to say I was stunned by the news.  I didn’t expect the PBA tour to run for 23 tournaments next year, which is a very welcome change for the better.  Also, I am excited to see three-day live coverage of events like the U.S. Open.  It is nice to see the top 4 or 5 on TV Sunday afternoons, but getting to see what it takes to get there may draw in some non-traditional bowling viewers and help to educate non-bowling sports crowds that bowling on the PBA tour is serious business and a grind to boot.

But, the thing that peaked my interest the most was the 1 million dollar prize fund for the TOC, with a $250,000 first place payout.  I have been saying for years that the only way bowling is going to get mainstream media coverage and be taken seriously as a sport is to have big payouts.  I know this takes sponsorship and participation money, but it finally seems the PBA is on the right track with this one.  Capitalizing on the Kelly Kulick TOC win from this season had to be a major factor in getting enough sponsorship money to make this happen.  Plus, if this ends up being a boon for the PBA next season, it could lead to increased prize funds across the board in seasons to come.

On a personal note, it will FINALLY be nice to see the telecast in ACTUAL high-definition coverage next season!  I have been waiting for this ever since buying my 52″ plasma TV last year, and I can’t wait to watch the first telecast of the season as I drool into my pile of nachos and potato chips!

I think that the PBA tour is trying to revitalize a sport that has always been considered a niche sport, and give it credibility while making money at the same time.  I am glad to see they are working hard to put out a quality product next season, an my only hope is that the payouts for all the other tournaments during the season see similar increases so that professional bowlers can once again be proud to proclaim that they bowl on the PBA tour for a living.  There hasn’t been any additional info as far as the tour trials, or the status of the number of exempt tour players for next season, so when that info becomes available I will try to make sure it ends up on here as well.  As always, feel free to comment on anything you read in my blog post, I will get back to you ASAP.  The opinions in this blog are independent of the MSUSBC and its board members, and are to be used for information and entertainment purposes only.  Thanks for reading, have a great day.

www.lausbca.org

www.msusbc-maine.org

www.pba.com

www.pbaforum.com

Bowling Balls: The Story Of A Flooded Market by James Goulding III

Bowling Balls:  The Story Of A Flooded Market

by James Goulding III

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season, I know I did.  This blog installment deals with the subject of bowling balls, and more specifically the amount of bowling balls produced by each bowling ball company.  We have all had that moment when we are looking forward to the purchase of a new bowling ball, and look into what might be the best fit for your game.  The problem is, this process can take on a life of its own due to the slew of bowling balls out there, with all different types of cover stocks, hook ratings, core combinations, etc.  It can be more of a hassle to find a new bowling ball, when it should be a fun and enjoyable process.  Why do bowling ball companies feel the need to push SO many bowling balls out in a short period of time?  I don’t know if I have a specific answer for that, as I am sure the ball companies have people with a better marketing background than I have (o.k. so I have NO marketing background, you get my point).  They must have a handle on what people want, or what they THINK they want, but it really seems like a lot of overkill on the market to me.  Without further a due, I am going to go into detail about EXACTLY what has been put out on the market.  My criteria for the following list is to list bowling balls that were put on the USBC approved bowling ball list for the period of one calendar year, which in this case is January 2009 – January 2010.  The list can be found here:  http://usbcongress.http.internapcdn.net/usbcongress/bowl/equipandspecs/pdfs/approved_balllist.pdf

So, here is the list, in descending order of the bowling ball company and the number of bowling balls they released in ( ) next to their name, from the time period of one year from January 2009 – January 2010:

 Profi Shop   (39)

AMF   (25)

Brunswick   (20)

Storm   (19)

Ebonite   (18)

US Act   (13)

Hammer   (13)

Roto-Grip   (12)

900 Global   (12)

Columbia   (11)

ABS   (10)

Track   (9)

Caffeine Sports   (6)

Bowlers Paradise/Elite   (5)

Lane #1   (5)

MoRich   (5)

AZO   (4)

Dyno-Thane   (3)

ARK International   (3)

Hard Ball   (3)

Lanemasters   (3)

CAL Bowling   (2)

Lloyd Price Brand   (2)

Lord Field   (2)

Motiv   (2)

Revolution   (2)

Seismic   (2)

Vision X   (2)

Visionary   (2)

DQA   (1)

High Sports   (1)

Kinetic   (1)

VIA   (1)

————————-

Total = 258 bowling balls from 33 Manufacturers

There were 258 bowling balls produced in the last 12 months from 33 different companies.  That is an average of 21 – 22 bowling balls per month!!!!!!  That just seems crazy to me.  Is there really a need to make THAT many new bowling balls every year?  The list includes ALL types of approved bowling balls.  Reactive resin, particle, urethane, polyester, everything.  Also, this list contains many companies that are either not U.S. based, or don’t sell their bowling balls in the U.S. at all.  So, for the sake of argument, let me create a new list, one that has the bowling balls you are most likely to see in your local pro shop window, shopping on the internet, or in a catalog at the bowling alley.  This list will contain equipment approved by the USBC and the PBA Tour for the calendar year of January 2009 – January 2010.  Here is the approved ball list, in descending order, with the company names followed by the number of balls they had approved in ( ) next to their name:

AMF   (25)

Brunswick   (20)

Storm   (19)

Ebonite   (18)

Hammer   (13)

Roto-Grip   (12)

900 Global   (12)

Columbia   (11)

Track   (9)

MoRich   (5)

Motiv   (2)

————————-

Total = 146 bowling balls from 11 Manufacturers

There was a total of 146 bowling balls produced in the last 12 months by 11 different companies approved by the USBC and PBA for use in competition.  This equates to about 12 bowling balls per month, or on average about 1 new release per month per company.  This is, in my opinion, still a staggering amount bowling balls to be on the market in a short period of time.  It seems that no matter what the economy does, bowling balls keep pouring out of these companies by the dozens, with no conceivable end in sight.  How is the average league bowler supposed to make up their mind and decide on the (1) ball they might get per season with so many choices?  They can ask their local pro shop for help, but not even the best of shops can know the ball reaction and characteristics of 146 different bowling balls, and how each one would either work or not work for a specific bowler.  How are tournament bowlers supposed to limit their bowling bag to a solid 5 or 6 ball arsenal with so many choices?  These are just a few of the problems with having SO many bowling balls out there at once.

Another problem is how and when bowling ball companies decide to slash prices on what they call “older equipment” (even if it is only 2 – 3 months old) to make way for new stuff coming down the pipeline.  Pro shops buy a certain amount of balls from their distributor at a set price, and need to sell the balls at a price slightly above what they paid so that they can make money and stay in business.  What happens many times, though, is that the ball companies will cut the price of certain balls they are dis-continuing, but the pro shop is stuck since they bought the balls at the higher price point.  So, the shop either loses a smaller amount money on the ball and sells it cheaper, or lets it sit on the shelf, take up room, and they lose A LOT more money on the ball.  Bowlers can buy the dis-continued ball from an internet retailer for the cut price, and pro shop basically gets screwed on the whole deal.  That is another issue I have with all these releases by bowling ball companies, they don’t think about how their need to release the next “big thing” on the market affects those who actually buy and sell their product.

I would like to see a system where the USBC limits the number of bowling balls they will approve from companies to 5 or 6 a year per company.  The companies can make more bowling balls, but the USBC would only approve 5 or 6 of those for competition.  If you did that, you could cut down on the amount of bowling balls out there by a significant amount.  For example, if you take the 11 companies above that are both USBC and PBA approved, and limit them to 6 balls a year maximum, then it would mean you would have 66 new releases every year instead of the 146 you had this past year.  That cuts down on number of balls by 80, or 55%!!!  That is a huge improvement, in my opinion, compared to the current “ball of the week club” mentality the bowling ball companies stuff down our throats now.  There would be less overlap (reaction-wise) between bowling balls, consumers would have an easier time making the proper choice of equipment for their game, and pro shops wouldn’t have to worry as much about bowling balls being dis-continued and losing money to online retailers who buy up the remainder of supplies from distributors.  This is a win-win situation for everyone.  I think that the bowling ball companies would still sell plenty of product to turn over a profit even with a limited number of the type of bowling balls being produced.  They could save money on the cost of creating a whole new mold design for each ball, and by limiting that to 6 balls per year, that would be a huge savings in research and development costs.

In closing, I would like to say that I enjoy buying bowling balls just as much as the next bowler, but I think there should be a limit to what is being thrown out there to the public to choose from.  I know I would still buy the same 4 or 5 balls per year even if there were only 66 balls to choose from, instead of the 146 there are out there from the last calendar year.  The market is flooded with so many balls that seemingly overlap left and right, so by limiting the number of possible bowling ball combinations companies can make, you help ensure a higher quality of product, and help restore competitive balance to the market.  The smaller companies like Motiv and MoRich can keep up better with the big boys like Brunswick and Ebonite, and I think that is a good thing overall for the sport of bowling.  Also, pro shops will have a much better knowledge base as it pertains to each new bowling ball release since they will have a smaller sample size to review, and they can have a better idea of where prices should be set for the bowling balls they DO purchase from distributors.  As always, the opinions expressed in the blog are my own, and in no way reflect the opinions of the Maine State USBC or any of its members.  Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave a comment or question on anything you read in the blog.

www.lausbca.org

www.msusbc-maine.org

Sport Bowling Patterns: Sanction Your League; The Do’s and Don’ts of Tough Oil Patterns! by James Goulding III

Sport Bowling Patterns: Sancti0n Your League; The Do’s and Don’ts of Tough Oil Patterns!

by James Goulding III

Hello again!  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday, and now that we gear up for more holiday tradition this month, I have a subject I would like to touch on, and that is sport bowling patterns, and how houses can use those to sharpen up league competition when done correctly.  We have all bowled on a regular “house shot”, where there is a heavy concentration of oil in the center of the lane, and it tapers down to a lighter concentration on the outside boards, usually between 39 – 42 ft. in length.  This allows a bowler to have “miss room” inside as the ball will hold pocket due to the heavy oil, and the ball will recover from the outside boards if the bowler misses there, since there is a lighter concentration of oil on those boards.  This leads to a higher scoring pace, more honor scores, and in my opinion, has been one of the factors that has led bowling down the road to fewer members (but I will save that argument for another day).  A sport pattern, in contrast, uses ratios such as 3:1 or 4:1, so that the maximum amount of difference in oil concentration from board to board can not be more than 3:1 or 4:1, or whatever ratio is being used.  Obviously, the lower the ratio (2:1) the tougher the oil pattern, since the oil will be laid across the lane pretty much “flat” so that there is about the same amount of oil inside on the 4th arrow as there is on the 1st arrow.  The higher the ratio (4:1) the more forgiving the pattern, since you can have a larger variance in the amount of oil applied to the lane from board to board, but you can still not exceed that (4:1) ratio at any time for the pattern to be “sport compliant”.  These patterns lower the scoring pace, force bowlers to become more accurate to score, and bring back spare shooting as a viable part of scoring in the game of bowling.  I feel these are the way to go for competitive leagues, and the only fair way to do it is to get the league sanctioned as sport compliant with the USBC.  No doing so, and making up oil patterns that have not been researched thoroughly and sanctioned as sport compliant by the USBC, is not the way to properly bring down the scoring pace, and I will get into that in my next section.

There are, however, examples out there of how houses try and bring down the scoring pace, but do it in a way that (I feel) does not help bowling but rather hinders it, and alienates bowlers in the process.  I bowl in a house that has said they were going to put out something very hard, which I was excited to get the chance to bowl on week in and week out.  I was looking at the lane graph thinking we would be bowling on one of the tough Kegel patterns, or maybe a PBA experience pattern, or even a sport shot, like a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio pattern.  What I saw, though, was some kind of made up oil blend “unique” to something the house had come up with to lower the scoring pace.  I still didn’t mind, because if the pattern played even from side to side, I didn’t see a problem with it.  This is where they got the first thing wrong, in my opinion.  You can not put out a pattern that is very short (37-38ft. in length), take away the outside boards, and lighten up the oil in the center of the lane, without doing the proper research on how to “build the pattern” to play consistently for righties AND lefties.  The pattern plays to somewhere near a 2:1 – 3:1 ratio.  Since the righties out number left-handed bowlers about 9:1, on a given night where you have (2) five person teams bowling against each other, you are going to have roughly 9 righties and 1 lefty.  On this particular pattern, the oil is distributed fairly even from side to side (actually there is a slightly higher concntration on the left side outside the ten board), which makes for a lopsided scoring pace as the night goes on.  All the traffic playing on the right side of the lane is able to pull some of that outside oil off, and allow the righties to create area by making dry boards for the balls to hook off of down lane.  On the left side, where there is only 1, maybe 2, on a given night, their side of the lane will NEVER open up due to the low amount of traffic moving the oil around.  What you can do to even out the scoring is to lighten up the oil on outside boards on the left side of the lane (which happens on the PBA tour, check out their patterns for reference) so that it compensates for the limited amount of bowlers who throw on that side of the lane during the night.  It seems common sense to me.  You can’t apply the same amount of oil to both sides of the lane where there are (9) people throwing on one side, and (1) throwing on the other side and expect them to score similarly, sorry that is never going to happen.

Lightening up the oil on the left side (a small amount, not making it “wide open”) should be done so that EVERY bowler, no matter what hand they throw with, has the same “look” on the lane, and you are not giving an unfair advantage to one side or the other.  You can tweak the shot until you get it right, but to this point in the season, the shot has not changed one bit, so the left side is pretty much shut out from shooting high numbers week in and week out, which is wrong  in my opinion.  I would say the same thing if it were the right side being shut out, it doesn’t matter, houses need to do their homework and make sure that if they are going to “make up” their own oil pattern, that they do it right or don’t do it at all.  There are plenty of sanctionable sport programs that can be downloaded into an oil machine that have been tested for years, so if those are out there, and a house is looking to lower the scoring pace, why not use a pattern that has been tested EXTENSIVELY and used by the USBC and PBA?  It makes no sense to me for a house to try and make up an oil pattern that you will probably never see outside of that house, ever.

Also, the fact that a house (like the one I mention) wants to put out a tough pattern is great, I love having to work hard and grind out a 200 game.  But, if you are going to do it, I say make sure you sanction the league as a sport league, and give the bowlers who throw on that tough pattern the benefits that a sport league gets.  One of those benefits is an average scale adjuster for tournaments.  This is a scale that adjusts up your average to what it would be if you were bowling on a typical house shot (THS) instead of a sport pattern.  If you do not sanction as a sport league, and put out a tough shot, *some* bowlers may see that a a chance to sandbag in my opinion.  A bowler can come in, bowl on that tough shot and average probably 20 – 30 pins lower than his (or her) normal average, but without the average slider, they can use that lower average for handicapping in tournaments and have a HUGE advantage per game over bowlers who are going in with a THS average.  You can not say they are sandbagging intentionally, but by knowing the league does not sanction sport, a person who WANTS to sandbag their average can legally do so on that type of league, which SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN!!! 

Bowling centers should not be in the business of  failing to make a league sanction as a sport league and make up their own version of a “tough shot”, which plays harder than a sport pattern.  Like I said earlier, do it right, or don’t so it at all.  Also, there are awards that are given out for sport bowling ONLY, so by sanctioning as a sport league it give bowlers something else to shoot for week in and week out.  The extra cost for a sport sanction is minimal (I believe in the $9 per year range), but by doing so you are telling your bowlers that you want to put out a tough shot, you care about their needs and wants as competitors to make the league a sport sanctioned league, and  that you are also promoting the growth of the sport through proper sanctioning.

In closing, I would like to say that any houses that are putting out so-called “tough shots” and are not sanctioning as a sport league, you are doing a dis-service not only to your bowlers, but to the entire game of bowling as a whole.  I am all for bowling on the toughest patterns out there, and have on many occasions like the Masters or U.S. Open, but a bowling center needs to get their leagues sport sanctioned, and put out patterns that play fair to everyone, not just righties OR lefties, but even for both.  Everyone should have an equal chance to score well, and be able to compete and beat someone with their skill alone.  A bowler should not be beaten by the fact that they have no chance on a certain lane condition, because the other side of the lane plays easier.   That is wrong, and should never happen in this technological age of bowling.  There are so many ways to make things fair and even, I see no excuse not to, to be honest.  The opinions expressed in this blog are my own, and in no way reflect those of the MSUSBC, or its members.  Thank you for reading, and feel free to comment on anything I have written, open communication and dialog are the keys to success!!  Good luck and good bowling on a sport pattern in your area!

If the PBA folds, does it really matter? by James Goulding III

If the PBA folds, does it really matter?
by James Goulding III

 

This has been a subject that I had hoped to never write about, and that is the VERY real possibility that we are seeing the last days of the Professional Bowler’s Association (PBA) as we know it.  With the recent confirmation that the tour stop in Medford was cancelled due to lack of sponsorship dollars and the hard economy, it brings once again to the forefront the possibility that the PBA may not last another season.  I wonder, though, how many bowlers out there even care if the PBA exists?  How many recreational bowlers have even HEARD of the PBA, nevermind catch a show on Sunday afternoon.  Either way, I feel the if the PBA folds, it would be very bad for the long-term future of bowling as a competitive sport.

For one, there are far-reaching ramifications for the economy if there is no PBA.  From bowling ball sales that would suffer because the players wouldn’t be visible to promote them on TV every week, to bowling shoes and accessories, there are MANY companies that make those products who stand to lose business from the lack of product recognition that the PBA tour provides every week.  Also, the network stands to lose viewers who tune in to the PBA each and every Sunday, as well as losing the money that the PBA pays for the airtime.  There would be many professional players looking for jobs, which adds to the unemployment numbers, and hurts the economy.  Also, think about all the people on staff for the ball companies, coaches, ball rep’s, ball drillers, etc. that would be out of work if the PBA closed it’s doors.  Like I said, there are very many factors outside of the fact that we  (as bowlers) like to see the best players in the world compete week in and week out.

There are a few hurdles that hurt the PBA and it’s prize funds.  One of them is the fact that the PBA pays for its airtime.  Many other sports get paid by the network(s) to have their games broadcast at certain times.  The PBA pays ESPN, CBS, whomever, to air the telecast every week.  Plus, the rate that the PBA gets money for commercial time from sponsors, is lower than any other professional sports organization.  It’s even lower than what hockey gets, and for a sport like bowling that is THE highest participation sport in the U.S., that is just unacceptable.  The PBA has been branded as an organization that just doesn’t sell, for whatever that reason is, I don’t know, it just is.  There needs to be a complete re-evaluation of what and how the PBA is marketed, who it gets marketed to, and how to more efficiently use the dollars that the PBA gets to turn it into a viable product for the consumer to view.

I also feel that the time slot the PBA gets shoved into hurts the product, and BADLY.  The NFL is the most watched sporting event week in and week out, hands down.  To have the PBA on at a time where most of america would rather watch the NFL at 1 or 2 PM on a Sunday afternoon is committing Nielsen ratings suicide.  I feel that the PBA (since it pays for its airtime anyway) should try and get the tour either back in its original Saturday afternoon spot (which would compete with college football), or, try and get into a weeknight spot, like a Monday or Tuesday night.  I think that Tuesday would be the perfect spot, especially if the PBA could get into a 7 PM slot, before the prime time shows begin.  They could avoid the NFL altogether, plus maybe pull in some new viewers who may tune into their favorite shows early and catch the telecast.  Those are just a few ideas, but at this point I feel that anything is worth a try.

Lastly, the PBA (if it survives) needs to find a way to creat revenue and get the prize funds respectable for the best players in the world.  There are tournaments now that pay the same for 1st place as they did 20 years ago, and that is just unacceptable.  If the PBA could find a way to get prized funds to the point where 1st place pays consistently 50,000 (+), many more people may be interested in checking out the telecast, and there would be more buzz around each tournament stop.  It could also bring in more money to the TQR by creating an environment that would  make more sense for those players to drop some cash to compete for a chance to make a bigger pay-day.  This is where the USBC could step in, which I think would be a good idea.  For years, the USBC has been cutting down on awards without decreasing costs.  I would like to see the USBC commit $1 from every member that certifies, and put that money into the PBA prize fund directly.  That could add millions to the prize fund, and make the PBA a marketable and viable organization again.  I know as a USBC sanctioned bowler myself, this is one thing the USBC could do to give back to bowling, and at the cost of only $1 more, I wouldn’t even notice the cost difference out of my pocket.

Those are a few of my thoughts on the PBA, and my hope that it will continue to thrive and survive this tough economic time.  There is no better honor than to be considered one of the elite athletes of your sport, and the PBA players are no different in that aspect.  They deserve to be recognized and paid on a level more consistent with the best in other sports.  It would be a great travesty if the PBA had to fold, and have devastating effect not only on the economy but on amateur and professional bowling as a whole.  If there are no heros left to look up to, than where do we look?

As always, the opinions expressed in this blog entry are my own, and in no way reflect the opinion of the MSUSBC or their members.  Thank you for reading, and please feel free to comment on anything you read here today.  Take care!!!

-James Goulding III

www.lausbca.org

www.msusbc-maine.org

Bowling’s Lost Art by Ed Cotter

Bowling’s Lost Art by Ed Cotter

I watched the PBA’s Plastic Ball Championship and realized that there is a lost art in bowling.  In the early days of bowling, bowlers relied on wrist and hand position changes to achieve the desired affect on their ball.  With the aggressive equipment, bowlers tend to change their ball instead of changing wrist and or hand positions.  Coaching tends to work towards this also.  It’s easier to work with a bowler who has learned to replicate their wrist and hand position and change balls rather than changing their wrist and hand position.  I have to admit I fell into that trap too.  I helped propagate this as a coach by emphasizing to bowlers to have a 4-6 ball arsenal as well as a bowler by changing balls if I was struggling.  That way they can use the same hand and wrist position and just change the ball based on the lane condition at hand.

What I liked about the Plastic Ball Championship was it placed an emphasis on the bowler’s ability to affect the ball not the bowler’s ability to roll the ball and have the ball hook for them.  It also brought back another variable, speed.

I do have a question for everyone.  As an Association Manager and a coach, I am looking for opportunities for bowlers to challenge themselves.  Would bowlers be interested in participating in a Polyester/Plastic Ball Tournament?  I don’t have a cost as of yet, probably about $50-60.  I’m thinking Oct-Nov timeframe, since there are not a lot of tournaments during this timeframe.  Here’s the suggested format:

Polyester/Plastic Ball Tournament

Open to all bowlers, two divisions, singles only tournament

            Handicap – handicap will be 90% of 230

Averages will the previous season’s average, based on 21 games.  If no previous season average, the bowler will use their current season average based on 21 games.  If no current season average, the bowler will enter with the tournament average of 230.

            Scratch

NOTE: the bowler must pick their division.  Divisions will not be assigned by the tournament manager.

 

Bowling Ball Standards:

- Must be one of the following bowling ball types:

900 Global – Polyester Globe

AMF – Extreme

Brunswick – TZone, Vis-A-Ball

Clear Balls – Cranial, Cranial Tribal, Gambler, High Roller, Slot Machine, Watermelon

Columbia – Blue Dot, White Dot

Ebonite – Maxim, Skull

Elite – Alien Viz

Gem Tek – Pro Line Purple
Hammer – Big Blue Spare, Black Widow Clear

KR – Viz

Lane Masters – Arrow

Linds – Resale Ball

OTB (On The Ball) – Viz

Roto-Grip – Golden Globe, Spare Tire

Storm – Breeze, Ice Storm, Team Storm
Visionary – Infra-red Amulet

NOTE: if your ball type is not listed it must be approved by the tournament manager prior to arrival at the tournament.  Non-listed bowling ball approval will not be accomplished the day of the tournament.  If the ball is not on the list or pre-approved prior to the day of the tournament, it will be disqualified from the tournament.

- Bowling ball surface can be altered using no coarser than 600 grit. 

NOTE:  If the surface is altered, a signed letter by the individual accomplishing the resurface will be required stating the grit used.

- Finger weight and side weight – each will not exceed ½ ounce

NOTE:  weights must be verified in writing by the proshop person authenticating the weights.  The authentication must be provided to the tournament manager, no later than check-in, before allowing the bowler to participate in the tournament.  If you drill your own equipment it will need to be verified by another proshop person, self verification will not be allowed.  Match play qualifiers will have their balls verified again on-site by tournament management.  If a bowler is disqualified the next available qualifier will be verified to replace the disqualified bowler.

 

Tournament Format

Oil pattern will be the PBA Plastic Ball Championship pattern.

There will be 2 qualification rounds and a single game elimination match play round

First round – All entrants will bowl 3 games qualifying with half the bowlers advancing to the Second Round

Second Round – First round scores carry forward, all entrants will bowl 3 more games with half the bowlers advancing to the Match Play Round

Match Play Round – will be single game elimination until there is one bowler.  In the event a round has an odd number of bowlers, the highest seed remaining will receive a by to the next match.

            NOTE:  Lane assignments will be accomplished by blind draw for all rounds

 

All other USBC rules will apply.

 

Since this would be a singles format, per USBC Rule 400, youth would be able to compete.  Any prize money a youth wins would be paid in a scholarship and adults would be paid by check.

I welcome any feedback in the comments box below.  Responses will determine if this tournament happens or not.  If you like it, pass it along, have others respond.  This is your chance to speak out.  Thank you for taking the time to respond.  Good luck and good bowling.

Cheetah Championship Recap

Well, sorry I didn’t make it in before the telecast aired on ESPN yesterday, but the matches were fantastic, and I have plenty to talk about this morning.

The PBA changed the format this week, allowing the women’s final to bowl first, pitting Carolyn Dorin-Ballard against Stefanie Nation.  Ballard and Nation both were using a Brunswsick Maxx Zone, and to me both balls looked to have a matte or slightly polished look to them, certainly not a dull appearance from what I saw.  This was meant to give the ball a little length, but not too jumpy (which high gloss polish can do) as the women were both throwing the ball slower than the men were, and a dull finish could make the ball not finish and “roll out” before it hits the pocket, making pin carry difficult.  Ballard was struggling a bit with her timing, as I noticed she was very late on a few of her shots (arm catching up to your feet), which made her throw the ball away from her target.  She did a good job of keeping the ball in play as she made slight adjustments as the match went on.  Both bowlers needed a few frames to get settled in, but Nation did an incredible job controlling the tempo of the match, leading from the third frame all the way up to the 10th frame.  Ballard and Nation both threw clutch strikes in the 9th to set up a wild 10th frame finish.  Ballard made a great shot on her 10th ball, striking, but threw it out to the right too much on her 11th shot, leaving the 1-2-4-10, or washout.  Pin count was huge on the spare, as a 9 count would mean Nation could go 9 spare strike for the win, but a spare conversion by Ballard meant Nation needed the first strike in the 1oth to seal the match, anything less was a loss.  Ballard made a great conversion, and forced Nation to strike on the first ball in the 10th to win the match.  Nation flushed a shot, and left a ringing 10 pin to lose the match 208-204.  Congratulations to Carolyn Dorin-Ballard on the win, and to Stefanie Nation for a tough fought 2nd place finish.

I threw out there yesterday that Jack Jurek was the lone righty, and thus should have a chance to set up his lanes better if he could get past the lefty Mike Scroggins.  Well, as it turned out, the ladies final went before the men stepped on the lanes, and with both ladies being right handed, it meant that Jurek already had to contend with two games worth of lane transition before his match with Scroggins began.  This effectively took away any advantage Jurek would have received if the lanes had been fresh, and actually gave Scroggins a slight edge since the right side had already begun to transition.  My observation of the match was that Scroggins was absolutely dialed in from frame one.  He was using a RotoGrip Cell with some surface to it (no polish) to get the ball into a roll phase quicker and keep it from jumping off the spot.  Jurek, on the other hand, was using a MoRich N’Tense LevRg that also looked to have some surface to it.  I found it interesting that Jurek refused to change equipment, speed, or line when it was apparent early on that his ball was checking up early, as evidence by the two splits he left early on in the match.  You can’t discount the impact the women’s match had on the opening men’s match, as I feel if Jurek had been bowling on a fresh shot, the match could have a different look to it.  You have to give Scroggins credit for taking advantage and hitting his shot consistently to put away Jurek.  Final score was 235-175.

The second men’s match featured Scroggins against another lefty, Patrick Allen.  You could see the effects of the increased traffic early on in the match, as Scroggins went to a RotoGrip Cell Pearl immediately to get more length and a cleaner look on the backend, and Allen was using a Hammer Cherry Vibe, which is a pearlized ball that is also meant to give a clean look through the heads, and save it’s energy for the back part of the lane.  Both bowlers had a good look early on, but as the match progressed it was clear that the outside line on the left side was starting to move away very quickly.  Allen had trouble getting the ball to face up to the pocket, going through the nose several times, and finally changed to a Hammer Blue Vibe later in the match to get the ball to roll a little earlier and smooth out the  break point a bit, but it was too late by then.  Scroggins had made a great move to the Cell pearl, and you could see him tighten his line up and amp up the speed to keep the ball around the pocket, which ended up being a much better strategy than Allen had, which was trying to go around the transition on the lane. Final score was 222-200.

The final match featured PBA legend Parker Bohn III and Mike Scroggins.  I was curious to see how Bohn would attack a pair that had three games already bowled on the left side.  His strategy seemed simple, keep the ball on the extreme outside part of the lane away from Scroggins, and don’t miss left.  Bohn was using a Brunswick Twisted Fury with some polish to it, to get the ball down the lane easier, keeping him from forcing the ball into the pocket.  Scroggins continued with the Roto Grip Cell Pearl for the entire match.  Bohn got off to a hot start, but Scroggins was staying in the hole pretty much every shot.  He was the victim of a high flush 6-8 split, which was caused by the bowling ball coming too hard out of the break and never deflecting as it drove through the 5-9.  You could see that Scroggins’ line was starting to burn up a bit, and he was not comfortable moving inside on the lane, where they said no bowlers were able to score from all week long.  He kept forcing it in there from the outside, and finally paid the price with a 4-6-7-8-10 “greek church” split late in the match.  He only got 6 out, which cost him pin count against Bohn.  This was the break Bohn needed, as he kept the ball in play the whole match (except a pitch out 1-3-6-9  leave which he converted) to win his 32nd career title.  Final score was 242-198.  Congratulations to Parker Bohn III on the win, as well to Mike Scroggins for a hard fought 2nd place finish.

Overall, it was great to see how lane transition can affect the left side of the lane, which is something right handers usually deal with on a more consistent basis due to the higher number of right handed bowlers.  Also, the two most accomplished bowlers on the show, Parker Bohn III and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, showed once again why they are both hall or famers, and know how to close out a match.  Thanks for reading, please check out the Maine State USBC website, I have a link to it in my signature.  The page has been completely revamped with great info on all things related to bowling in the state of Maine, as well as useful information for bowlers worldwide.

James Goulding III

www.msusbc-maine.org

Bowler 2 Bowler Blog is Running!!!

My name is James Goulding, and I am an avid tournament and league bowler in Maine. I have 15+ years experience bowling, with ten 300’s and five 800’s to my credit, along with many other accomplishments. I am left handed.

I’ll be talking about the hot topics in the world of bowling, and give them a local flare, along with expert analysis and my own personal insight on a variety of bowling related topics.

I hope you all enjoy this blog, and feel free to contact me through the blog or e-mail. Again, I will be making my next entry right before the PBA telecast on ESPN of the Cheetah Championship in Cheektowaga, NY, airing at 1 PM EST.

This should be an exciting event with 3 lefties on the telecast on the men’s side (Parker Bohn III, Patrick Allen, and Mike Scroggins). The lone righty is Jack Jurek, who is a 1 time titlist on the PBA tour, but is a local favorite of the Buffalo area. It will be interesting to see how the oil transition affects the lefties, who are not used to as much traffic on their side, and if Jurek can take advantage if he can get by his first match being the lone righty. His shot should hold up better as the day goes on, due to him being the only bowler on that side. The women have Carolyn Dorin-Ballard taking on Stefanie Nation. It’s the classic veteran versus youth match up, and it should be a good one. I am looking forward to seeing how the youngster holds up as the pressure intensifies during the match.

I will post predictions and have more in depth analysis before the matches tomorrow. Take care everyone.

-James Goulding III