Bowling Center Selection: My Personal Experience(s)
by James Goulding III
Hello again my fellow bowlers. We have hit the time of year where we look toward the end of our fall bowling leagues, and make decisions such as which leagues to bowl next year and with what group of people. It is nice to bowl with friends in a fun, low-pressure league, and it is also fun (on a different level) to put together a team of higher average bowlers and try to dominate a scratch league the following season. There are so many choices, it can be hard to make the right ones without hurting a bowlers feelings, or possibly sacrificing something you really want to “honor” a commitment to a friend or team-mate. Those decisions are such an individual thing that it would be hard for me to tell any of you out there which way to lean when forming your teams for the following bowling season. Instead, in this installment of my bowler-2-bowler post, I am going to sing the praises of two of the bowling centers that I choose to bowl in, and how they are giving back to the bowling community here at the local level, making league and tournament bowling such an enjoyable and rewarding experience for everyone who sets foot in their doors. Just to clarify my blog post ahead of time, this is going to outline my personal experiences, in the hopes that saying positive things about bowling centers in the state of Maine will promote the sport and grow the number of people out there who may want to commit to bowling leagues, tournaments, etc. The spirit of my blog post is not an advertisement (per se), but more to the point of highlighting reasons why I like bowling in certain bowling centers, and touting the good things they do for bowlers. I certainly encourage everyone who reads this that bowl in Maine to add a comment highlighting the things that their local bowling centers do that make it a great place to bowl. I would love to hear those stories and comments, as promoting bowling in Maine and posting positive things about the sport and our local centers is what this blog is all about! With that out of the way, here are the examples I promise of the two bowling centers I bowl leagues in, and why I enjoy bowling there.
The first bowling center I would like to talk about is Spare Time Recreation Center located in Lewiston, ME. This is a 34 lane-bowling center, which makes it tied for the largest center in the state of ME. The house is uniquely split into two halves (if you will). With lanes 1-18 on one side, and lanes 19-34 on the other side. In the middle you have the arcade, snack and beverage area, and front desk. The pro shop inside the bowling center (which is independently owned and operated) is called Moore’s Pro Shop and is my favorite pro shop in the state of Maine (again this is only my personal opinion, I would like everyone who has a favorite pro shop to comment on it and we can start a list for people who read the blog to choose from and follow). They are a full service shop with competitive pricing and top-notch service. Please feel free to stop by the pro shop, as they are always there to help you out. This is a common theme at Spare Time Recreation, which is excellent customer service (in my opinion). They do an outstanding job of catering to the bowlers needs, and even on the nights where there may be some machinery issues, they do their best to help things run as smoothly as possible. Spare Time Recreation Center in Lewiston also has a very well run youth program, and run leagues 7 days a week during the fall bowling season.
They also run a rewards card program, which works like the rewards points you would have on a credit card. You obtain a free rewards card, and every time you purchase something, you earn money back on the card, which can be accumulated and then used to purchase things at the bowling center. The best part is, you can also put your league bowling on the card, and earn money back every week you bowl! I applaud Spare Time Recreation for heading up such a great customer service initiative (again, this is based on my personal experience).
The second bowling center I would like to mention is run by the same group from Spare Time Recreation in Lewiston, and that is Spare Time Recreation Center in Augusta, ME. This is a 24-lane facility with all the modern amenities that you would look for in any bigger bowling alley. The thing that I like so much about Spare Time Recreation in Augusta is the way they everyone makes you feel like family every time you walk in the door. I bowl in a Tuesday night league that fills the building, and it is so nice to go into a place where all the employees know you, and go out of their way to make you, the customer, happy. They hold leagues every night during the fall bowling season, and are very active in the bowling tournament scene. Spare Time Recreation in Augusta hosts the Miller Lite Open, which is a large tournament that pays scratch and handicap divisions every season. They also hold PBAX lane condition tournaments, as well as host a monthly stop for the Maine Invitational Scratch Tournament. Another nice thing about Spare Time Recreation in Augusta is that they participate in the same rewards card program that is in place in their Lewiston bowling center. Actually, they have another bowling center in Waterville that is part of the same group, and all three centers participate in the program. Plus, you can use the same rewards card at all three facilities and redeem your cash back at any of them. Those are just SOME of the reasons I like bowling at Spare Time Recreation in Augusta, but if you are curious, go try them out for yourself and comment back here what you think about your experience bowling there, too.
Both Lewiston and Augusta have a super strike jackpot that challenges any bowler who is up to the task. Basically, there are ten different frames you have to throw strikes in during the night, and if you can get all those strikes in the EXACT frames you are supposed to, you win the cash in the prize fund. You could win 10%, 50%, or 100% depending on how many strikes you get in the 10th frame the last game. It only costs $1 every week to get in, and some of the pots have reached well over $1,000 before they were won, so it is a lot of fun AND you can make back some serious cash. This is just another benefit they offer to bowlers that makes them a great place to bowl (again, this is my opinion and feel free to leave a comment about the great things that your local Maine bowling centers do to give back to bowlers).
I just wanted to share some of the reasons why I choose to bowl at Spare Time Recreation Center in Lewiston and Augusta, ME. As bowlers, we always hear about some of the negative things people say about bowling centers, but I thought this would be a great time to show some of the positive things that a few of Maine’s bowling centers are doing. I feel that if more people realize that there are some really good benefits to bowling leagues and/or tournaments in Maine bowling centers, they would be encouraged to join and/or enter those leagues or tournaments more frequently. Promoting Maine bowling is one of the reasons I love writing for this blog, and I hope that people see that my post is in the spirit of promoting bowling throughout the state of Maine by showcasing the reasons why I choose to bowl in two of Maine’s bowling centers in Lewiston and Augusta. I also don’t mean this to sound like there aren’t any other fantastic places to bowl in ME, but rather I am just mentioning the two that I bowl in every week, and the reason(s) why I do so. If you have some good personal experiences at the bowling centers you frequent, please feel free to comment on them, and leave those here on the blog for other bowlers to see. It is always nice to hear about the places that are there FOR the bowlers, and not just hearing the horror stories about the bowling centers you want to avoid. Please feel free to ask any questions about anything in the blog, and I will get back to you ASAP. As always, the opinions expressed in this blog entry are my own, and in no way reflect those of the MSUSBC or any of its members. Thanks for reading, and good luck out there on the lanes!!!