Category Archives: bowling

Bowling Ball Cleaner Experiments 101 by James Goulding III

Bowling Ball Cleaner Experiments 101

By James Goulding III

Hello again bowlers, and it feels good to be back blogging after a nice summer break.  I hope everyone is ready for fall leagues as most have either started up already, or will be shortly.  There is always a lot of talk surrounding which type of bowling ball cleaner and/or polish to use to keep your bowling equipment looking good.   While I have blogged about this in the past, and gone through different types of cleaners, which ones are good to use during USBC certified
competition, and which ones are banned, I would like to take this opportunity
to share a real world experiment I performed using a cleaner available at any
local drug store or supermarket, and I think you will find the results quite
interesting.  Just an FYI, here is the USBC list of allowable cleaners and polishes as of the start of the 2011 – 2012 bowling season:

Here are the notes from my personal experiment last season into this season….

I bought a Hammer Swagga and put 90 -100 games on it the last two months of the season between leagues and tournament play. I have used most of the commercial cleaners and even household cleaners on the market, trying to find the simplest, easy to use, and most effective cleaner between sets. I decided to go with 91% isopropyl alcohol, as it is a strong cleaner (in my opinion) and many have debated it’s ability to deep clean a ball and keep oil from seeping deep into the cover of the ball, and it is relatively cheap to purchase (I used the
CVS brand for the experiment) compared to other cleaning products.

Now, anyone who uses high end Hammer equipment knows that these balls soak in oil with the best of them, which is why I wanted to experiment using the Swagga (2000 Abralon factory surface). I religiously cleaned the Swagga immediately at the completion of each set, using only a microfiber towel and the 91% isopropyl alcohol. I also took the ball into the Revivor oven in my pro shop every 35 games to check and see how much oil was coming out of the ball. Also, I kept track of my scores with the ball, and noted ball reaction over the course of the life span in the experiment. Lastly, the ball got one surface freshener at 50 games, back to the original box finish of 2000 Abralon.

Results were very promising for the use of ONLY 91% isopropyl alcohol on your bowling ball as a cleaner. I noted almost ZERO reduction in ball reaction over the course of the experiment, averaging 236.5 in tournament play with the ball, 242.33 in one house on league, and 244.0 in the other house in league play over that span of time. I saw no dip in scoring with the ball from game 1 to 35 before each Revivor session, as the sets were very consistent from beginning to end. As far as oil extraction went, the ball went into the oven for the period
of 30 minutes with just a few drops of oil wiped off, and then an hour, with
only a few more small spots of oil wiped off, and finally at the hour and a half mark I pulled it for the final time noting no more oil coming out of the cover of the ball. This was true with each Revivor session, which honestly blew me away using only the 91% isopropyl alcohol as a cleaning agent on the ball. I thought there would be much more oil seeping from the cover each time, but apparently the isopropyl alcohol did the trick as the only cleaning agent being
used on the ball.

So, based on my personal experience with this experiment, I feel very
comfortable using just 91% isopropyl alcohol to clean my bowling equipment,
which IS approved for use by the USBC during, before, or after competition of
your bowling session. It does a very good job of removing lane oil, dirt, belt marks, and grime from the ball AS LONG AS YOU USE IT IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR SET BEFORE YOU PUT THE BALL AWAY EVERY TIME. If you don’t, I can’t say how well this product will work to keep oil out of the cover, but my guess is significantly worse than if you use it immediately after you are done bowling.  I am not saying that the cleaners made specifically for bowling balls work any less, rather I wanted to see if I could find a cheaper alternative that worked just as well, and I think I have found that in the 91% isopropyl alcohol.  I will try this on balls of different surfaces and textures just to make sure that this works well across multiple types of equipment.  I will say that I have used it on a Roto Grip Nomad Dagger and a Brunswick C-System 4.5 with good results, but I will continue my quest for knowledge, and try and post those results up as they come in.  I just wanted to share my recent experience in this area, and hope that someone else can find this trick works well for them, too.  If you have tried similar experiments as mine, please feel free to post those results up on the comment section of this blog for everyone to learn from and read, thank you.  As always, the opinions expressed in this blog are mine, and in no way represent those of the Maine State USBC or any of its members.  Take care everyone, and good luck on the start of your bowling seasons!

James Goulding III

(M.I.S.T. Tournament Director)

Bowling Ball Terminology & Maintenance, by James Goulding III

Bowling Ball Terminology & Maintenance

by James Goulding III

Hello bowlers, and thank you once again for reading the bowler-2-bowler blog. my latest entry really combines the efforts of two of my older posts, one talking about Bowling Ball Terminology and the other one dealing with the maintenance aspect of your bowling equipment. I thought it would be nice to update both of those concepts, and combine them into one blog post, since they really go hand in hand with each other. I mean, what good does it do if you know a ton of information about how your bowling ball is set up, the reaction it is supposed to have on the lanes, but yet have no clue as to how to keep the bowling ball reacting the way you want it to over and over again with the proper care. This is why I have combined my blog posts into this one big post to make it easier for you, the bowler, to pull out the useful information needed to not only know about your equipmeny, but also how to take proper care of your equipment. The first part will deal with the terminology commonly used around pro shops and well educated bowlers out on the lanes, and the second part will deal with proper care of the equipment you just learned about. So, without further delay, let’s talk technology!

Bowling Ball Terminology (Ball Dynamics):

I am writing this blog post to give bowlers some basic, intermediate, and advanced information on terms used pertaining to ball dynamics. You have probably heard terms like Differential and Radius of Gyration (RG) and never really understood what they actually mean. I am going to list some of the terms myself, and other experienced bowlers and pro shop operators, use pertaining to ball dynamics. This list is a combination of terms used by experienced bowlers and ball drillers (like myself), and grouped together by a member of the site, whose name is Sean Cross. While I have added my own terminology and expertise to the list (which you can find on the FAQ section of ballreviews), the list was put together by Sean, so I feel he deserves some of the credit for combining everything together on this list. Thanks Sean, and I hope everyone can learn from these terms, and effectively use them in their bowling language dictionaries.


Internal or core torque refers to the mass distribution within the core and the internal lever arms created by the core. Core torque is an assigned value of the ball’s ability to combat roll out, the complete loss of axis tilt and axis rotation. High torque balls are more effective than lower torque balls at delaying roll out. Core torque can also be one indicator of the type of reaction that a bowler can expect at the break point with high torque balls having the propensity to be more “violent” and the lower torque balls tending to display a more even, predictable transition from skid to roll.


It is the difference between the lowest and highest RG values of a bowling ball. You compute the high rg value and subtract the low rg value, and you have the differential. There is no minimum for differential. What differential tells you: RG Differential is an indicator of track flare POTENTIAL in a bowling ball. Differentials in the .01 s to .02 s would mean that a ball has a lower track flare potential, .03 s to .04 s would be the medium range for track flare potential, and the .05 s to .08 s would indicate a high track flare potential. These ranges above are not based on cardinal rules. They are BTM (Bowling This Month) in-house rules of thumb because there are no published guidelines. Also, differential is a guide to the internal versatility of a ball. It can indicate just how much of a length adjustment can be made through drilling. A low differential will allow for only a modest variance in length (from shortest drilling to longest) which may translate into as little as a foot or two on the lane. An extremely high differential may translate into a length window in the neighborhood of eight feet on the lane.


The planned apparent imbalance in balls due to high tech cores and drilling techniques. Many people claim that this has created balls that hook out of the box with a lessening requirement to have the skill to impart the hook and power by the bowler themselves. This is still up for debate, but the increase in scoring pace of the game of bowling over the past 15-20 years can not be ignored.


In the old days, before the advent of modern core design in bowling balls, the center of the ball was, more or less, symmetrical. In today’s high tech computer designed ball, in the cores and multiple cores designs, you can have cores that are not evenly balanced and distributed within the center of the ball. This allows balls to be drilled and designed in a manner that the apparent “weight” of the ball can shift depending on the drilling pattern i.e., it is not “static” it is “dynamic”.


The migration of the ball track from the bowler’s initial axis, the axis upon release, to the final axis, the axis at the moment of impact with the pins. The more flare created by the core, the more hook potential for a given cover stock. Higher differential bowling balls will flare, on average, significantly more than a lower differential bowling ball due to the increased track migration of the bowling ball with the higher differential.


Simply put, the mass bias in a bowling ball occurs when the mass (weight block or portion of weight block) is bias (more dominant) in one direction inside of an object (in this case a bowling ball). If you took a bulb shaped, single density core and positioned it dead center from side to side inside the ball, there would be no mass bias. You also would have a ball that is a pin in ( 2″), you have to “tilt” the core inside the ball, or place the entire core slightly off center. This became a common practice among manufacturers as the demand for pin out balls increased. When this is done however, you create a “dynamic imbalance” inside the ball because the mass is more dominant or “bias” in the direction of the “tilt” or “offset”. That is the most important factor when discussing the mass bias, it is a DYNAMIC POINT ON THE BALL. Positioning the mass bias in different positions when laying out a ball will have a great impact on the “motion” the ball will make as it is going down the lane (even arc, hook/set, skid/flip and so on).

There are people who will argue that static imbalances (finger weight, side weight etc.) are more important than dynamic imbalances. My reply to this is that a dynamic imbalance is a real point in the ball, it is constant and does not change unless you alter it by drilling into it with a drill bit. A static imbalance, or the CG (center of gravity), will change as soon as you put one hole in the ball. It will change again with each additional hole you put in the ball as well. While static weights can be used to “fine tune” the reaction of the ball at the break point, it is the dynamic lay out that dictates the roll of the ball. If a pro shop operator truly understands the principals of the mass bias and how to apply them, they can greatly increase your overall satisfaction with the ball you purchase. On a ball that doesn’t have a pre-marked MB it’s theoretical position can be found by measuring from the pin through the CG 6.75″.


A Pin-in ball (when the pin is located within two inches of the CG) is excellent choice for control and less overall hook. A Pin-out ball (> 2″ away from the c.g.) usually can be made to hook more and flip more dramatically than pin-in balls. They (pin out balls) often give the driller more options as far as fine tuning reaction shapes of the bowling balls for varying styles of bowlers.


This is the final position of the axis after the ball has lost all axis rotation and tilt. The length of time it takes for the ball to reach it’s PSA and it’s post drilling PSA are influenced by the amount of friction, the drill layout, and bowler’s spec’s.


The measurement that tells us the core’s impact on the skid potential of the bowling ball. It identifies how fast a ball begins to rotate once it leaves the bowler’s hand. Three designations for the RG of bowling balls are: low, medium, and high. A high RG ball goes further down the lane before hooking because it takes longer to begin rotating and stores its energy on dryer conditions. A low RG ball revs up early and is a more evenly arcing ball used on wetter conditions. There are three axis on a bowling ball used to measure RG (radius of gyration). The lowest RG axis (usually denoted by the letter Z) is the axis through the pin. The highest RG axis (usually denoted by the letter X) is located 6-3/4 inches from the pin through the center of gravity (CG or heavy spot). The intermediate RG axis (usually denoted by the letter Y) is located 6-3/4 inches from both the low and high RG axis.

Even though all bowling balls of a given weight are about the same size (minimum diameter of 8.500 inches to a maximum of 8.595 inches), these balls are constructed differently. Some use two materials (one shell and one core), others use three, four or five or more pieces to construct the shell(s) and core(s). Each of the materials used has a density (which roughly translates into weight per unit of volume). Zirmonite (as used in the Columbia pin) is denser (heavier by volume) than Bismuth Graphite (used in the core of the Brunswick Zones) which is denser (heavier by volume) than the fired ceramic that is used in the Columbia and Track cores. These, and the other dense-material cores used by other manufacturers, are all heavier by volume than the material used in the main cores. The main core material is denser than the foam-like material used as outer cores or inner shells, the purpose of which is to keep some balls in compliance with the USBC (United States Bowling Congress) weight limitation and to help pinpoint a certain RG value. Then there is the urethane used for the outer shell of the ball, which by density fits in between the core materials.

Even though you may have a bowling ball with as few as two parts or as many as five or more, all balls have one characteristic: they will act as if all of their weight is located at a point some distance away from the rotational axis. This distance is the radius of gyration (RG).

For example, a bowling ball has a maximum allowable diameter of 8.595 inches (maximum radius = 4.2975 inches). Theoretically, the RG could be any distance from just over zero inches by placing ultra-dense materials in the center of the ball and extremely lightweight filler beyond, to just under 4.2975 inches by placing ultra-dense materials near the outer shell and filling the inner areas of the ball with lightweight foam.

In the first example, the ball would be as center heavy as possible. In the second, it would be as shell heavy as possible. The problem with unlimited RG is that the two extremes would produce variations in ball performance that would be enormous. One would roll immediately and the other would “lope” all the way through the pin deck.

The USBC (United States Bowling Congress), in an attempt to limit the amount of variation in ball performance that could be achieved through construction, placed minimums and maximums on RG. The rule states that the minimum RG can be no lower than 2.430 inches and no greater than 2.800 inches. This means that every ball must act as if its entire weight (mass) is rotating at a distance of not less than 2.430 inches or more than 2.800 inches from the axis. Since the total span of RGs ranges from 0 to 4.2975 inches, technically all bowling balls fall within the overall medium RG range. However, when anyone in bowling talks about RG, they are not referring to the total range of possible RGs, but instead only to the RG range allowed for the sport, which currently is 2.430 to 2.800.

In the At a Glance chart, and in ball reviews and comparisons in BTM, the following scale is used for low flare potential balls:

Low RG = 2.430 to 2.540
Med RG = 2.541 to 2.690
High RG = 2.691 to 2.80

There is a slight upward adjustment for high flare potential balls. Determining the RG for BTM and fellow ball geeks, the formula for finding the radius of gyration (usually denoted by the letter k) is: the square root of the ball’s moment of inertia divided by its mass (k squared = I / m). What RG tells you: like with everything else in bowling, RG in and of itself tells you very little. It is ONE indicator of length. The characteristics of the three types of balls are as follows:

A low RG ball will be easier to “rev up” and it will rev faster, quicker because most of the mass is located relatively close to the center of the ball. Since it revs faster, sooner, it also wants to hook earlier. Medium RG balls are intermediate length balls. They are a little more difficult to spin (takes more power), so most bowlers will see a slight loping characteristic through the heads and early mid lane, followed by a faster revving action and later hook than you would get with the low RG ball. High RG balls are the hardest to rev up, since the mass is concentrated farthest from the center, and therefore bowlers will see longer lope, much later revving action, and the latest hook from these balls.

Well, there it is in a nutshell. Hopefully by seeing what these terms mean, you can make more sense out of what goes into a bowling ball manufacturing process, as well as how these technical terms apply to you out on the lanes. Now we will move onto the next part of this blog post, and that is the proper care of your bowling equipment once you begin using it. If you follow the directions below, you will find that your bowling balls will last longer, react closer to the out of box finish that you require, and give you one more leg up on your competition. Here we go!

Keeping Equipment Clean: One Key to Success

Getting good coaching, watching video, and working in a pro shop have all been valuable tools that have helped me become a successful bowler. But, there is also another part of my game that is important on a weekly basis, and that is taking care of my bowling equipment so that it takes care of me on the lanes when I need it. What I mean is, I can’t expect to bowling balls to perform at their peak all the time if I am not willing to put in some time of my own to make sure factors such as lane oil, rubber marks, track grooves, and such don’t take away from the balls performance. A little bit of extra time spent on cleaning and maintaining your bowling equipment goes a long way to not only keeping your bowling balls working at their optimum level, but also extends their life so that it saves you money on buying new equipment in the long run. I am going to discuss a few areas where bowlers need to pay attention to, which is daily maintenance, bi-monthly maintenance, and annual maintenance.


When I write this, I don’t mean go in your bowling bag every day and do the following steps, but rather after each time you bowl a league set, tournament, etc. before the next time you bowl. First off, I recommend all bowlers use a microfiber towel to wipe the bowling ball off. This type of towel gets the oil off of the surface of the ball, without scratching the coverstock or leaving marks.

Secondly, you should take a USBC approved bowling ball cleaner with you in your bowling bag, and use it to thoroughly clean your bowling equipment IMMEDIATELY after you are done bowling, before you get home. I can not stress enough the importance of getting the lane oil and dirt out of the coverstock as soon as possible, as with the porous coverstocks on resin bowling equipment, it takes no time at all for the oil to “soak” into the cover and stay in the ball. This causes loss of hooking action, and possibly premature ball death due to it being contaminated with lane oil deep in the coverstock. By simply cleaning the ball as soon as you are done, you have a very good chance of removing most of the oil from the outer surface of the ball, before it has a chance to soak in and cause long-term damage to your bowling equipment.

Lastly, invest in a ball carrier to put each of your bowling balls in before you put them in your bowling bag. These carriers are fairly cheap (in the $10 range) but by putting your ball in them, you are protecting it against anything sticking out of your bowling bag that could damage it, as well as protecting it from getting cracked in case you accidently drop it. Also, if you have a locker, it prevents the ball from rolling around and getting scratched up from any rocks or debris in the locker.


Calling it bi-monthly maintenance is a “loose” term, what I mean is the following steps should be taken every 50 games or so (which would be bi-monthly if you bowl twice a week). What I am referring to is giving your ball a hot water bath so that you remove any lane oil that has been soaked into the deeper parts of the coverstock. Using the towel and cleaners works good to get MOST of the oil out of your ball night in and night out, but to get the oil that is missed, you need to do something that can extract the oil out where the cleaner and towel can’t reach. This is where the hot water bath comes in.

First, I recommend you sand your ball down to about a 400 grit surface before putting the ball in any water bath. This can be done with regular 400 grit sandpaper, or a maroon scotch brite pad, or even a 500 abralon pad will suffice. What this does is it opens up the pores of the ball, allowing the oil to escape out when the ball is submerged in the water bath. If you do not have any sandpaper, doing the bath is technically “better than nothing”, but you can always go to your local pro shop and ask them to sand it for you before you do the bath, so doing that would be an option as well.

As far as the actual bath goes, the biggest thing to remember is to make sure the water temp. does not exceed 140 degrees. If your water is hotter than 140 degrees, you run the risk or removing plasticisers in the ball, which will harden the resin and ruin the bowling ball. If you are not sure how hot your water temp. runs, as long as the water is not too hot to put your hand in for an extended period of time, that should suffice for the water bath. Using an actual thermometer is best, but use you head, don’t just “drop” the ball in the water if it is too hot to handle.

When you start running the water, put in a few drops of liquid dish soap (DAWN or equivalent) that will be used ot help break up the lane oil and grease in the coverstock. Fill a bucket up enough so that the ball will be completely submerged below the surface and then place the ball gently in the bucket. Some people like to tape over the finger and thumb holes, but I do not recommend doing this. You are blocking a route of escape for oil and dirt, and the bath does not hurt finger or thumb inserts since it is just water and dish soap. At this point, you let the ball soak for approximately 15 minutes and place on the counter on a towel ot let the remainder of the water drip off of the ball. You will notice an oily/water type mixture on the surface of the ball, especially if it has been a very long time since this process has been done (if ever). Wipe the surface clean using a microfiber towel (or equivalent) until it is dry. If you are seeing this oily mixture on the surface, you need to perform the water bath again, until you no longer see any oil come to the surface of the bowling ball. I would recommend changing the water each time to start fresh, and not have any oil floating around in the water when you re-submerge the ball. Once the ball has only water on the surface (and on oil or dirt), you are done. It may take 2-3 15 minute sessions to get all the oil out, but it is well worth it. Give the ball ample time to dry before use again, I would recommend 24 hours to make sure all the water has gotten out of the coverstock.

Now, once the water bath is complete, you need to take the coverstock of the ball back to whatever the factory finish was on the ball. This will ensure you get the same type of reaction you are used to out of your bowling ball. If you do not have the tools at home to do this, take it to your local pro shop and have them complete the process.


This section is going to deal with a few of the things bowlers should do once a season to their bowling balls to make sure they last long, and perform well. I have covered ways to keep oil out of the ball, but now I will get into what to do when the ball becomes “tracked up” with all the marks from the lanes. When a bowling ball has more than 80-100 games on it, it loses its polish (if it is a polished ball), and also gets a series of grooves in the coverstock form the places that the ball touches the lane consistently. This has an adverse effect on your ball motion, and causes it to not perform at a peak level. The only way to get these grooves out (an re-polish the ball) is with a resurfacing. This will remove the scratches and gouges and get the ball back to like-new performance.

When I resurface bowling balls, I like to take them down to a 220 grit surface, sanding the ball in (4) different directions in a ball spinner. The first two directions are having the finger holes and thumb holes both sit horizontally, parallel with the top of the ball spinner. Once you sand that side of the ball, flip it over 180 degrees to do the other side. Then when you’re done on both of those sides of the bowling ball, position the ball so that the fingers and thumb are on top, pretty much horizontal (perpindicular) to the ball spinner. Sand the ball with the fingers and thumb up, and then turn the ball 180 degrees to sand the other side of the ball. At this point, you are done with the 220 grit (or whatever other grit you might be using). Sand the ball this way for each grit, until you reach the final grit that the ball came in at from the factory. Refer to the bowling ball companies website or sheet that came with the ball to make sure you get the correct final surface for your bowling ball.

Also, if the ball requires a polishing process, polish it in the same (4) directions you sanded the ball in to ensure you are doing things the same way all the time. Refer to the company recommendations for what type of polish to use on your bowling ball to achieve the correct reaction on your bowling ball. If you do not feel comfortable doing this process, which can be very time-consuming, take the ball to your local pro shop and have them complete the process for you. Usually this costs in the $25-40 range, varying from shop to shop and how bad the ball was to begin with for the cost of resurfacing. That is still much cheaper than having to buy a new ball because your old one “died” from lack of proper maintenance.

The last thing I will recommend for yearly maintenance is to change your finger inserts (if you use them) in your ball. Over the course of a season, the inserts become worn out, causing them to feel big or slippery since there is a good chance there is some lane oil and dirt mixed into the rubber inserts. It costs between $5-10 for a new pair from your local pro shop, and should be done at least once a season (probably more if you bowl more than twice per week). When it comes to your thumb, also make sure you change out your thumb tape regularly, because the sweat from your thumb, as well as the oil and dirt from the lane, causes the tape to lose its grip. Those two simple steps can go a long way to making you feel comfortable all the time in your bowling ball.

Well, that is all I have for tips to keep your bowling equipment in tip-top shape, for now anyway. Today’s bowling balls are more aggressive and condition specific than ever, and hopefully with the methods I discussed earlier, you can keep those bowling balls running at peak performance, and able to be used for the right conditions they were intended for. The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own, and do not reflect the opinion of the MSUSBC. Thank you for reading, and feel free to comment on anything you see here, I will try and respond as quickly as possible. I hope you have been able to pull something out of both sections of this post, and have armed yourself with the most useful weapon out on the lanes…..knowledge! Good luck, and good bowling everyone!

James Goulding III
(M.I.S.T. Tournament Manager)

No Matter What Hand You Use…Just Throw The Ball, by James Goulding III

No Matter What Hand You Use…Just Throw The Ball

by James Goulding III

Hello again fellow bowlers, and sorry for the delay in posting.  It was a crazy end to summer and beginning of the new bowling season, so bear with me as I try and get back on track with posting.  This month’s installment was inspired, in part, by some recent comments and activity I have been following on a local level, but its roots are as old as the sport of bowling itself.  I am talking about the age old debate over which hand is easier to use when it comes to bowling, right handed or left handed, and the pitfalls bowlers fall into (mentally) by using this as an excuse for their own bad bowling.  If you ask any number of righties out there, a majority of them would probably say that most lefties have the advantage because they have less traffic, so the shot should stay more stable for a longer period of time.  But, if you ask a group of lefties, they would probably say righties have it easier due to the fact that a team of good right handed bowlers can “set up a lane” by all playing different parts of it with different types and surfaces of equipment so that the shot opens up, and the scores increase as the night goes on.  Which one would be right?  I don’t know, and I have been bowling now for over 20 years, but I will say there is a common theme that I wish all bowlers would follow, and that is to just shut up and throw the ball.

What I am saying is this, bowlers need to stop making excuses, and two of those instances are highlighted in the following:  a) When your opponent bowls well and beats your brains in, and b) When you bowl bad and can’t seem to find a good line, or carry, etc.  I will deal with scenario (a) first, as it is the one that drives me nuts when I hear other bowlers complain about it. 

No matter how much you may not like to lose, it is going to happen at some point, and probably more often than not, even if you are the best of players.  So, get used to it.  I don’t mean you should be praising up everyone who beats you and sound like some care free lunatic running around, but use some common sense and just give your opponent their due when they beat you, that’s all.  To me, there is nothing worse than a sore loser who constantly shows bad sportsmanship, and that can be a stigma that never leaves you no matter how much you try and change it down the road.  Some people will always look at you as a poor sport, so try and create good sportsmanship habits now before its too late.  This relates to the left handed / right handed debate because one of the first excuses that always comes out, if the person that beat you uses the opposite hand as yourself, is that they beat you because they were left handed (or right handed).  This is the ultimate slap in the face to your opponent, as they can not help which hand they use, they are just trying to make the best shots possible, and you are tearing them down just because you think they have it so much “easier” than you do on their side of the lane.  Unless you actually bowl on their side of the lane, you don’t have a clue as to whether that side is easier or harder, so just shut up about it.  It’s a dumb argument, and lame at best.  Why even go there and create drama?  Be a good sport, congratulate your opponent on a good match, and try and bowl better next time out.  The sport of bowling comes down to who can knock down the most pins in any given 10 frames, so you need to find out how to do that better than the person you are bowling against no matter what hand you use to do it, it’s just that simple.  Concentrating less on how they are doing, and why they are doing it, will make you a better bowler, as you have shifted your focus from your opponent back onto your game, and you can make corrections quicker and more accurately this way.  Sounds simple right?  Well it really is when you think about it, and removing yourself from the negative mindset of finding ways to tear down how your opponent beat you, by tearing down your opponent themselves, will allow you to fully reach your potential on and off the lanes as a bowler.

Now, with scenario (b) from above, bowlers will also fall into the trap of blaming carry on losing, whether that be their own bad carry, or complaining that their opponent caught “all the breaks” and carried everything.  This is just sour grapes to be honest, and makes you sound like a 4 year old who couldn’t have a cookie after supper.  Whining, putting, and stomping your feet are all unattractive qualities, but some that far too many bowlers possess, as I have seen over the years.  If you had poor carry, there is a reason for it, plain and simple.  Bowling is a game that can be explained by physics, and if you could not carry strikes on a given day, then there is a scientific reason why it happened, and not just because the bowling gods were not on your side that day.  You need to have the ability to clear your mind of distractions, and find a way to get the ball to carry strikes for you.  The great Pete Weber once told me “there is ALWAYS a line out there, you just have to find it”, and he is 100% right.  There is always a proper way to attack a lane, and it is up to you as a bowler to find the correct way to do it before your opponent does, period.  But, if they figure it out before you, and happen to get dialed in and beat you, that doesn’t mean you should go around telling everyone that he (or she) “got lucky” or that you “couldn’t catch a break”.  No, they figured it out better and faster than you did, so tip your hat to them, and vow to do the same to them the next time you face each other.  This shows good sportsmanship and also shows your opponent that you will be ready the next time you face them since you didn’t make any dumb excuses this time around.  I know as a bowler I never fear the person who whines when I beat them, but I do keep an eye out for the ones who just shake my hand and say great match.  I know those bowlers mean business, and I may have just caught them on an off day, so I better be on my guard next time out.  You see how much more respected you become when you show class and sportsmanship, not only for your opponent, but also for the sport of bowling in general?  Trust me, when your opponent respects you it helps you out because there is a fine line between respect and fear, and if you happen to jump out to a lead on someone and they know you aren’t the type to fold or make excuses, it makes it harder for them to come back and beat you as they know you are a rock out on the lanes.  So, it pays to grind out tough matches and give your opponent their due when they find a line and carry better than you on a given day, because the next time out, if you concentrate on your game and get the focus off of them, it can be you who wins the match with your superior mental game.

In closing, I would just like to say that my term in the beginning of “just shut up and throw the ball” may sound harsh, but I hope that you now understand exactly what I mean by that.  Don’t make excuses on the lanes for poor play, and don’t down grade your opponent based on what hand they throw the ball with, or how they do it.  Just show the same respect you would want them to show you, and you will find much more enjoyment out of the sport of bowling.  None of us can win all the time, and it’s just as important to be a good loser, as it is to be a gracious winner.  Once you master those two parts of the game, then you will truly be a good all around bowler and person on and off the lanes.  Thanks for reading, and remember 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 try to respond as quickly as possible.  Good luck and good bowling everyone!!!

James Goulding III

M.I.S.T. Tournament Director

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!

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, 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.

League Prize Funds – By David Charron

I have bowled in Leagues for the last 30 Years in many different Associations in Numerous States. I have also prepared Prize Fund Proposals for a majority of the leagues I have bowled on. So I pose the question, what makes a good Prize Fund?

First, the rules pertaining to League Prize Funds. Prize Funds should be presented to the league as soon as possible USBC Rules mandate by week 5. Remember a Prize Fund must have the MAJORITY vote in order to be accepted. What this means is that if you have 16 Teams and you distribute 3 Prize Lists, in order to be accepted one must receive at least 9 Votes. Otherwise, you must drop the list(s) with the least votes and re-vote on the 2 Lists which received the most votes.

Now, you’re preparing a list, what should you include. Most leagues in Maine bowl a split season. Halves, Quarters, or even Thirds. For the sake of this discussion we are going to assume your league has 16 teams and bowls a split season in 2 halves. Your prize fund should pay every team based on standings each half. And then pay the top 2 or 4 teams in a roll-off at the end of the year. Additionally you should pay Team Awards for High Series Scratch, High Series Handicap, High Game Scratch, and High Game Handicap. The awards should be of equal value, and you should pay 2 place in each so that half of the teams in this league will get some Team Award Money. Also, you will pay Individual Awards for the same, High Series Scratch, High Series Handicap, High Game Scratch, and High Game Handicap. Again these awards should be of equal Value, except I would pay 3 Places in each, so that 12 different bowlers will get individual Award Money. There will also be awards for High Average 3 Places, and Most Improved 2-3 Places. Finally, let’s talk Point Money. For those of you who don’t know what Point Money is – it is an amount of money that each team will receive for each point it wins during the regular bowling season – not including Roll-Offs. The reason to include Point Money in your prize fund is for 2 very important reasons. First Point Money will give some of the bottom teams a little extra money which is more evenly distributed than your overall league prizes, because there will just not be as much disparity between first and last place monetarily where point money is concerned. For instance is point money is worth $1 per point, then the first place team may get $160 in point money and the last place team is going to get around $75 in point money as opposed to the $600 For first and $100 for last they are also going to get. The second reason is Point Money is easily adjusted to account for variation in Actual Prize Fund Dollars at the end of the year. As you know most leagues have 50/50, which provides a unknown amount to the prize fund, and therefore you could have a “budget Shortfall or Windfall” at the end of the year, which without point money leaves you with a problem of what to do. With Point Money you have a way to easily adjust the point money to the Actual Amount in the Prize Fund at the end of the year.

Let’s Assume your League has 16 Teams and a Prize Fund of $10,000. This is exactly what I would submit for a Prize Fund

Team Place Awards

First Half                          Second Half                         Roll-Offs

1st $ 500.00                  1st $ 500.00                      1st $ 500.00

2nd $ 300.00                2nd $ 300.00                    2nd $ 300.00

3rd $ 200.00                3rd $ 200.00                     3rd $ 200.00

4th $ 175.00                4th $ 175.00                       4th $ 100.00

5th $ 150.00                5th $ 150.00                      

6th $ 125.00                6th $ 125.00

7th $ 100.00               7th $ 100.00

8th $ 100.00               8th $ 100.00

9th $ 75.00                 9th $ 75.00

10th $ 75.00              10th $ 75.00

11th $ 50.00              11th $ 50.00

12th $ 50.00             12th $ 50.00

13th $ 50.00             13th $ 50.00

14th $ 50.00             14th $ 50.00

15th $ 50.00             15th $ 50.00

16th $ 50.00             16th $ 50.00

Team Awards

High Series Scratch – High Game Scratch – High Series Handicap – High Game Handicap

1st $ 150.00  2nd $ 100.00 

Individual Awards

High Series Scratch – High Game Scratch – High Series Handicap – High Game Handicap

1st $ 100.00  2nd $ 60.00  3rd $40.00

High Average

1st $ 125.00  2nd $ 75.00  3rd $50.00

Most Improved

1st $ 75.00  2nd $ 50.00  

Point Money Estimated Point Money $0.82 Approx Per Point $ 2,525.00

Actual Point Money Adjusted to Reflect Actual Total Prize Fund

Total Prize Fund $ 10,000.00  

I hope this post has been thought provoking, I am sure Some bowler would not vote for this prize fund and others would, but it is meant to be the start of topic conversation. Opinions expressed in this post are solely mine and may not reflect the opinions held by MSUSBC. As always your comments and opinions are welcome and encouraged. Please post your responses and thank you for reading the Bowler 2 Bowler Blog. Good luck and good bowling I hope everyone is having a great Start to the Fall League Season. I’m sure I will see you on the Lanes.

Is Your Equipment Legal – By David Charron

Recently my local association had a meeting in which they discussed the need to monitor equipment at both the Local and State level. The argument they made for wanting to do this was a simple one; some members of My Local Association feel that bowlers must be using Illegal Equipment to be able to achieve the scores and accolades of the recent past. This association is considering purchasing an electronic scale for the purpose of weighing equipment prior to any Local Level Sanctioned Tournament and also any State Level Events which are to be held in our Local Association Facilities. I am going to break this down into sections of discussion at this is a very broad and bold statement being made by my local association.

High Averages & Honor Scores

The reason for the fact that scores have gone through the roof is many. But the 2 things that immediately come to mind are lane conditions and technology. The days of the Rubber and Plastic Bowling ball are gone. Hence the new age of very technologically advanced equipment, this makes bowling on “House Conditions” much easier than in years past. This quickly brings me to the second and most important point of the reason why scores are so high, Lane Conditions. Let’s face it the typical house shot for an advanced player is somewhat easy. A very good to excellent bowler can easily find an area of the lane to play, which with their equipment will give them 5-7 boards to hit and still get to the pocket, as when the ball sails to the right it hits the drier boards on the lane which create more hook bringing the ball back to the pocket. Thus more balls in the pocket equal more striking equal higher scores. Unfortunately Lane Conditions are not going to voluntarily be made harder by the Center Management, because the typical bowler in this day and age wants to bowl once a week, never practice, and still maintain what they consider to be a decent or competitive average usually somewhere between 185-205. (Adjust this number depending on the skill level of the player) Don’t get me wrong I know there are still bowlers out there who are trying to improve through practice, but those are few and far between. In some recent years, some centers have elected to make the shot “Tougher”, the general result of this experiment by some proprietors has been met with angry “Customer’s”, and they eventually go back to the “Easy House Shot”. They do not lose bowler’s generally to other centers, because unlike other places there is not a lot of competition for local bowlers in Maine, except in Bangor. What usually happens is bowler’s who get extremely frustrated with these “tougher” conditions quit bowling altogether. Proprietors are in the business to make money, they do so by keeping their customer’s happy, they keep their customer’s happy by giving in to the majority and that majority wants to achieve high scores. So forget about changing the lane conditions anytime soon. If you want to test your skill level on “tougher” conditions, I suggest joining a PBA Experience League, or a Sport League.

Illegal Equipment

Let me first say that if anyone is knowingly using illegal equipment, I am the first in line saying they should be suspended from USBC. I think that Association Members at both the Local and State level should be very careful when suggesting that Bowler’s are using illegal equipment without the proof that they are. Making such statements is not fair to those bowler’s, and they could turn around and sue you for defamation. I do not think that there are an abundance of bowler’s in Maine who are purposefully cheating by using illegally drilled equipment. I think in most cases the illegal things that happen in Maine are centered on what happens during competition (i.e. cleaners, abrasives, powders, etc). I would however agree the idea of routinely checking equipment at Tournaments and after Honor Scores is a good one, because I think there are many reasons for illegal equipment and I also agree that there is some of it out there being used everyday. First, I think there are some people out there drilling equipment who truly do not know what they are doing, and have no idea about the rules when it come to balancing a bowling ball. Second, I think some pro-shops are using old un-calibrated equipment for weighing bowling balls. Third, I think there are guys out there who are willing to do anything to make their Customer happy, with no regard for the rules. But still in most of these cases I don’t think the bowler even knows the ball they just purchased is drilled illegally. In our current culture they would never know unless they went to nationals. I know of 3 or 4 Bowlers who recently went to nationals only to find out that their Equipment was drilled illegally, in some instances so bad that they could not be fixed without a complete plug and re-drill. If you care about your equipment, I suggest you pick a very reputable shop to have your equipment done, ask questions, make sure you understand how your equipment is going to be drilled, once you find that Pro Shop stick with it. I have been going to the same place to get my equipment for over 10 Years, I have been to numerous USBC National Tournaments and never have I had a ball rejected. At the bottom of this article you will find some of the Specifications as outlines in the Equipment Specification Manual provided by USBC. There is also a Link to the full manual below.

Local and State Level Events Weighing Equipment

As I stated previously, it is a great idea to weigh equipment both before Tournament Competition and also after Honor Scores are achieved, with a few stipulations. Phase this program into place; don’t just throw it in place. Maybe even provide it as a voluntary project the first couple of years. In order to have every bowler go through a weigh station prior to bowling would require bowler to arrive at least 1 hour before a scheduled squad start time, it’s hard enough to get bowlers to arrive more than 5 minutes before the start of a squad. By phasing it in you give the bowlers the opportunity to get used to it, and understand it before throwing it at them. Remember a lot of bowers don’t even have a clear understanding of the rules, or what a weight hole, side weigh, finger weight, or top weight is. Consistency is going to be paramount here, if someone thinks a ball is out of balance it should be checked, double, and triple checked before the determination is made. At Nationals, a ball goes on an electronic scale, if it is slightly above the tolerance levels it is then sent over to a second more advanced scale system, which more accurately finds the specs of the ball. My concern is that the Local Association is going to buy a used electronic scale much like the first one used at Nationals. But will not have access to the more advanced version should something be close at initial weighing. The other concern I have is those individuals who will be responsible for conducting the weighing, how well trained will they be, if you have Pro Shop operators out there who can’t find the center lines of a grip, and are producing illegal equipment how well versed are these individuals who are going to be charged with the process going to be. While phasing this in, I think there should be a list of Balls, Bowlers, and where they were drilled kept on file which brings me to the next point

Pro Shops & Pro Shop Operators

I think that their should be an organization formed perhaps overseen by the State Assocaiton to come up with a program for accrediting Pro Shops in the state who meet or exceed certain benchmarks while doing this program of weighing equipment. See notes above about finding a reputable pro shop, our State Association is suppose to be here for the bowler’s. Something like this would be helpful to those bowler’s in our state who are looking for a pro shop. The cost for this would be very minimal, a list on a website, and a paper certificate which the Pro Shop Proprietor could display.

Bowling Ball Specifications


 The weight of the ball shall not exceed 16.00 pounds. There is no minimum weight.


 1. The surface hardness of bowling balls shall not be less than 72 durometer D at room temperature (68 – 78 degrees F).

2. The use of chemicals, solvents or other methods to change the hardness of the surface of the ball after it is manufactured is prohibited.

Circumference and Diameter:

A bowling ball shall not have a circumference of more than 27.002 inches (diameter of 8.595 inches) nor less than 26.704 inches (diameter of 8.500 inches).


A bowling ball shall be spherical and shall not be out of round by more than 0.010 inches.

Radius of Gyration:

The radius of gyration of a 13.00 lb. or more bowling ball, about any axis, shall not be less than 2.430 inches nor more than 2.800 inches. In addition, the maximum differential radius of gyration between any two axes of the same ball shall not exceed 0.060 inches. These shall be tested in accordance with an USBC approved test procedure (see Appendix C).


Each ball must be uniquely identifiable by the following: 1. Brand Name/Logo 2. Ball Name 3. Individual Serial Number 4. USBC Star logo (examples at right)

Center of Gravity (CG) Marking Location:

The center of gravity (CG) of an un-drilled ball must be clearly identifiable by a unique mark or indicator.

Coefficient of Restitution:

The coefficient of restitution of a 13.00 lb. or more bowling ball shall not be less than 0.650 nor greater than 0.750 when tested in accordance with an USBC approved test procedure (see Appendix D). Coefficient of Friction: The coefficient of friction of a 13.00 lb or more bowling ball shall not exceed 0.320 when tested in accordance with an USBC approved test procedure at a relative humidity of between 30% and 50% (see Appendix E). The ball may be tested anywhere between 320 grit to 3000 polish.


The following limitations shall govern the drilling of holes in the ball:

1. Holes or indentations for gripping purposes shall not exceed five (5) and shall be limited to one for each finger and one for the thumb, all for the same hand. The player is not required to use all the holes in any specific delivery, but they must be able to demonstrate, with the same hand, that each hole can be used simultaneously for gripping purposes. Any hole that cannot be reasonably shown to be used with a single hand would be classified as a balance hole.

2. One hole for balance purposes not to exceed 1-1/4 inch diameter.

3. No more than one vent hole to each finger and/or thumb hole not to exceed 1/4 inch in diameter. This hole may not exceed 1/4 inch at any point through the depth of the hole.

4. One mill hole for inspection purposes not to exceed 5/8 inch in diameter and 1/8 inch in depth.


The following tolerances shall be permissible in the balance of a bowling ball used in certified competition:

10.01 pounds or more:

a. Not more than 3 ounces difference between top half of the ball (finger hole side) and the bottom half (side opposite the finger holes).

b. Not more than 1 ounce difference between the sides to the right and left of the finger holes or between the sides in front and back of the finger holes.

c. A ball drilled without a thumb hole may not have more than 1 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.

d. A ball drilled without any finger holes or indentations, may not have more than 1 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.

e. A ball used without any hole or indentations may not have more than 1 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.

For a ball weighing 10.0 pounds to 8.0 pounds:

a. Not more than 2 ounces difference between top half of the ball (finger hole side) and the bottom half (side opposite the finger holes).

b. Not more than 3/4 ounce difference between the sides to the right and left of the finger holes or between the sides in front and back of the finger holes.

c. A ball drilled without a thumb hole may not have more than 3/4 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.

d. A ball drilled without any finger holes or indentations, may not have more than 3/4 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.

e. A ball used without any hole or indentations may not have more than 3/4 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.

Less than 8.0 pounds:

a. Not more than 3/4 ounce difference between the top half of the ball (finger hole side) and the bottom half (side opposite the finger holes).

b. Not more than 3/4 ounce difference between the sides to the right and left of the finger holes or between the sides in front and back of the finger holes.

c. A ball drilled without a thumb hole may not have more than 3/4 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.

d. A ball drilled without any finger holes or indentations, may not have more than 3/4 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.

e. A ball used without any hole or indentations may not have more than 3/4 ounce difference between any two halves of the ball.



I hope this information has been helpful and informative.  Opinions expressed in this post are solely mine and may not reflect the opinions held by MSUSBC. As always your comments and opinions are welcome and encouraged. Please post your responses and thank you for reading the Bowler 2 Bowler Blog. Hope everyone is gearing up for another great season of Bowling.

USBC Award Changes for 2009-2010 by Ed Cotter

USBC Award Changes for 2009-2010 by Ed Cotter

So much for writing twice a month during the summer. This blog as going to be about new opportunities for USBC members. Instead, I’d like to highlight the recently implemented award changes for the upcoming (2009-2010) season.

USBC embers, youth and dult, will notice that the traditional 80, 100, 120, 140, 160, and 180 game awards have been replaced with 125, 150, and 175 game awards. two others, 225 and 275 game awards have been added to the list. With these game award changes, there are new average limits to be considered for earning the awards.

The series awards have changed also. The 200 series, youth and adult, has been dropped. For the youth, series awards now include 50 pin increments. 350, 450, 550, 650, and 750 series awards have been added. For adults, the 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 series awards remain. Both youth and adults have new average limits to consider for earning a series award. One example is an adult could earn a 700 series if their average was 210 or below. Now the average limit for the 700 series is 190 and below.

The ‘once in a lifetime’ has not been implemented yet and remains highly debated.

The honor score, (11 in a row, 300 game, and 800 series), awards for adults remain unchanged. Youth this season (2009-2010) will now be eligible for rings for their honor versus last season’s (2008-2009) medallion.

There are two new award programs, Bowlopolis (youth) and PBA Experience (adult). Bowlopolis is geared towards lower average youth bowlers. PBA Experience is being recognized as it’s own entity versus an option within the Sport Bowling framework.

Only time will tell if USBC has taken the right steps in their awards restructure. I encourage everyone to provide feedback (good and or bad) to this blog, to your association board, and to USBC. Any comments left on this blog will be forwarded to our state association board and USBC.

As always, good luck and good bowling!!!

Single Pins, Near Perfection or Disaster – part 3 by Ed Cotter

Single Pins, Near Perfection or Disaster – part 3 by Ed Cotter

My apologies for taking so long to post the last installment.  End of winter season and start of summer season put me behind the 8-ball.  I’ll try to post at least twice a month during the summer.  There are a lot of changes coming and some golden opportunities for bowlers.  That will be in the next blog.

The last installment focuses on angle adjustments to the pocket.  This is going to be the hardest set of adjustments for most bowlers to master.  The required adjustments mean moving out of your comfort zone.  You may need to stand in another spot, focus on a different mark/target, and or change your release.  This won’t be easy, changing never is.  I’m writing about it and understand the principles, but still struggle with application of the knowledge.  The biggest handicap is not trusting that you made a good shot and make the necessary adjustments.  This is where warm-up, stretching and practice, are very important to getting you started on a good night of bowling.  How many times have you made the right adjustment in the 7th frame only to wish you had made it in the 3rd frame?  Welcome to the making the right adjustment to late support group.

What I’m going to explain should not be attempted without practicing first.  I have two sons that attack angle adjustments in different ways.  One does the newer thought process of changing balls based on lane conditions and other bowlers’ ball paths, that way he doesn’t have to change his approach to throw a good ball.  The other is more of a traditionalist.  He uses speed and hand positions to change the ball’s angle of entry.  Ball changing is the norm and stressed by most coaching systems.  Bowlers are taught how to develop 4, 6, and 8 ball arsenals.  This is unrealistic for new bowlers.  Using speed and hand positions can be challenging to instruct and just as challenging to learn.  I’m going to attempt to make it understandable.

First the optimum angle for a strike is 6-7 degrees.  Less than 6 degrees, the ball tends to deflect straight back.  Greater than 7 degrees, the ball tends to drive straight through and not deflect as needed.  You can change your pocket angle by making parallel or staggered targeting adjustments.  Parallel adjustments are moving where you stand and your ball target the same number of boards in the same direction.  Staggered adjustments are moving where you stand and or your ball target a different number of boards.   If your ball is hitting the pocket too steep (less than 6 degrees) you may want to move where you stand and your target the same number of boards towards the channel (a.k.a. the gutter) on your ball side.  This will allow the ball a little more time on the backend to build up directional momentum for a strong pocket hit.  Depending on comfort, you could stagger your adjustments.  Move the ball target towards the channel on your ball side or move your standing spot towards the channel on your non-ball side.  This will increase the angle your ball will take to hit the pocket.

Another way is to change your axis tilt.  The axis tilt is an imaginary pole that runs through your ball that runs perpendicular to your bowling hand/arm while holding your ball.  Making this kind of adjustment will definitely take some practice to master.  Be patient.  Mastery will not occur over night.  The best way to master this adjustment is to have another person help you and or video tape your release.  I’ll try to explain the concept.  Stand near the edge of a carpet (like it was a foul line.  Place a ruler in the palm of your hand and close your hand around it.  Looking down your arm at the ruler, match it up to the edge of the carpet.  This position is 0 degrees of axis tilt.  Remember this position, it’s the best tilt release for picking up your corner pin nemesis.  Using an imaginary clock face, turn the pinky side of your hand towards your body.  Stop when the ruler is at the 2 o’clock/8 o’clock position.  This will be about 30 degrees of axis tilt.  This will give your ball a little more traction when it enters the lane backend.   Turn the ruler some more in the same direction as before.  Stop at the 1:30 o’clock/7:30 o’clock position.  This will be about 45 degrees of axis tilt.  This is, for most bowlers, the maximum amount of axis tilt you’ll want to attempt.  Anymore and your ball will slide more than it will roll, unless you have a high ball revolution rate.

These are only a couple of many adjustments that can be made to change the ball angle into the pocket.  You’ll notice I didn’t specify how many boards to move and where to stand.  I didn’t because there is no magic formula that will work for every bowler.  Every bowler would have to bowl the same way in order to come up with that type of formula.  This isn’t the case.  Every bowler’s style is uniquely theirs, no matter how hard they try to copy someone else.  The best advice for mastering these adjustments is to find a coach or a bowler you trust.  Another set of eyes will be a little more honest than you trying to feel your way through it.

As always, Good Luck and Good Bowling!!

Tournament Prize Funds – By David Charron

I have bowled in many Local and State Association Tournaments and also have seen the prize fund list of many of the Tournaments which I did not compete in and I must say the differences in Prize Fund Distribution from Tournament to Tournament is very troublesome to me. Now what I mean by this is not that I feel not enough of the Entry Fee is being paid out (We all know how much of our entry fee is going into the prize fund before we enter), or that not all of the Prize Fund is being paid out (USBC Rules Mandate that every single penny that is collected as Prize Fund must be paid out), I am simply talking about the way in which a prize list is determined and the actual prize fund dollars.

Prize Funds should not be overly top heavy and they should not be overly bottom heavy. What I mean by that is this, let’s say you have 100 Entries in a Tournament and you are going to pay 10 Places and your entry fee is $25.00 and you have $15.00 going into the prize fund for each entry. You have a total of $1,500 in your prize fund.  The 2 Prize Funds below represent both a prize fund which is top heavy (Left) and one which is Bottom Heavy (Right).

 1st        $660.00           44.00%                        1st        $190.00           12.67%

2nd       $330.00           22.00%                        2nd       $180.00           12.00%

3rd        $165.00           11.00%                         3rd        $170.00           11.33%

4th        $  97.50             6.50%                         4th        $160.00           10.67%

5th        $  60.00             4.00%                        5th        $150.00           10.00%

6th        $  45.00             3.00%                        6th        $140.00             9.33%

7th        $  41.25             2.75%                         7th        $135.00             9.00%

8th        $  37.50             2.50%                         8th        $130.00             8.67%

9th        $  33.75             2.25%                          9th        $125.00             8.33%

10th     $  30.00             2.00%                        10th      $120.00             8.00%

Now I will show a couple of examples proper prize fund for this fictional Tournament. Both would be considered acceptable when compared to the above Tournament Prize Funds.

 1st        $375.00           25.00%                       1st         $360.00           24.00%

2nd       $285.00           19.00%                        2nd       $265.00           17.67%

3rd        $210.00           14.00%                       3rd        $195.00           13.00%

4th        $150.00           10.00%                       4th        $140.00             9.33%

5th        $105.00             7.00%                       5th        $120.00             8.00%

6th        $  90.00             6.00%                        6th        $100.00            6.67%

7th        $  82.50             5.50%                         7th        $  90.00            6.00%

8th        $  75.00             5.00%                        8th        $  82.00             5.47%

9th        $  67.50             4.50%                         9th        $  76.00             5.07%

10th      $  60.00             4.00%                       10th      $  72.00             4.80%

There have been some recent Tournaments which come to mind which have less than desirable Prize Funds. For Instance in this most Recent Women’s State Tournament the Prize Fund for Singles was the following

1st        $  52.00                                   12th      $  28.00          

2nd      $  50.00                                   13th      $  25.50          

3rd       $  45.00                                   13th      $  25.50          

4th       $  42.00                                   15th      $  23.00          

5th       $  41.00                                   16th      $  21.00          

6th       $  39.00                                   17th      $  19.00          

7th       $  37.00                                  18th      $  16.50          

8th       $  35.00                                   18th      $  16.50          

9th       $  33.00                                   20th     $  14.00          

10th     $  32.00                                  21st       $    6.00          

11th      $  30.00                                  21st       $    6.00          

This is a prime example of a Prize Fund which is bottom heavy. The person who WON this event got $20 more than the Person who finished 10th.  The same was true for the All-Events in this tournament the Person Who WON All-Events got $12 more than the person who Finished 10th. There was a Men’s State Tournament in Lewiston Some time ago which had a similar Prize Fund, If I remember correclty the First Place Doubles Team paid like $175 and each place dropped $3 from there.

I would like to propose that the State Association take a lead role in preparing a Tournament Prize Fund guide that should be used by all Local and State Level Events so that we can have fairness and consistency in Prize Funds in the Tournaments we bowl in. Prize Funds in our Local and State Events should find a balance between Payouts for those who WIN Events and those who participate numerous times and “Cash” Frequently. This is what a fairly administrated Prize Fund is supposed to do.

This post is meant to be thought provoking, I am sure it will be unpopular with some bowlers. As always your comments and opinions are welcome and encouraged. Please post your responses and thank you for reading the Bowler 2 Bowler Blog. Good luck and good bowling I hope everyone is having a great Tournament Season. If your done bowling until September, Have a Great Summer.