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New League Season Means Inventory Time: by James Goulding III

New League Season Means Inventory Time

by James Goulding III


Sorry about my lack of posting lately, things have been very busy at home and work, but I will try and make sure I start posting on a more frequent basis from now on.

As we approach a brand new fall league season in another month or so, I find it appropriate to discuss inventorying what is in your bowling bag, to help make sure you’re not stuck missing something at the wrong time when league comes.  I will break this down into three categories: bowling balls, shoes, and accessories.


I can get very technical about layouts, weights, etc., but I will keep the discussion as lamen as possible as it pertains to bowling balls in your bag.  Every bowler should have a 4-ball arsenal at their disposal to combat most conditions in a given league night (I suggest bowlers carry an 8 ball tournament arsenal, but that’s a topic for another day).  Here are the  four general categories to look for in a league arsenal:

1) High flaring, low rg., med to high diff., 2-3.5″ pin (preferably pin under), dull surface (1000 abralon or less) resin (or particle) bowling ball.  This will be your “heavy oiler” in the bag.  This ball will not get a lot of play, but when you need to use it, then you REALLY need to use it.  Pull this ball out on a flood, or when the carry down permits, you should be able to move into the lane and “open up” the oil line.

2) Medium flaring, med. rg., med. to high diff., 3.5-4.5″ pin, high sand (2000-4000 abralon) or lightly buffed surface (rough buff or equivalent) resin bowling ball.  This ball will be your “benchmark” ball, which means it can be played on the widest variety of league conditions.  You can play this ball straighter when there is more oil, or hook it a decent amount when they dry out a little.  This ball will help you determine where and when you use the other balls in your arsenal.  This is THE most important ball in your bag, so make sure it is a very good fit for your game.

3) Low flaring, medium to high rg, med. to low diff., 4.5-5.5″ pin (preferably pin over), polished or pearlized resin cover stock.  This will be your dry lane / light oil bowling ball.  When you find that your “benchmark” ball is checking up early, you can pull this piece out and continue to play a similar line to where you were playing with your previous ball.  This ball will get adequate play in your arsenal (especially if you are right handed), due to the fact that modern bowling balls tear apart the lanes rather quickly, and the shot tends to go away quicker.

4) Very low flaring (if any), high rg., low diff., polyester or pearlized urethane bowling ball.  This will primarily be your “spare” ball to shoot straight down the lane at spares, but it can also serve as a strike ball if the lane conditions become so torn up that your “dry” lane ball is hooking too much for you. 

That covers the bowling ball segment in a nutshell, so let’s move onto the next part of your bag, and that is shoes.


There are so many different brands and types of shoes out there, I am going to focus on a few key things that bowlers should look for in a good pair of bowling shoes:

1) Durability.  You want a pair of bowling shoes that can last you a couple of seasons, so going to K-Mart to buy a $15 pair of bowling shoes is probably not the wisest choice for the serious bowler.  Those shoes are made for recreational bowlers who go bowling a few times a year and don’t want to rent house shoes, not for league bowlers who put a lot of miles on a pair of shoes every bowling season.  Basically, shoes that go in the 75 – 150 dollar range from your local pro shop will suffice, but always make sure you ask a qualified pro shop operator their advice before you purchase a pair of shoes.

2) Comfort.  I can not stress enough the need for a comfprtable pair of bowling shoes.  Make sure you find a pair that fit your feet well, or it will be a long bowling season, and an uncomfortable one at that.  Most shoe companies make “wide” versions and half-sizes so finding a comfortable pair of bowling shoes shouldn’t be a problem.

3) Interchangeable Heels / Soles.  I recommend that bowlers at least explore using a shoe that has an interchangeable sole system to combat changing approach surfaces as weather changes, and finding a shoe with changeable heels as well, is even better.  As weather changes, so do approaches, and having the ability to peel off one sole and stick on another with more or less slide capability can save damage to your knee and ankle from sticking or slipping too much, and also give you confidence that you don’t have to carry around illegal products such as EZ-slide and mess up the approach for every other bowler.  You can simply slap on another heel/sole combo and away you go.

That covers the shoe segment, and that leaves our last thing to inventory in your bag, and that is the accessories that we all need to carry to league to help get us through those nights when things might be going wrong due to injury, swollen hand, etc.


1 ) Shoe Brush

2 ) Box of 1″ white bowler’s tape

3 ) Box of 1″ black bowler’s tape

4 ) Tape insert tool

5 ) Hand held rosin bag

6 ) Bottle of new skin to repair blisters, cuts, etc.

7 ) Extra set of finger inserts (if applicable)

8 ) Bottle of super glue or krazy glue

9 ) Large towel for wiping down bowling ball, hands, etc.

10 ) Bag of slide soles / heels (if applicable) for your bowling shoes

11 ) Exacto knife or other small razor blade type of knife.

12 ) Bag of hand conditioner for extra grip

13 ) Knee and / or ankle brace

Well, that covers just about everything you could possible need in your bowling bag on a given league night.  Making sure that you do a complete rundown and inventory of all the above items will allow you to be prepared for any and all circumstances that may arise on your league night.  Feel free to comment about anything I have written, and as always, new ideas and suggestions are always welcome.  Thank you for reading the blog, and enjoy the rest of the summer.  The fall and league bowling will be here before you know it!!!

-James Goulding III