Tag 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)




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



USBC Annual Fees: A Raging Debate by James Goulding III

USBC Annual Fees: A Raging Debate

by James Goulding III

Welcome again everyone to another blog installment on bowler-2-bowler.  I have been thinking about this subject ever since reading (and blogging about) the USBC annual meeting back in May.  At the meeting, there was a proposal that the annual USBC dues that every sanctioned bowler pays should go from the $10 yearly that it currently is, to a fee of $15.  This is the national amount, not including whatever your local association charges on top of the USBC amount.  This proposal was voted down, so the national USBC dues will continue to be $10 for the 2010 – 2011 bowling season.  Many people have varied, and sometimes very passionate, feelings on the USBC and the amount they charge for yearly fees, some good and others not so good.  For this reason, I have decided to weigh in with my very own feelings on the subject, and also try to propose my own solutions that could appease the many differing opinions on the debate about what USBC should charge bowlers on a yearly basis.

First off, I think I need to classify bowlers into (4) different categories, so that anybody reading this can see why it is so difficult for the USBC to please every bowler with the decisions they make.  Here are the (4) categories I have come up describing bowlers as it pertains to USBC and their dues program:

1) These bowlers are the ones who bowl every season and rarely will ever challenge for an honor score in their lifetime.  But, as it pertains to USBC dues, while they might complain they pay too much, these bowlers actually have somewhat of a valid point because the only service the USBC offers them is sanctioned lane conditions.  It’s not like they are going to be soaking the USBC for the cost of a 300 ring every season, so going up on dues will not sit well with this crowd.  I think the USBC knows this represents a major faction of bowlers out there, and they do not want to risk losing a ton of members by going up on dues, so to appease this crowd, they cut back on the available awards and keep the costs the same.

2)  These bowlers are the ones who constantly complain that dues are too high, even though they have the ability to grab multiple honor scores every  year.  The cost of (1) plaque that the USBC gives the bowler in this group costs them more than double the dues for a season, but these type of bowlers still complain that they should get more awards and at a cheaper rate.  Easy house shots have inflated their egos to the point that they lose all rational thought process when it comes to the amount of money it takes for the USBC to produce the awards for which they seek.  This is a relatively small percentage of bowlers, but a significant enough amount that the USBC had to scale back the awards program because they were going to go bankrupt if they kept giving away awards basically for free.  There is no way the USBC can ever truly please these bowlers, no matter what they charge or the awards that they offer on a yearly basis.  You never want to be lumped into this category if you are a bowler, and if you are in this category, please feel free to change your ways and exit at any time.

3)  These bowlers are happy with the current awards system, and will contend for USBC awards on a regular basis.  These bowlers may think that the USBC dues are a little high, but they don’t put up a stink about it.  These bowlers put their faith in the USBC that they make the best decisions for the sport of bowling, and even if the dues go up, they will pay to play.  There are a small number in this category, so the USBC doesn’t cater to them or their needs (per se), and will make decisions not based on the wants or needs of this group specifically, but will cover this group most of the time when they make decisions about the sport of bowling.

4)  This is the smallest group, but one that I fashion myself to be in.  This group will bowl and pay the USBC dues no matter what the cost.  This group feels that the recognition of an achievement is more significant than the ring or plaque that describes it.  The USBC could charge $40 a year for dues, and this group would pay, because they love the sport of bowling, and will do whatever it takes to make sure they continue doing it.  The USBC could eliminate the awards program altogether, but as long as they still recognize personal accomplishments on a national level (and database), then this group will not complain about it.  Unfortunately, this group is small in number, so it is hard for them to get their voices heard over the roar of the other groups who are in the USBC’s earshot.

Those are the (4) groups I think cover most bowlers out there as they pertain to USBC dues.  I personally have no problem with the USBC scaling back the awards program (like they have done now) and keep costs in line at $10 a year.  They are a business, after all, and if they do not generate sufficient funds to stay afloat, then there will be NO MORE awards for bowlers, because the USBC won’t be around to give them anymore. 

I get frustrated when I hear bowlers whine and complain that they are giving the USBC their money and getting nothing back in return.  That is the biggest load off poo I have ever heard.  For starters, IT’S ONLY $10 A YEAR!!!!!  Many bowlers complain like they have to pay $1,000 a year to bowl in a sanctioned league.  Of course these same bowlers will go out and spend over $500 for a couple of new bowling balls to try to achieve the awards that they complain are too expensive at a $10 fee once a year, so there is quite a bit of irony in there I think.  I guess some people think that the USBC has a stash of plaques, patches, and rings, and they are all FREE to produce for the USBC.  Well, let me tell you, it costs money for them to give out these awards, and paying a measly $10 is peanuts compared to what bowlers probably SHOULD pay to compete in USBC sanctioned leagues.

I would also be fine with the USBC telling bowlers they have to go up on dues from say $10 to $15.  But, and let me stress this, the USBC should do some research before a rate hike, and sell it to the bowlers.  I think they should do a cost analysis and see what they would need to charge to bring back some of the awards they eliminated, and still keep the quality of awards they have now, and give that final total to bowlers and let them know exactly what is going on and why.  Remember, the biggest group of bowlers are the ones who win the least amount of awards, so a rate hike would need to fly with this crowd for the USBC to stay viable.  So, by explaining to everyone that the cost increase for dues is to solely expand the awards program for ALL bowlers, the USBC might get away with a rate hike and not lose too many bowlers in the process (I still think it would be crazy to quit bowling just because you don’t want to pay a one time $10 or $15 fee once a year, but hey, that’s just my opinion).

I just feel like many bowlers don’t realize that their $10 they give the USBC each year isn’t just for awards.  They offer bowlers the opportunity to bowl on sanctioned lane conditions, ensuring that any and all scores you throw are legitimate.  Also, they require each bowling center to pass an annual inspection covering all aspects of the game, from lanes to pins, and approaches to pin decks.  This way, bowlers can compete against one another on a level playing field night in and night out.  The USBC also provides coaching classes, so that bowlers have certified coaches available in their area to help improve their bowling game(s).  Also, the USBC has a state of the art research and development facility to stay on the cutting edge of bowling technology, and to ensure that the playing rules accurately reflect the changing landscape of the sport of bowling.  The USBC rulebook gives leagues and tournaments guidelines to follow so that all competition is conducted in as fair of a manner as possible.  If you felt your $10 was too much at the beginning of this blog post, do you still feel that way after reading all the different services that the USBC provides?

I am not saying the USBC is perfect, but I think that for what they charge, they get the most out of our money on an annual basis.  I would be fine with paying double or triple the amount we currently pay, but I also realize that the USBC would lose many members if they did that, so I just try to let people know that their $10 can only go so far as it pertains to the awards program the USBC provides.  I do have a few possible solutions that the USBC could implement, or at least bring up for discussion at the next annual meeting, as it pertains to the amount they should charge bowlers to sanction.  Here are a few of my ideas:

1)  Set a base price for all new bowlers who have never received a USBC award before.  Say that price is $10 for example.  Well, if you achieve say (2) awards during the season, the following year you would pay an additional fee depending on the amount of awards you won.  Maybe that fee could go up by $3 for each award you get.  So, if you won (2) awards the year before, your sanction dues for the following season would be $16, instead of $10.  This type of sliding scale doesn’t penalize those who do not achieve honor scores, and passes the extra cost onto those who want the awards from USBC, and the bowlers who also achieve those awards from USBC.

2)  Give bowlers three different cost options when they sanction with the USBC.  The first, and cheapest, option is to pay for basic USBC services minus the awards program.  You would only pay something in the range of $10 like it is now, you would get recognition of your achievement in the USBC’s database, but not receive any actual award from the USBC for what you accomplish.  The second option would be an upgraded $15 annual fee, and that entitles you to the current awards system that is in place.  You get (1) of each type of award per season, all the benefits of USBC sanctioning, a subscription to US Bowler magazine, and basically keep things the way they are in the current system.  The last option would be an upgraded $20 sanctioning, and that gets you (2) of any award, a subscription to US Bowler magazine, first choice of bowling dates and times for the USBC National Tournament over the $10 or $15 crowd, and all the other benefits that USBC sanctioning has to offer.  I am just guessing at the costs of all of these options, but I think that some sort of tiered system would be a viable way for the USBC to make all types of bowlers happy, from the ones who could care less about awards, all the way to the ones who live to collect plaques and patches.

In closing, I would like to say that the debate over what the USBC charges for sanctioning is far from over.  I have just tried to shed some light on the subject, and make bowlers think about where that $10 goes that they give to the USBC every season.  $10 is a small amount to pay for the peace of mind that there is a governing body trying to make the playing field as level and competitive as possible, while still giving awards back to the bowlers who achieve great things on the lanes that they sanction.  I would give my $10 a year to the USBC just for that, even if they eliminated the awards program altogether.  As long as they keep a national database so that I can look up what I have achieved over the years, then the rest is just gravy.  Actually achieving a 300 or 800 (for example), and having that out there for the world to see, means more than some ring or plaque that will sit in my house will ever mean.  Knowing that what I achieve is legitimate and on a fair playing surface is reason enough for me to sanction with USBC every season, in every league and tournament, no matter what the cost may be.  As always, the opinion expressed in this blog are my own, and in no way reflect those of the Maine State USBC, or any of its members.  Thank you for reading, and please feel free to comment on anything you read, and I will try and respond ASAP.  Good luck, and good bowling everyone!




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!





Highlights and Rules Changes from 2010 USBC Annual Meeting by James Goulding III

Highlights and Rules Changes from 2010 USBC Annual Meeting

by James Goulding III

Hello fellow bowlers!  Here I am again blogging just after midnight EST in Maine, and I have many topics running through my head.  One of which was the annual USBC meeting which was just held on May 1, 2010 in Reno, NV.  There are numerous changes that come up for review as it applies to league, tournament, and format rules every season, and most of the time bowlers are only informed of those changes when a violation of a newly adapted rule takes place.  Well, to try to avoid such a situation for the upcoming 2010 – 2011 bowling season, I am going to list the approved rules changes as well as some of the other highlights of the annual meeting, and give a synopsis of my personal view on how some of (if any) of the rules changes may actually affect bowlers out there.

Program Changes

  •  USBC will offer a new credit card partnership with Nationwide that gives card users free USBC national membership and other bowling-related benefits.
  • USBC will put the U.S. Women’s Open on hiatus for 2011.
  • U.S. Bowler magazine will be an electronic-only publication, while U.S. Youth Bowler will continue to be mailed to homes.
  • The 2011 USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships will be broadcast exclusively on BOWL.com.

James’ opinion on the program changes:

Two of the changes I am fine with, which is the new credit card partnership and the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships being broadcast on bowl.com.  But, I do not agree with suspending the U.S. Women’s Open or eliminating the mailing of U.S. Bowler magazine.  I think that there are some great female bowlers out there who have shown that they deserve every benefit the men receive as far as tournament availability goes.  The fact that women like Kelly Kulick can compete with (and beat) the men proves that point.  The USBC will say that women are allowed to bowl in the regular U.S. Open, but, I believe that women having their own U.S. Open was something special, and I do not agree with suspending it at all.  Also, I enjoy the U.S. Bowler magazine.  There are some really good articles, coaching tips, and bowling ball advertisements in the magazine.  I may still check it out online, but I am much more inclined to pick it up and read it if it comes in my mail rather than having to hunt it down on bowl.com, which is not exactly the user-friendliest site out there (in case you haven’t noticed).

League Rules Changes

  • Amendment No. LR2 (Approved)
    Rule 102c. Duties of the President, Item 3
    Requires bank statements to be sent to the president.
  • Amendment No. LR3 (Approved)
    Rule 102f. Duties of the Treasurer, Item 7
    Changes the time frame for retaining treasurer records from 120 days to one year from completion of the season.
  • Amendment No. LR5 (Approved)
    Rule 106a. Series – How Bowled
    Allows for each game or frame to be bowled on a different pair of lanes.
  • Amendment No. LR6 (Approved)
    Rule 111c.
    Gives leagues more flexibility for requesting pre/post bowling.

James opinion on league rules changes:

I am actually fine with all four rules changes for leagues next season.  I think that the LR5 Amendment which allows for each game or frame to be bowled on a different pair of lanes is an interesting change.  This could allow for some really neat alternate format leagues that may swap pairs of lanes each game, making it more like some tournament bowling that I have done, like the USBC Masters, for instance.  It is also good to have treasurer records kept for up to one year, just in case a discrepancy arises and those figures need to be retrieved.  I will be curious to see the exact wording of the pre/post bowling rules change in the new rule book, as it is pretty vague right now.  I am not sure what they mean by “more flexibility” for requesting pre/post bowling.

Tournament Rules Changes

  • Amendment No. TR2 (Approved)
    Rule 319a. Conditions that Apply
    Treats all averages, including summer averages the same.
  • Amendment No. TR6 (Approved)
    Rule 320a. Two Lanes Required
    Allows for each tournament game or frame to be bowled on a different pair of lanes.
  • Amendment No. TR7 (Approved)
    Rule 329. Protests and Appeals
    Changes the time frame for protesting rule infractions to 72 hours and the time frame for appealing tournament management’s decision to 10 days.

James’ opinion on the tournament rules changes:

Now that I am a tournament manager, I have a problem with the wording of Amendment No. TR7, which “changes the time frame for protesting rule infractions to 72 hours and the time frame for appealing tournament management’s decision to 10 days”.  Now, the old rule stated that you had to appeal before tournament prizes are paid out, which is normally 30 days, and now will be 10 days, which I think is fine.  But, for example, the tournament I run is the Maine Invitational Scratch Tournament, and it is a one day tournament where prizes are paid out the same day.  So, that 10 day appeal rule for tournament manager’s decisions doesn’t make sense since we pay out the same day.  The old rule said protests have to be filed by the completion of such a tournament, but there is no mention of that language in the rule amendment.  I am going to reserve final judgement of this until the amendments have been applied fully to the new rule book, but, just try to be aware of this possible change it you either a) have a tournament appeal to make, or b) are a tournament manager taking the appeal from a bowler.

USBC National Bylaws Changes

  • Amendment No. B1 (Approved)
    Article VI, Meetings
    Section A. Annual Meeting, Item 2
    Provides for electronic balloting as the final system used for voting, unless the president determines the circumstances require a different method.

James’ opinion on the national bylaws rules change:

I really don’t have much of an opinion on this one, except that electronic balloting may take some human error out of the equation for voting, which is probably a good thing overall.

Here are a few other interesting tidbits from the annual meeting:

  • Darlene Baker, Mahomet, Ill., was named USBC president at the Annual Meeting. She is the first female president in the history of the organization. Baker will begin her term Aug. 1. The remaining board officers will be announced following the June board meeting.
  • USBC once again generated significant financial support for charity. USBC Bowl For The Cure led to a more than $1.1 million donation to Susan G. Komen For The Cure at the 2010 meeting. Contributions to Bowlers to Veterans Link from USBC were nearly $826,000, an increase of more than $100,000 from the previous year.
  • Creation of a new independent corporation to oversee and manage SMART (Scholarship Management and Accounting Reports for Tenpins) funds. The corporation will have its own board of directors comprised of bowling industry leaders with financial backgrounds.



I have been highlighting approved rules changes, as well giving my personal opinion on each type of change, but there are many more rules changes that were rejected that I did not touch upon.  If you would like to check those out, as well as the official summary from the USBC about the annual meeting, please follow the link below:


The only rejected rule change I will talk about is the one that rejected going up on national and state dues for the USBC.  There was a proposal to go from $10 to $15 on a national level, as well as go from $1 to $2 at the state level, and both were rejected.  This is a change that I agree with, to an extent.  Since the USBC has significantly cut down on the type and number of awards given out, I do feel that freezing dues is in order at this time.  I think bowlers would have a hard time stomaching a dues increase when they are getting less recognition of accomplishments from the USBC.  But, I think it would be better if, overall,  the USBC researched how much of a dues increase it would take to get back some of the awards they have cut back on in recent years, and then went ahead with that proposal, instead of just freezing dues and cutting back on awards.  If that means going from $10 to $15 or so, I think most bowlers would be o.k. with that providing that they get the proper recognition again from the USBC in the form of national awards being expanded once again.  That is my take on it anyway.  I know many bowlers who are upset that such awards as the Big 4 and 7-10 split have been removed, as well as the 299 and 298 rings.  Those are just a few examples, but if the USBC actually listened to the bowlers on this subject, I think they would come to a different conclusion than just freezing dues for another calendar year.

In closing, I would like to say that I have tried to highlight some changes for bowlers to look at, and get familiar with, before the start of the 2010 – 2011 bowling season.  It is always nice to be up to date on the USBC rules manual, because you just never know when an obscure rule you never heard of before ends up changing the course of a night of bowling for you.  As always, the opinions expressed in this blog post are my own, and do not represent those of the MSUSBC or any of its members.  Thank you for reading, and feel free to comment on anything you read in the blog.  I will respond to your questions or comments ASAP, and enjoy the interaction with all of you bowlers out there who care enough to read and post on the blog.  Good luck and good bowling!

James Goulding III

Maine Invitational Scratch Tournament Manager




Leagues & Associations – Why Serve – by David Charron

I have bowled in many different States and in many different Associations within the State of Maine. I have been in every imaginable League Officer Position over the years on various leagues, and recently have become a Board Member on one of my Local Association Boards. There are many bowlers out there who both have been bowling for many years and even some who are very new to the sport of bowling but love it dearly, ask yourself this question, why serve.

For me this answer is easy, I wish for the sport to be on a fair and competitive level and for the rules to be enforced on a consistent basis for all bowlers, all of the time. This is why I have served for many years as a League Officer. Just recently I have made the move into the “politics” of the Local Association Board. Now again for me the answer to why is an easy one, I wish to effect change, I wish to make my Local Association Board be more about the Bowlers it is in place to serve and less about all the other things that make up the “political” side of my local association. The only way I see to effect the change that I feel is so desperately needed is to become involved, now this holds true not only for bowling, but for anything if you really sit and think about it.

Now, I know this opinion is not going to be popular with many people, but it is my opinion. If you are currently a member of you Local or State Association Board, a Committee Member, or a League Officer for any of the following reasons

  • It looks better on your Hall Of Fame Resume
  • You have a Personal Agenda or Personal Vendettas
  • You wish to have Power over your fellow Bowlers
  • Financial Gain – Pay from the League or Board; or other Financial Gain

RESIGN – Resign immediately. You are not serving the Bowler’s, you are serving yourself and frankly that is not what being a League Officer or an Association Board Member is suppose to be about.

Now with that said, these are Voluntary Positions, how do we fill the seats of those who have departed recently, or those with terms that are expiring. Recruit, Recruit, Recruit. If you are a bowler reading this Blog and have always wanted to get involved but didn’t know where to begin. Ask current board members when and where the next board meeting is; you don’t have to be a member to attend these meetings. You will be both surprised and inspired by what goes on during these proceedings. Get involved attend meetings, run for office, become a board member, or even the Member of a Committee (you do not have to be a member of the Board to be on a committee). However with that being said if you are going to serve your fellow bowlers in this capacity, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

  • DON’T become the Secretary / Treasurer of your League only because the position pays for your bowling, or for other financial gain. DO take on this position because you have the skills and ability to do a great job at it, do it right, and provide a valuable service to your league.  
  • DON’T become a League Officer on your League only because you don’t like the rules and want to try to change them for your own benefit or for your team’s benefit. DO run for these positions if you’re doing so to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that all USBC Rules and regulations are applied fairly and evenly to all bowlers on all teams.
  • DON’T chair a Tournament Committee only because there is pay involved, or only because you wish to control certain aspect of the Tournament (Lane Assignment, Who bowls with who, or what lanes they bowl on, Oil Patterns or Oiling Schedule, etc.) DO chair this committee if you have the time, expertise, and organizational skills to run a successful event for all of the bowlers who choose to enter.
  • DON’T chair or become a member of your Association Board or of any committee simply because you wish to control outcomes with your own personal agenda or wage personal vendettas. DO become members of these very important committees because you wish to serve all bowlers in a fair and consistent manner and have the time to do so.
  • DON’T volunteer to do anything for which you do not have the skills or time to do. It does your fellow board or league members no good for you to volunteer your time to do a job and then not do it, only to have others have to pick up the slack at the last minute. This behavior is counterproductive and not in the best interest of the bowlers you wish to serve. DO volunteer as much as you can, without overextending yourself, your service is needed and greatly appreciated.

In Closing, I urge all bowlers who truly care about this sport to become involved. Go to League Meetings; go to Local and State Association Meetings. If you possibly can, run for office (League or Association) volunteer the time and the energy to keep our sport alive. Please do it and do it for the right reason, your local association needs more people to become involved.

Opinions expressed in this post are solely mine and may not reflect the opinions held by MSUSBC or any other Local Association. 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 hopefully I will see all of you on the lanes or even better at your next Local or State Association Meeting.

Bowling: An Olympic “Sport”? by James Goulding III

Bowling:  An Olympic “Sport”?

by James Goulding III

 Hello everyone, and a Happy Valentine’s Day to all.  Watching the opening ceremonies of the winter Olympics the other night got me thinking again about two of the more heated debates that surround bowling.  The first one is, is bowling a game or a sport?  This has been debated many times, but I am going to try to go “by the book” so to speak for my definition of bowling later in this blog entry.  The second heated discussion about bowling centers around the Olympics, and whether or not bowling should be an Olympic event.  I think we first have to come to  solid footing on the first question about bowling being a sport or not, before we can even think about the Olympics as it applies to bowling.  So, I am going to break this down and hopefully come up with some ideas for people to think about when it comes to bowling, it’s standing in the sports community, and the Olympics, all tied up into a blog post.



To delve into this debate, I  enlisted the services of Merriam Webster online at www.merriam-webster.com.  Here is the definition of game: “activity engaged in for diversion or amusement”.  I would say that the argument could certainly be made that bowling most certainly qualifies as a game, at the VERY least.  This holds true for open bowling, and league bowling, but how about the serious tournament bowler who is out to win?  Let me now give you the definition of a sport: ” physical activity engaged in for pleasure”.  The only difference between a sport and a game is that a sport requires “physical” activity, instead of just “activity”.  Now, it does not mention what degree of physical activity is required to call something a sport, only that some form of physical activity is required for a game to be called a sport.  For example, Monopoly is a game, because it requires no physical activity to play, but water polo is a sport because of the physical activity required to play it.  To me, this means that bowling should be called a sport and not a game.  D0es bowling require as much physical activity as, say, playing basketball?  No, of course not, but it DOES require some form of physical activity to throw a bowling ball, and by definition it should be classified as a sport. 

So, now I can get into the Olympic debate.  It would make no sense to even try to classify bowling as a possible Olympic event if you couldn’t even classify it as a sport.  But, if you go by the strict definition of the term “sport”, bowling does qualify, and now I can make the case for it to be included as an Olympic event.



This has been a long debated subject, but to me, up until now bowling should NOT have ever been considered for the Olympics.  I know what you’re going to say, I just made the point that bowling is a sport and not a game, so why am I against it being an Olympic event?  To be honest, bowling isn’t organized enough to become an Olympic event.  Bowling needs three things, in my opinion, to be considered for the Olympics:  A unified governing body for bowling, a standardized set of rules covering the sport, and strict guidelines for lane conditions and bowling ball specifications.  Let me get into each of those three points separately, as each is vital to getting bowling into the Olympics.

The unified governing body for the sport is key to Olympic consideration.  If bowling wants to be taken seriously, then there should be one entity that makes up all the rules, regulations, and awards programs for bowling, so that no matter what continent you bowl on, you can rest assured that you are on a level playing field with someone who may be bowling halfway across the world from you.  This governing body, which I would like to see called the International Bowling Federation, or IBF, can pool together all the different ways the sport of bowling is played in different countries, and come up with guidelines that everyone has to follow.  Now, I would also like to see continental control through smaller sibling organizations to the parent organization, which is the IBF.  There could be the following groups that make sure rules are followed on a more localized level, and report back to the IBF:

North American Bowling Congress (NABC)

Central American Bowling Congress (CABC)

South American Bowling Congress (SABC)

African Nations Bowling Congress (ANBC )

European Bowling Congress (EBC)

Asian  Bowling Congress (ABC)

Australian Regional Bowling Congress (ARBC)

Middle Eastern Bowling Congress (MEBC)

These subsidiaries of the parent IBF would be able to more easily distribute awards, and make sure rules are followed in each region.  You will still have your local associations like you have now, but there would be more strict international guidelines to follow so that if a bowler moves to the United States from Iraq, that person knows they are still bowling under the same rules and regulations they bowled in back in Iraq.  This would be a BIG step forward for bowling as an Olympic sport, as it shows unity and consistency for the sport worldwide, which is key for ALL Olympic sports.

Now that I have covered the governing body, and the need for standardized rules for the sport of bowling, I will show where lane and bowling equipment specifications are the final key to the Olympic puzzle for bowling.  One problem facing bowling throughout the years is that you can bowl in one bowling center, and then move to the next bowling center, and the lane conditions are COMPLETELY different.  Sometimes it is like night and day.  Opponents of Olympic bowling sight this as THE reason bowling will never be an Olympic sport.  It is just too hard to regulate lane conditions.  Maybe so, but there has never been an international body like the IBF that I suggested to oversee the sport of bowling and make sure the local center comply with international guidelines to keep their sanctioned status.  The IBF could expand upon the red, white, and blue oil condition program that the current USBC is trying to implement.  Basically this program has three oil pattern going from easier to more difficult.  The first oil pattern would be used for your recreational bowling, and the second oil pattern would cover all sanctioned league bowling.  The third oil pattern would be for tournament bowling, and would be used everywhere there is sanctioned tournament bowling.  This would show the Olympic community that no matter where you bowl, depending upon what type of bowling you are doing (recreational, league, or tournament), you would always be bowling on the exact same lane conditions as a person doing the same thing on the other side of the planet.  The local and continental associations would be responsible for compliance with the lane condition regulations, and report back to the IBF for final sanctioning of bowling centers, leagues, and tournaments.  If you want to learn more about the current red, white, and blue lane condition program by the USBC, go to www.bowl.com and type in “red, white, and blue” under search, it is very good info, and a good step forward for the sport of bowling.

Lastly, bowling ball specifications and lane inspections would have to fall under a “one size fits all” definition for bowling to be considered an Olympic event.  You can’t have one country allow different ending bowling ball statics, ball hardness, or lane length and width (for example) from another country.  The IBF would have to come up with a blueprint for EVERY country that sanctions with the IBF to follow, or else they lose their sanctioning status.  This is no different than what we do now in the United States with the USBC and their equipment specifications, it would just be amped up on a global scale to cover ALL countries and ALL bowlers who sanction.  If this can get done, there would be no other reason to exclude bowling as an Olympic sport.  Bowling would have a unified governing body, standardized rules for EVERYONE who sanctions, and strict equipment and lane specifications for every sanctioned bowling center to follow.  I have felt that, up to now, bowling should not have been considered for the Olympics.  But, if the sport wants that kind of status, I think the guidelines I have outlined could be done so that bowling is on par with other international sports.  Bowling is the #1 participation sport in the world, it is time we get it recognized for the great sport that it truly is, and get bowling in the Olympics!  Thank you for reading, as always the opinions expressed in this blog are my own, and in no way reflect the opinions of the MSUSBC or any of its members.   Please feel free to comment on anything you read in the blog, and I will make sure I get back to you ASAP, thank you.

-James Goulding III