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Bowling Tips

What Are Bowling Balls Made Of?

Contents

Bowling continues to enjoy immense popularity with over a hundred million people playing the sport around the world. Indeed, this activity has been making people smile for thousands of years. Researchers have discovered that early forms were being played in ancient Egypt, in the Roman Empire, and in the Germanic tribes. The players did not have the benefit of modern equipment and facilities but they were able to make the best of what they had. For example, the Egyptians created balls from grain husks, leather, and string. In some places, people made balls from porcelain or stone.

The development of the contemporary bowling ball can be attributed to the evolution of the sport across the years. In the past, the game was often played outdoors in informal settings. Targets could be on the ground or in an elevated platform. Players used lightweight balls that could be thrown at the targets to knock them out. Since the ball was airborne, they could play on uneven ground without any problems. Eventually, some people thought of creating heavier balls that were meant to be rolled on the ground. This added another dimension to the game but it made playing difficult in wet weather. In the 15th century, roofs were built on top of bowling lanes so players could go at it throughout the year.

This sport was limited to the nobles for quite some time. The lower classes did not have access to bowling lanes except for special occasions like Christmas. However, the peasants were able to enjoy the game using makeshift setups. There really was no stopping the popularity of bowling from spreading. As rules relaxed and more people began to play, the rules became more formal and standardized. The equipment got better in quality as well. Today, the bowling balls are so much more sophisticated than those used in the early days of the sport.

What is Inside a Bowling Ball?

Hard wood was the default material inside balls for the longest time. After all, wood is readily available and easy to wield into any desired shape. Dense types were ideal because of their weight and durability. Makers can one from a single block that has been polished to perfection. However, wood can be quite slippery and thus difficult to control. The early 1900s saw the first rubber balls being used in the bowling lanes. These dominated the sport until the 70s when other materials such as polyester and urethane entered the scene.

Even more fascinating is what’s invisible to the eyes. Many wish to know, “what are bowling balls made of?” But they only consider the outer shell. The inside is actually quite different from the outside. This core is usually heavier than the other layers. While it can also be spherical like the rest of the ball, many variants are asymmetrical as this helps players in making advanced shots with a higher probability of knocking down all the pins. Such designs became prevalent in the 90s. Some cores were elliptical while others resembled lightbulbs. Every company came up with their own unique creations.

How to Make a Bowling Ball

The manufacturing process can be divided into multiple stages. Creation starts from the inner core and goes outward layer by layer. It begins with material being poured into a mold such as liquid resin with heavy minerals. This mixture will be allowed to sit until it hardens such that the solid block can be removed in one piece. Depending on the material and design, additional processing may be necessary. Some blocks are placed inside containers with small moving rocks that help in eliminating seams and other imperfections from the mold. Once cleaned, they are ready to move on to the next part.

The solid weight blocks will then have to be encased in a material shaped like a sphere. Workers will put one block inside each new mold and fill them up with another mixture of resin. What comes out of this process looks more like what you would expect a bowling ball to be. There may be knobs and lines from the molding so these spheres have to be taken to a machine that can remove these unwanted excess materials. The surface will then undergo smoothing in preparation for the next phase.

The third layer will be the final one called the coverstock. This is the hard shell that is visible to the players and comes into contact with the bowling lanes. Its placement means that it will be prone to abuse. Therefore, it must be hard enough to withstand repeated use. However, the hardness of the shell must not compromise its ability to perform. Type of plastics called urethane and reactive resin have been found to be ideal for this purpose. The layer may be one to two inches thick depending on the ball design.

Filling material will then be used to cover the hole where the core pin was. This is usually of a different color than the rest of the coverstock for easy identification. It will later serve a basis for where the finger holes will be drilled. The manufacturer will want to add a logo imprint and add paint to the engraving to make it stand out even more. For the final touches, the ball will be placed on a lathe machine to ensure that it adheres to exact size specifications. It will also go through a sanding belt to achieve the desired texture: matte or glossy finish. Workers will place it in plastic to protect the surface and put it in a box to be ready for shipment.

Brief History of Bowling Ball Models

Different types of bowling balls are available for players. They vary in size, weight, and features. Each major type if often used for a specific kind of bowling. Although they can be used interchangeably, using the correct ball will generally result in better performance. There are standards for each one and a background story on how they came about.

1. Ten-pin Ball

Ten-pin bowling is one of the most popular variants of the sport. The name is derived from the number of pins standing on a triangular pattern at the end of the lane. The ball used is the biggest of all the types available. According to the specifications set by the US Bowling Congress, the diameter should be 8.5 inches or 22 centimeters. The weight should be less than or equal to 16 pounds or about 7.3 kilograms. There are usually three holes: one for the thumb and two other fingers. It is possible to drill more for greater grip and control.

The space occupied by the pins is bigger than the ball so it is not possible to make contact with every single one. Experts suggest the next best thing: hitting from the side to cause a chain reaction that would knock everything down in one go. This is difficult to do especially for beginners who have not yet mastered ball control. Experienced players are able to introduce a hook in their rolls to achieve this feat. The ball design, especially the presence of an asymmetrical core and a reactive resin coverstock, can help players as long as the delivery is correct.

2. Duckpin Ball

Duckpin bowling is said to have originated in Baltimore in the early 1900s. This uses a smaller ball that is only 4.75 inches or 12 cm in diameter. Weight is between 1.5 to 1.7 kilograms. Aside from the obvious differences in physical form from ten-pin balls, another important distinction is the lack of any finger holes. Players are expected to carry this on the palm of their hands with fingers on the surface, then release in one go. It takes great control and precision to make it roll where it needs to be. There are also 10 pins but there are shorter and wider. Bowlers get three balls for each frame instead of just two.

3. Five-pin Ball

This bowling variant is widely played in Canada. It was developed at the turn of the 20th century because the prevailing game of ten-pin bowling proved to be too strenuous for a lot of people. Customer complaints compelled a blowing club owner in Ontario to reduce the pin size to three-quarters of the original. For the balls, he made them to fit the hand for ease of use. The size meant that there is also no need for any finger holes, although these may be added if desired. There are only 5 pins for targets in V formation. Each has a rubber band around the middle for longer travel distance when struck.

4. Candle-pin Ball

This variant was developed in Massachusetts in the late 1800s, years before tenpin bowling were given standard rules. It is still played today in the New England states in the US and the Maritime provinces in Canada. The basics are similar but the minor differences result in a much harder game. Candle pins are thinner and they do not have the curves that make tenpins easier to hit. The balls are also much smaller at just 4.5 inches in diameter. Downed pins are not cleared between rolls. Even if players are given three balls per frame, it is still quite difficult to score points in this setup.

Every type of ball design suits a particular purpose. Small differences can make a massive impact in terms of gameplay and results. Modern innovations have given us better balls but they have also raised questions about the influence of technology on performance. The sport’s governing bodies have stepped in to ensure fairness by establishing limits and monitoring future developments.

How To Clean A Bowling Ball

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In order for a bowling ball to perform well, it needs to be taken care of properly. Cleaning a bowling ball is extremely important, and could make the difference between a win or a loss in a league or tournament.

Proper maintenance and cleaning doesn’t take a ton of time, but it is needs to be kept up with to really have a ball last. Below is a look at everything you need to know about how to clean a bowling ball and have it performing well.

Step by Step Cleaning

There are two main types of cleaning when talking about a bowling ball. A deep clean is usually done at home, or with a little bit more free time. There is also cleaning the ball off in the middle of the game. That’s easier, but sometimes just as important. Just a tiny amount of build up can effect how much hook the ball can potentially have.

Deep Cleaning a Bowling Ball

No matter how you might rub off the oil between each shot, that oil will still seep into the coverstock of the bowling ball in time. When the ball stops reacting the way you feel is normal, it is time for a deep clean.

The first step is simply to decide if the deep clean should be done by a professional at a pro shop, or by you personally. Some people who are not familiar with deep cleaning will leave it up to a professional. While they can do a great job, it is usually a cost most would like to avoid.

Professional cleaners will either bake the oil out with a special oven, or do a deep cleaning of the ball much like any person could do at home. Baking the ball is a unique procedure that definitely has some positives. It is pretty costly though, and most simply don’t want to spend that much money but once or twice.

Deep cleaning is much more practical, and can be done by anyone with the right supplies. The question is, how does someone actually go about a deep clean at home?

The first step is to have the supplies. Everyone needs:

  • microfiber towel
  • soap
  • tape
  • bucket

Step 1: Apply the tape to the holes on the ball. This is to keep the water from getting in and potentially doing damage.

Step 2: Fill up the bucket with hot water. The bucket needs to be more than big enough for the bowling ball so that it can be completely submerged.

Step 3: Add the soap to the water. Regular dish soap can work, or specific bowling ball soap cleaner if a person wishes to invest in that. Specific cleaner usually works faster and more effectively.

Step 4: Place the bowling ball in the bucket. Spin it around to make sure everything is covered. Once it is spun around a bit, let it sit in the bucket for about 30 minutes. There is no problem with letting it sit a while longer, but there comes a point where it is as deeply cleaned as possible.

Step 5: Take the ball out of the bucket, and begin wiping it down with a microfiber towel. The ball needs to be completely dried right after the cleaning. Try to give it some time to fully dry out before playing with the ball.

Cleaning The Ball Off Mid-Game

For a faster clean to get some surface oil off of the ball, a towel can be used after every single shot. There is no set type or size of towel, but most people opt for a microfiber option.

A towel that is big enough to cradle the ball is perfect, allowing for a convenient way to clean the entire surface area of the ball as quickly as possible. Anyone who watching a pro match will notice plenty of players doing this on a pretty consistent basis.

Best Bowling Ball Cleaners

Since cleaning a bowling ball is so important, there are a number of products out there to help with the process. In fact, the market is a bit oversaturated with so many options, making it difficult to sift through them all and find the best value.

Below is a look at some of the best ball cleaners and accessories to help with cleaning. This is a great starting point to invest a little bit of money into keeping the best balls you own looking great. While there are alternatives out there for these things (regular dish soap, regular towels, etc.), something formulated specifically for bowling balls are just going to be better.

Best Spray Cleaner


Pyramid bowlingball.com Monster Tac Bowling Ball Cleaner

For about $10, a bowling ball cleaning spray can really help a person keep things in new condition. This spray is very easy to apply, and it rubs off easily as well. It is a bottle that can be slipped into any bag for a quick cleaning solution before, after and even during a game. This bottle starts out at just 4 ounces, but people can buy larger bottles and save money on this cleaning solution.

Best Foam Cleaner


Storm Bowling Reacta Foam Bowling Ball Cleaner

Some people prefer a foam over a spray, since the foam can stay on the ball a little bit better. Storm makes a great foam that is affordable and easy to apply. The rejuvenator in the foam even helps to restore any tacky feeling that might be lost on the ball. Foam also has the advantage of not being quite as easy to leak out while sitting in the bag and moving around a bit.

Best Ball Towel


Bowlingball.com Washable giant Microfiber Bowling Ball Polisher Cleaner See Saw

The right type of towel can make a huge difference in the quality and quickness of cleaning a bowling ball. This is pretty much the perfect towel solution for bowlers. The towel can hold a bowling ball of any size. It is easy to get the entire surface area covered and clean. The towel is also easy to clean itself.

Best Cleaning Kit


Bowlingball.com Bowling Basics Kit

A full kit might be useful for some people who are trying to clean their bowling ball. This kit is basically a starter pack anyone can benefit from. The kit includes a bottle of spray cleaner, a monster pad bowling applicator and a grip ball. They all fit nicely into a bowling bag, and can be useful at a moment’s notice.

Benefits of Cleaning a Bowling Ball

A clean bowling ball not only looks great, but there are number of performance reasons why people are so particular with keeping a clean ball.

Performance

Far and away, the main reason why people clean their bowling balls as often as possible comes down to performance. The better a bowler is, the more they pay attention to these issues. A bowling ball might not be losing performance to the average player, but too much oil build up can cost a person valuable pins.

Oil and dust build up can happen after just a few frames, depending on the lane pattern. Sometimes it is visible, but other times it is just some minor building up that blends into the ball. Either way, if cleaning can help a person’s score, there is no doubt players are going to take advantage. In fact, cleaning off the ball is something that a lot of people will do subconsciously these days, almost as a ritual before each delivery.

Durability

After spending a decent amount of money on a bowling ball, it makes no sense to completely ignore cleaning and taking care of it. A performance bowling ball should last quite a long time, but not keeping up with proper cleaning can kill the lifespan of the ball.

The coverstock in particular can become compromised if proper care is not taken care of. Deep cleaning is specifically necessary for durability, because it can help with the oil that seals into the coverstock.

Looks

It isn’t a beauty contest at the bowling alley, but after investing in a new ball, it is perfectly fine to be proud of how it looks. A ball can look pretty old and beat up in a hurry if cleaning is ignored. No one wants to look at their shiny new bowling ball two weeks later look like it is a year old.

Showing up to a tournament or league night with clean performance bowling balls shows everyone else that you are very serious about playing the game. It just gives off a little bit more professionalism, which is never a bad thing.

Some people make their final decision on picking a bowling ball based on the design and color of the ball. Looks in those cases are very important for those owners. Just a few small investments into cleaning supplies can extend the look and life of a ball for quite a few years to come.

How Much Does a Bowling Ball Cost in 2020

Simply searching for a bowling ball online is likely going to yield a number of results. With so many different options, and the price range that can vary quite a bit, it is important to know why certain bowling balls cost more money than others.

There is certainly reasoning that goes into why one bowling ball might cost over $100, while another option is under $50. There are different types of bowling balls depending on the level of play, as well as the style of play a person has.

Different Types of Bowling Balls and their costs

Plastic coverstock, entry level bowling balls

This is the entry-level option for any type of person who likes bowling but doesn’t more for a social activity then anything. In many cases, this is going to be a bowling ball that is pretty similar to what can be found at the bowling alley. It is still going to be an upgrade though, because it is personalized for individual and is most likely in much better shape.

The defining feature of an entry-level bowling ball like this is a plastic coverstock. While it is a very durable material to use, it does not allow for a lot of hook when the ball is delivered. They also have a pretty standard core, which also will not help with any type of hook.

Many of the cool looking designs for bowling balls will also fall into this category. They are going to be a little bit more expensive just because they are designed creatively, but performance wise they will more than likely play like the entry level models.

Intermediate, performance bowling balls

Once a person starts to get into bowling a little bit more, it is likely time to invest in a performance bowling ball. It is going to cost a little bit more money, which is why a lot of people go with an intermediate option at first.

A urethane coverstock is used a lot of times with these bowling balls. The core will also be customized a bit to give a person a better delivery each time. This allows a person to mess around with a bit of a hook if that is what they want.

With any performance ball, it is essential to make sure that the holes are drilled properly to maximize the results as much as possible. A professional at a bowling center should always be in charge of this whenever possible, since they will know exactly what to do to get someone set up properly.

Look for balls in this range to cost anywhere from $75-$150. They are certainly a bit more expensive, but the difference in scores will be pretty evidence.

Advanced performance bowling balls

The most expensive bowling balls are going to be very similar to those that are used by professionals. These advanced performance bowling balls will have a great, durable coverstock, a customized core for each type of bowler, and the ability to drill holes in the ball to get the most out of each delivery.

Balls in this range will be anywhere from $150 to $250, and a lot of that cost comes from the reactive coverstocks.

There are three types of reactive coverstocks for bowlers to consider. The pearl coverstock gives a lot of length, and a sharper response overall on the back end. The coverstock is preferred by a lot of people who do not have a ton of speed on their deliveries.

A hybrid coverstock will react a little bit quicker, but go longer. True to its name, the hybrid strives to be the best of both worlds. It is a great coverstock for many people to go with when purchasing their first performance bowling ball.

The solid coverstock will react very quickly, and is usually reserved for fast bowlers. It can cut through all types of lanes, allowing for a big hook. It is considered to be the strongest coverstock out there, which can be a great thing in the right hands. At the same time, inexperienced to bowlers will have a hard time dealing with a ball like this.

Quick Word On Cores

Cores for bowling balls are labeled as pankcake, symmetrical and asymmetrical. Pancake is considered the most traditional, but companies have been pushing symmetrical and asymmetrical cores as well. While some bowlers swear by a certain type of core, a lot of this comes down to trial and error.

Cost of a Tournament Bowling Ball

Anyone who is bowling in a tournament is likely going to completely skip any entry level bowling ball options out there. Instead, they will jump straight to performance balls, because that will help put them on a level playing field. The bowling ball cost will be more, but it is worth it to improve their game.

Serious bowlers will have different bowling balls for different conditions. For example, a bowler might prefer a solid coverstock when playing on a heavy oil pattern, but they prefer to switch it up on lighter patterns to a pearl or hybrid.

A lot of changes will come down to what makes a bowler extremely comfortable. Even though there are suggestions that are thrown out there at all times, it comes down to feel when bowling. Sometimes, it also comes down to if a particular ball is performing well for somebody during a tournament.

In order to have a full arsenal of balls for a legitimate tournament, most people should have a budget of around $400 or more. That might seem like a lot of money, and most people are not going to purchase all their bowling balls at the same time. With that being said, a lot of people likely have three legitimate bowling balls to turn to for tournament play.

Cost of Bowling Accessories

Bowling might seem like an inexpensive activity, but it can certainly get up there and price in a hurry. While a lot of accessories are going to be relatively inexpensive, there are a lot of different things for a person to consider.

As far as true essentials go, every bowler needs to have proper shoes, a towel and a carrying case. Shoes are pretty self-explanatory, unless of course a person plans on renting shoes for the rest of their life. Bowling shoes can be found for pretty good prices, so there is a silver lining with that.

Having a towel is essential when bowling because so much buildup can be picked up by the balls. After just a few games, a new bowling ball can start to look like it is old. This will hurt performance, and will hurt the overall durability if it is completely ignored. Using a towel properly is going to keep the ball at its best.

Technically, a person who only owns one bowling ball does not need a carrying case. It will still be incredibly difficult to carry around all the different things. It just makes a lot of sense to carry around everything in a bag.

As for optional accessories, there are certainly a lot of things people can consider. A lot of it comes down to ball maintenance and shoe maintenance, but having all this can be beneficial and save time in a lot of instances. There are also accessories that can be worn by a person to improve performance.

Ball maintenance accessories include cleaning solution, a shammy and other cleaning options. Some people are very adamant about keeping their bowling ball as clean as possible. It makes a lot of sense to take care of investments, so no one is going to argue against that.

Shoes can be altered depending on the type of lane a person is playing on. Not only that, but shoes need regular cleaning as well. Carrying around a slider, brush, cover, extra pads and more can all be beneficial.

Finally, accessories to wear while bowling are becoming increasingly popular. Protecting the arm, and specifically the wrist, is essential for a lot of bowlers. Wrist support is worn a lot, even by pros. There are wrist positioners that can be purchased as well, which help with a more consistent delivery every single time. Knee and elbow support is also seen quite a bit at bowling alleys to provide full protection.

Bowling Ball Buying Considerations

When purchasing a bowling ball, there are a few considerations every single person should consider.

  1. What type of bowler are you? If you are looking to be competitive, a higher quality ball is needed. If you just want to play with friends once or twice a month, a basic ball can do.
  2. What coverstock fits your game? A coverstock is going to alter a bowling ball’s performance quite a bit. Look at the different options and pick out which suits your game the best.
  3. What type of core is needed? The core of the bowling ball will effect hook, as well as pin striking. Much like the coverstock, investigate which core fits your particular style of play.
  4. How heavy should the ball be? A ball needs to feel comfortable in a person’s hand to perform well. Note that when buying a new ball and getting the holes drilled properly, most people can handle adding 1-2 more pounds to their regular ball weight.
  5. Where should the holes go? The fingers and thumb need to fit properly in the ball. When having a ball drilled, it is essential to have it properly lined up.

Top Bowling Tournaments In The United States

Bowling is often viewed as a recreational sport for most people out there. It is something that can be played casually, although there is always some level of competitiveness once things get started.

In the United States, there are a few major bowling tournaments that always seems bring out the best of the best. Not only do the best players participate, but there is some real money on the line. Here’s a closer look at some of the top bowling tournaments in the United States every single year. Known as the four majors, each one brings something unique to the table for fans.

USBC Masters

The United States Bowling Congress Masters has been around, in some capacity, since 1951. This is a championship 10 pin bowling event that is mostly known for its trademark qualifying and the set up of double elimination matchplay.

At the beginning of the tournament, there can be as many as 360 entrants. All the bowlers will then compete in 15 games of qualifying, and only the top 63 qualifiers will advance. The final spot is always reserved for the previous year’s champion in the bracket. Once the matches or head-to-head, they consist of three games, and the highest total pinfall wins.

Held in the spring, the 2018 event took place in Syracuse, New York. Andrew Anderson took home the top prize of $30,000. The 2019 USBC Masters will take place in Las Vegas from March 26th to April 1st.

Despite being a major, the USBC Masters gets overlooked by some. It is still a great event, but the three below are just a little bit higher as far as visibility is concerned.

PBA Tournament of Champions

As the name implies, the PBA Tournament of Champions is the one tournament each year in which people are going to see the very best in the game today. Every year, a number of talented players all battle about to see who is the best of the best at the time.

Unlike the other majors, the PBA Tournament of Champions is currently an invitational event. It originally focused on the 32 most recent title winners on the PBA tour. Once they wanted to expand the tournament, they added past winners of the Tournament of Champions as well.

With competition being so high, it is pretty clear to see that things can certainly get competitive. There are a lot of nerves each year at this event, and some of the all-time greats have made a huge splash.

Those who have paid attention to bowling for quite a while probably have heard of Don Johnson’s 299 game way back in 1970. Many consider it to be one of the most iconic moments in bowling history, as the Hall of Famer bowled 11 straight strikes before leaving a 10-pin spinning on his 12th shot. He still won the title over Dick Ritger, but he missed out on adding another $10,000 and a Mercury Cougar because of that one shot. Him lying on the ground face down is something that has been replayed a lot of times.

Another more recent memory from the tournament came in 2010, when Kelly Kulick became the first woman to leave victorious at a PBA tour event. To be able to win the event at the Tournament of Champions made the moment one of the few times bowling received national sports attention. Shortly after, she received congratulations from the likes of Billie Jean King and Barack Obama.

Currently, Matt O’Grady is the reigning champion, taking home $50,000 by defeating Jesper Svensson. He will be looking to become the first repeat champion since Jason Belmonte in Fairlawn, Ohio.

PBA World Championship

For years, this event was referred to as the PBA National Championship. The name was finally changed in 2002 to reflect the growing field of bowlers from all parts of the world. It is still routinely held in the United States, and it is another major PBA event. The format used at the PBA World Championships is slightly different from the rest of the tour, which is what can make things interesting in the end.

Qualifying scores for the World Championship must come from other standalone tournaments at the PBA World Series of Bowling. This means that this event is only open to a PBA member who also enters the World Series of Bowling. Most of the top bowlers in the world do this, so it is really not that big of a deal.

Earl Anthony is known as one of the best bowlers of all-time, and he is a true legend specifically at this tournament. He has won the tournament a record six times, including a pair of three-peats from 1973-1975, and again from 1981-1983). Due to his massive success, the trophy is named after him.

The World Series of Bowling will be returning to Detroit in 2019. Many people are excited to see it return to its roots for the 10th anniversary of the World Series of Bowling format.

Above all else, the unique format of the PBA World Championship is perhaps the best way to understand where the sport is today. This was mostly a sport that was only popular in the United States at a professional level. Now, players from all over the world are coming in and competing for a true world championship.

U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is perhaps the most challenging tournament out of all the PBA tour majors. There are a few reasons why this is the case. For starters, it has the longest format by far. It takes about 56 games from the beginning of qualifying to the very end in order to win the championship. Not only that, but the oil pattern used for the U.S. Open is different than a lot of other oil patterns on other stops during the PBA tour. All these factors lead to some exciting finishes in the end.

Perhaps no finish was more memorable than in 2012, when Pete Weber, then 49-years old, made a surprising run for a record-setting 5th U.S. Open title. Few people were giving him a chance of winning at the beginning of the tournament, but he was able to pull off a one point victory in the final over Mike Fagan. His celebration after made headlines, and he solidified himself as the modern face of bowling.

Ask anyone about the most memorable quote in bowling history, and they are almost always going to answer with “Who do you think you are? I am!” Weber was clearly fired up to achieve history in 2012, and he was particularly fired up by a fan who clapped earlier in the tournament after he missed a pin. It seemed to be the motivation that was needed for him to reach back for a little extra.

While the U.S. Open is open to everyone, they have recently decided to personally invite top money leaders from various other events during the year. They still have to go through a lot of games, but the move was made to ensure that there were a lot of talented players in the field each and every year.

The tournament bounces around quite a bit, as it was held in Wichita, Kansas in 2018 and will be in Mooresville, North Carolina in 2019. It is usually one of the last events of the calendar year.

Other Events

The majors are always going to be the best way to catch the best talent in the world. This is where the most money is going to be handed out, and the professionals love to have the recognition of winning a major event. With that said, there are other event scattered throughout the United States that can be just as exciting as well.

One of the best things about bowling in general is that everyone starts with a chance to possibly bowl a 300. No matter how many times it has been done, this is always going to be a special moment for people to see in person. For example, back in 1987, the television world randomly had the opportunity to see Pete McCordic bowl a perfect game that netted him $100,000. It was the first perfect game on television in over 13 years, proving just how random it can be.

There are also other events local people will try to enter because it has an open format. Bowling is incredibly difficult to play at a high-level, but a person can qualify and play against the best for money if things fall away. Very few sport skills amateurs a true chance like bowling.

The best way to find out about other events either officially on tour, or just local rize money events, is to search around online. The PBA Tour schedule for 2019 is already set, with stops in nearly every area of the United States. Local event might be a bit harder to find, but for the most part they are going to be advertise at the local bowling alleys without question.

The Ideal Push Away And Timing

When you set up in the stance hold the ball slightly above waist height, this is the best position for most people. When you push the ball out, on the first step of a 4 step approach, you want to push the ball slightly upwards and fully extend your arms. Don’t rush the push away do it nice and easy. On the start of the 2nd step let the weight of the ball drop down into the swing. On the start of the 3rd step the ball moves into the backswing and on the the start of the 4th step (slide step) the ball comes forward by its own weight naturally (don’t force it).

Keep Your Arm Swing Loose

The key to a loose arm swing is keeping your grip in the ball “relaxed”. In order to have a relaxed grip in the ball your ball has to be drilled and fitted correctly. If your thumb hole feels loose it will cause you to squeeze the ball and muscle your swing. Inserts in the thumb and finger holes can help give you a more secure fit. If you have a large webbing at the base of your thumb adding extra bevel at the top front edge of the thumb hole can also help give you a more secure grip.

Move Chin Up On Third Step

On the 3rd step as the ball goes into the backswing move your chin up and your head back and keep it that way until after the follow through. This will prevent bending forward at the waist when you release the ball and follow through.

Balance Body For Solid Finish

On the last step bend your knee to get down lower to the lane and slide your foot straight towards the foul line making sure it doesn’t turn. Think of it as sliding into a deep knee bend. Counter balance your body by moving your non-sliding leg sideways to the opposite side of your bowling arm.

Follow Through The Arm Swing

The follow through is just a continuation of the arm swing after the ball has left your hand. As the ball leaves your hand continue through the swing by extending your arm outwards towards your target with your thumb pointing up and your hand moving up to the side of the face or ear.

The First Arrow Shot (5 Board)

Normally the easiest shot to play on the lane is the outside line straight down over the 1st arrow (5 board). It offers enough of a break at the back end to carry the pins and it can work for a wide variety of lane conditions from dry to oily just by changing balls. However sometimes the lanes can get very dry up front or have snapping backends and you will have to move left on the approach and play an inside line (cross-alley) over the 2nd arrow (10 board).

The 45 Degree Hand Position

This is the easiest and most natural hand position to use. In the 45 degree hand position the hand is partially under and partially to the side of the ball with the tips of both pinky-s touching. Non bowling hand helps support weight of ball.

Spare Shooting And Ten Pins

There’s no reason to use a special ball for spares as long as you are lined up correctly and go straight as possible at the pin. For the 10 pin I recommend using a reverse hook release but make sure you get the ball way out on the lane.

Develop Good Practice Routine

Analyze your delivery and think about what you are doing when you practice. Feel your good shots when you make them and imprint it into your mind so that you can repeat them again. Use visualization to practice off the lanes at home.

Staying Relaxed Under Pressure

Once you’re set up and ready to go focus your eyes on your target and block out all external noise. Don’t think about the mechanics of your physical game, just bowl reflexively and react to the target as you release the ball.

Shoe Sliding Problems

If you have trouble sliding buy a red slide sole that Dexter sells and some velcro self sticking fastener. Cut both the red slide sole and velcro self sticking fastener the same size as your rubber heel on the slide shoe. Paste the velcro fastener on the rubber heal and then fasten the red slide sole onto the velcro fastener.

Develop Your Own Bowling Style

There is no right or wrong way to bowl and anything can work if you are able to repeat it often enough. Do what works for you and feels the most comfortable. Often times you have to do something, that may be considered unorthodox, to compensate for a flaw in your game. Some of the greatest bowlers had very unorthodox styles such as bowling great Don Carter with his bent arm swing.

Watch Professional Bowlers On TV

Watch the pros bowl on TV and record them with your VCR. Play back the tape and watch in it slow motion. Study how they do the basics to improve your own game, especially the women pros who rely more on finesse than power.

Top Pro And Recreational Bowling Leagues In The United States

Arguably, league bowling is the most popular recreational sport in the US. Alongside pro leagues and pro tournaments, you will find hundreds of bowling leagues being arranged mostly by exclusive bowling alleys or by social clubs that include a bowling alley within their premises. And no matter what your skill level or age is, you can always find a bowling league of your choice in your own town or city.

In fact, the sport of bowling, thanks largely to its ability to bring people together, has huge cultural significance for the US people. The game is for the most part affordable and appeals to people from many different walks of life. As such, the game also provides the participants with great opportunities for socializing and for forming a sense of camaraderie with their respective bowling partners. In addition to that, today you will find many full-service bowling alleys that are equipped with food and drink stores; equipment shops where you can buy or borrow bowling equipment or apparels; and more. This makes bowling a fun and relaxing activity (unless you’re having a particularly bad night!). And of course, if you are competing in a league, what with the adrenaline rush and everything, the whole thing reaches a new dimension altogether.

And as we’ve mentioned already, there is a league available for bowlers of every stripe. There are individual leagues, team leagues, couples leagues and if you so want, you can even set up your very own bowling league at your preferred location and register it to USBC (United States Bowling Congress), the central governing body for the sport of bowling in the country.

Top Bowling Leagues

Basically, all bowling leagues and tournaments in the country can be divided into two major categories: Recreational Leagues and Professional Leagues/Tournaments.

  1. Recreational Leagues

However, when it comes to recreational leagues, there are leagues of all ilks and descriptions. There are leagues where bowlers participate mostly for fun and then there are those that are often bitterly fought! Of the latter category, many offer sizeable prize money for winners. So, don’t commit the mistake of confusing the term ‘recreational’ with ‘non-competitive’.
Normally, with leagues that offer prize money, half of your fees for participating in the league go toward the prize fund. The prize money is distributed among the top ranking teams at the season end. Most leagues will award individual awards as well such as an MVP award. Keep it in mind that although there are individual leagues, couple leagues, etc., most serious recreational leagues will feature teams, typically of 6-8 members.

Normally, all leagues are registered with USBC, so as long as you participate in a league, you’ll automatically become a USBC member. A USBC membership costs you about twenty dollars, but more often than not, this will be included in your league participation fees, so you don’t need to spend any extra bucks towards it. Why we mention this is because a USBC membership comes with its own range of benefits. With a membership, you qualify for award patches or magnets (as they are called these days) and can also avail useful discounts from different merchants, including car rental, hotels, etc.

Types of Leagues

Commonly, you’ll find four types of bowling leagues in the US—the Men’s League, the Women’s League, the Mixed Team League and the Youth League. Save the last category, there is no age bar for participating in these leagues. The Youth leagues are commonly reserved for individuals aged 22 or less. Some organizations offer separate Senior Leagues as well that, following the rules of Pro Senior Tournaments, are open only to persons of age 50 or over.

Leagues are also differentiated by skill sets, so you have Beginner Leagues, Novice Leagues, Experienced Leagues and finally, Advanced Leagues. In the last two categories, the competition is often fierce and participants are typically those who take a special pride in their bowling abilities!

Most Famous Leagues

Some of the most famous and prestigious bowling leagues in the country are arranged by well-known bowling alleys and social clubs many of which have franchises all over the country. Some of the most reputed of these bowling clubs include BrunswickZone, Bowlero, AMF and BowlMor Lanes. These clubs organize many of the major recreational bowling leagues across the United States.

How to Find the League of Your Choice

You can find news about many ongoing and upcoming leagues from websites of different bowling clubs. For example, if you are looking for a suitable bowling league to join for the upcoming season, you can look up the AMF website. AMF, a dedicated bowling club (although it offers some other facilities as well), has a page where you can enter your city of preference, preferred dates, type of league you want to join as well as other details/filters to find the right league for you. The site will not only exhibit their own bowling leagues but those arranged by other organizations as well.

Leagues Standing Sheets

You can find fixtures, schedules and standings of all the bowling leagues registered with USBC at USBC’s own site Bowl.com. For example, if you want to know the standings of a particular bowling league, visit this search page and fill out the required information and you’ll be summarily directed to a printable League Standing Sheet page. So, you can see that although all these various non-pro leagues are commonly referred to as ‘recreational’ leagues, they actually work under a well-organized and –supervised system—a testimony to the fact how seriously these bowling leagues are taken by both organizers and participants.

  1. Professional Leagues/Tournaments

Then there are professional bowling leagues and tournaments, all organized under the auspices of USBC. There are Open Championships, Women’s Championships, Youth Tournaments, Short-Duration Tournaments, Collegiate and Senior Tournaments.

Under each of these categories, you’ll find a number of tournaments. For example, the short-duration category includes some of the most prestigious pro bowling competitions in the country. These include USBC Masters, U.S. Open, USBC Queens, U.S. Women’s Open as well as Team USA Trials. You’ll need to meet different eligibility criteria for participating in these events.

To know more about them, visit the page dedicated to each individual tournament. For example, the USBC Queens page informs that the 2019 edition of the tournament will take place in Wichita, Kansas and the registration for the tournament is still open. The registration fee is $350 for anybody who registers before April 24. All later entrants will need to pay $400 as registration fee.

Similarly, there are different events in Youth and Collegiate categories. Youth tournaments include USA Bowling, Pepsi Championships, Youth Open Championships and Junior Gold Championships. In Collegiate, we have Intercollegiate Team & singles Championships. However, the most prestigious of all these are of course Men and Women’s Open Championships.

Senior Tournaments

For our purpose though, perhaps the most relevant are the pro senior tournaments. In this category, there are four tournaments in all: the Senior Masters, the Senior Championships, the Senior Queens and the Super Senior Classic. The last of these are meant only for individuals aged 60 or over while all other tournaments are open to those of age 50 or older.

Senior Masters

This tournament provides the most exciting opportunity for all recreational/hobbyist bowlers age 50 or older. This is an open tournament which means both professionals and amateurs can enter the tournament and it offers prize money of up to $100,000. However, you need to pay a steep entry fee ($400 or $350) and normally, you will only consider entering the tournament only if you feel that your bowling skills are good enough to trouble the professionals.

Other than that, the tournament offers the same fun, exciting and challenging double-elimination format that is followed for the traditional USBC Masters. According to this format, all participants start by rolling 15 games and only the top 63 scorers advance to the double-elimination round where they are joined by the defending champion of the tournament. Just as in USBC Masters, the players now engage in one-to-one 3-game matches. The winner of a game proceeds to the winner’s bracket and stays there as long as he continues to win. The loser, on the other hand, will find himself in the elimination bracket. The good thing with this format that even if you lose your first match, you’ll still find a second chance. However, losing a match while in the elimination bracket will sadly mean the end of the tournament for you!

This year’s Senior Masters will take place from June 2-9 and will be organized by Sam’s Town Bowling Center, Las Vegas. The registration is open, so if you feel you’ve what it takes, you can register now.

Senior Championships

Unlike the Masters, USBC Senior Championships is not an open entry tournament. Bowlers can only qualify for this tournament trough their state’s senior tournament. You should get in touch with your state association manager if you want to enter your state senior tournament. The 2019 USBC Senior Championships will run from August 6-9 at the Western Bowl venue located at Cincinnati, Ohio.