How does the weather affect your bowling game?


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

This week’s bowling news is dedicated to longtime local bowler, James White, whom we lost way too soon last week. We are all better people to have had James in our lives. RIP good friend.

It’s about that time of year again.

Leagues began towards the end of summer, went through the winter (and this year, an extended one), the pattern gets tweaked multiple times, and everyone starts to get back into the swing of things, like a couple of weeks ago when the house saw about fifteen 600 series and almost one from a youth league bowler.

Everything is going great and then all of a sudden, the weather changes and things are different.

Then comes the question every manager and every other bowling center employee has heard more than they can count - "What happened?"

The products used by a bowling center to create optimal lane conditions; like lane machines, conditioners (oil), cleaners, and even the lanes themselves, all have physical characteristics and therefore are affected by temperature.

So as temperature changes, the properties and performance of all those products will change as well.

So how do these changes show up in the bowling center?

They show up in the performance of the lane machine, changes in the oil pattern, changes in lane topography, and as a result, ultimately, what the bowlers feel and see in ball reaction.

Lane topography is a really in depth discussion in itself, and one I’m trying to understand better myself.

Some of these cooler days and nights we’ve recently experienced have affected our lanes a bit.

As the temperature of the conditioner gets colder, the viscosity, surface tension, and density all increase which not only affects ball motion, this also affects different lane machines in different ways.

Years ago, several tests were conducted to see how much conditioners changed when the temperature changed in either direction.

What was discovered was eye-opening. As temperatures dropped, the density of the oil increased which affected the consistency of the application of the conditioner on the lanes.

For centers using a wick technology lane machine, like our local house, if the conditioner or lane machine is not kept at normal room temperature, or if it is stored near a cold wall, the oil will “thicken” and impede the wicking action which reduces conditioner flow onto the lane.

Therefore the oil pattern that you face on a warmer evening will likely be a little different than the same shot put out on a cooler afternoon.

To combat this at Albemarle Lanes, they take their lane machine from its storage area a couple of hours prior to running it on the lanes.

On colder days, they take it out earlier and even put it down on the first lane to allow everything to get up to room temperature before dressing the lanes.

So, just like outdoor sports, the weather can, in fact, affect the performance of indoor sports such as bowling.

Before sharing last week’s league results, I need to recognize Denise Price for her silver medal performance in the ladies singles of the Senior Games a couple of weeks ago.

She was inadvertently omitted from the recent report from this year’s games.

Denise also shot over a 400 series in each of her three events this year, which was a personal best.

Speaking of weather earlier, everything appeared to be bright and sunny last Tuesday night during Fellowship League for teammates Lee Owen and Jeffrey Barefoot.

Owen struck early and often for impressive games of 226, 237, and 243 for a massive 706 series, while Barefoot struck consistently for 216, 213, and 217 for a 646 night. Jevon Simpson’s 258-626 and Troy Brickhouse’s 224-591 closed out the men’s leaders from Fellowship.

On the ladies’ side of Fellowship, Katie Barefoot had her best night of the season when she blasted a 226 game during her 527 series which equated to a 278-683 handicap night.

Kaytee Simpson maintained her 192 average with a 224-576 while Bobbi Jo Tarkington added a 191-539.

William Swinson again found the mark during Monday Night Mixed, firing an opening 258 game then rode that to a 622 series. Rondell Christian and Paul Lacher each tossed high games of 234 while Pat Dooley added a 200 game on the ladies’ side.

Sylvia Holley (180-448), Susie Thomas (162-445), and Delli Spaulding (156-422) topped the Albemarle Rollers on Wednesday night, while Patsy Sanders (193-457), Stella Miller (172-475), Charlene Fetters (448 series) and Jeanette Riggs (167 game) lead the All-American Ladies last Thursday morning.

The Martin Luther King league was led by John Bradley’s 228-616, while Fred Hill’s 205-564 and Chris Farrell’s 215-544 followed. Randy Cartwright snuck in a 221 game to make the top scores sheet.

Brittney Gaumond’s 234-561 paced the ladies of MLK, followed by Brenda Marx’s 193 game and Sheri Norwood’s 187 game.

Cheyanne Hardison (111), Ariana Mummert (108), and Jason Nistler (103) earned top billing for the Bumpers, while Christopher Vinson (166), Joshua Davenport (141), and Emily Brewer (136) were the top Youth League bowlers this week.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling!