Understanding the importance of bowling ball maintenance


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sports can be expensive; even for the recreational player.

Kids playing year-round baseball can easily spend hundreds of dollars for their tools of the trade, a nice glove, the newest bat, cleats, batting gloves and even their own batting helmet.

Adults’ toys are even more costly.

My uncle, who is an avid golfer, recently shared with me that just the driver he is currently swinging runs around $400 and a dozen good balls are over $40.

That would certainly make me hit them straight!

Bowling is no different. A top of the line ball, with finger grips and a slug for the thumb hole will top $200 easily. And what serious bowler can survive with a single ball?

I’ve mentioned before the importance of keeping your bowling ball clean by wiping it off after each shot. The fact that bowling ball are so expensive along with the new rules being put in place soon banning weight holes, ball maintenance is going to be even more paramount.

In addition to the deletion of weight holes, also known as balance holes, bowling’s governing body has implemented two other rules specific to bowling balls; one specific to the ball manufacturer, and the other focusing more on the bowler.

For the manufacturer, limits have been placed on oil absorption. Kind of like our doctor telling us to limit the fat in our diet, now bowling “scientist” have developed a process to measure the amount of lane oil a ball absorbs and other brainy people, probably living really boring lives, have set limits on this absorption. I can’t help having this mental image of the guys from Big Bang Theory sitting around with their giant whiteboard coming up with this equation. The good news is all current balls already meet these guidelines, and the better news is none of us have to worry about this one.

The rule bowlers will have to get used to though is the “dry towel” rule. My personal irony to this one is I always thought this rule was already in effect. Under current rules, bowlers are allowed to use approved cleaners during competition. Beginning August 1 of next year, bowlers will be limited to the use of only a dry towel for cleaning their ball during competition.

This rule has already raised some questions such as how (or if) a bowler will be allowed to use any type of cleaning agent in the event that a ball returns with a foreign substance such as rubber from a ball lift rod from the pinsetter equipment. That’s a topic or question for another day.

The bottom line is it is about to become more important than ever to maintain the cleanliness of the coverstock of your bowling balls. Cleaning them with an approved by USBC cleaning solution before and after use will be the best way to keep your equipment in optimum condition and hopefully extend its life on the lanes.

Someone who wasn’t concerned with oil absorption rates or a dry towel rule last week was Rondell Christian while he was pounding the pocket to the tune of 22 strikes and 7 spares, enroute to a 269-677 to lead the men of Monday Night Mixed. William Swinson did his best to hang with Rondell, firing a 243-635. Denwood Williams (212 game) and John Turner (564 series) rounded out the men’s top scores last Monday night.

Stephanie Winslow crushed the pocket as well during the Monday Night Mixed session, bagging the first 600-plus series for the ladies this season during her 237-621. Her 237 game set the new league high for Monday night’s ladies this season and her 621 was only the second 600-plus series in the past three seasons on Monday night. The other came from her mom, Debbie Winslow, when she claimed a 613 last season.

Speaking of Debbie, she trailed only Stephanie last week with her own 198-533 to go along with Sheri Norwood’s 193 game and Linda Barrett’s 510 series.

Fellowship League produced some tremendous score last week with a few new names at the top of the sheet. Led by David Ange’s 255-699, Fellowship punched tickets for eight series exceeding 600!

Lee Owen trailed only Ange as he connected for a 254-661 to go along with teammate, Ronnie Barefoot, who tamed the rack for a 236-652. Joining the hit parade were Troy Brickhouse (246-658), Brian Puhl (234-628), Lake Krehel (219-610), Jevon Simpson (233-605), and Mark Tarkington (211-603).

Kaytee Simpson topped the ladies of Fellowship with a 221-566, followed by Brittney Gaumond’s 207-510, and Orrin Kuhn’s 213 game.

Lindsay Perry rediscovered some old form to lead the Martin Luther King League with a nine-strike, 265 game enroute to a 660 series. John Greer and John Tyler followed with tallies of 237-617 and 236-610 respectively.

The ladies of MLK were topped by Brittney Gaumond’s 212-583, Debbie Winslow’s 204-575, Leonora Vactor’s 401 series and Jill Serik’s 159 game.

The All-American Ladies witnessed the top ladies-only league scores last week, paced by Charlene Fetters’ 187-467, Ocie Manos’s 181 game, and Patsy Sanders’ 173-453. Sharon Hoffler (167-448), Delli Spaulding (167-446), and Susie Thomas (153-430) paced the Albemarle Rollers ladies league last week.

Joshua Davenport shredded the pins for a sweet 181-505 to lead the youth boys, followed by Thomas Adams’ 180-479, and Christopher Vinson’s 441 set and Colby Judge’s 155 game. Violet Olds (133-378), Elizabeth Scaff (155-374), and Kaylee Winslow (142-337) posted the top scores for the youth girls.

The youth will close out the 2018 calendar this weekend enjoying donuts and hot chocolate while bowling for their annual Christmas Candy.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling.