Bowling authorities confirm: You can’t beat gravity with oil


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

With the crazy dip in temperature early last week, I thought this would be a good time to refresh my reading and research on how the changes in weather can affect the lanes and ultimately the reaction the ball makes because of these environmental changes.

To do this research, I visited the website of one of the authorities of bowling, “Kegel.”

Since lanes are made of wood or some component of, temperature will affect them, more specifically, the shape of them; and because wood is a porous material, humidity will make the lanes “swell up.”

The opposite of this is true as well; the lack of humidity will make the lanes compress.

When extreme weather rolls in, like the below freezing temperatures last week, or the extreme heat and humidity the Albemarle area is known for in the summer, the lane “conditions” as we know them become less about a specific oil pattern, and more about how the lanes transition through these temperature changes.

During high humidity, the boards will swell, causing them to “push up” and create what’s known as a “crown.”

The opposite of this takes place when the temperature drops and a “depression” results.

When a lane suffers from a depression, two things happen to your shot.

First of all, depressions have a tendency to guide the ball more to the center of the lane.

Second, because the rotation of the ball off the bowler’s hand is turning against the side of the hill of the depression, the ball loses energy sooner.

These two factors contribute to more splits and the appearance of a lack of oil.

Most local bowlers might dispute this claim at Albemarle Lanes because the local house has synthetic lanes.

That fact is true; however, bowlers who weren’t around in the early 2000s when the synthetics were installed, might not be aware that the synthetics were installed directly on top of the original wooden lanes. Whatever happens to the wooden lanes, happens to the synthetics on top.

Kegel closed its discussion on this topic with a simple quote, “You can’t fix a gravity problem with oil”, and as long as bowling centers experience changes in weather, especially quick, drastic changes, there will continue to be unseen changes in bowling lanes.

To read more about how outside environments can affect your bowling lanes, visit www.kegel.net.

Chris Farrell didn’t appear to have much problem finding his line to the pocket last Tuesday night when he paced the Fellowship men with a 267-696.

David Ange toppled the pins to a nice 244-671 performance trailing only Farrell. Jeffrey Barefoot (235), Jimmie Moore (234), Paul Lacher (233), and Boris Beatty (232) each added impressive games.

Bobbi Jo Tarkington topped the ladies from Fellowship with a 183-500, while Brittney Gaumond claimed the high game of the night with a 189.

Despite the cold temps and resulting tougher lanes, Steve Spoonire (234-628) bagged the lone 600 series last Monday night while Rondell Christian claimed high game honors with a 255 on his way to a 595 series, while John Turner’s 207-569 wrapped-up the men’s top scores from the week’s initial league session.

Sharon Hoffler’s 192 and Debbie Winslow’s 179 effort were the top ladies; games from Monday evening.

I also found it interesting that when the temperature rose a little last Thursday, the MLK league scores were a little higher than usual. Mark Tarkington led all in a sub role, tossing a 236-631, followed by Denwood Williams’ 218-616, and Garry Williams’ 234-609.

The ladies from MLK were topped by Stephanie Winslow’s 202-555, Debbie Winslow’s 192-547, and Sheri Norwood’s 181-490.

Sharon Yonek claimed the top series overall between the two ladies’ leagues.

Yonek fired a nice 177 game as part of her 485 series during the All American Ladies loop last Thursday morning, finishing just ahead of Patsy Sanders’ 173-451.

The head-turner from Thursday morning though was Jennette Riggs though, as she opened her third game with a spare and a split open frame before running off five consecutive strikes.

She stepped in the 10th frame needing a combination of a strike and a spare to score her first ever 200 game, but after making her spare, she left a stubborn 7-pin and settled for her new personal high game of 199! Congrats, Jennette!

During Wednesday night’s Albemarle Rollers, Susie Thomas was the big-lady on campus with her 168-480, followed by Pamela Griffin’s 154-409, Mary Beasley’s 402 series, and Sylvia Holley’s 170 game.

Thomas Adams rode a 5-bagger to a top 220 game and 535 series during the youth league on Saturday. Ben Hawkins claimed the top series of the week with his 188-555 while his brother, Bryce, added a 172-450.

The youth girls were paced by Elizabeth Scaff’s 134-374, Violet Olds’ 147-353, and Kaylee Winslow’s 140-336.

Connor Cafferello’s 104 game topped the bumper league kids.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling.