Lee Owen: Every center is different, for better or worse

By Lee Owen

The Daily Advance

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One thing I have found over the years is that no two bowling centers are the same. From lane conditions, to approaches, and even scoring monitors, each center has pros and cons to others.

While I have experienced this myself many times, I have noticed it a lot recently after watching PBA events on Xtra Frame. I have seen even professionals having trouble from house to house and adjustments having to be made.

One big difference is the approaches.

There are two types of approaches, wood and synthetic.

In the old days, all approaches were made out of wood, but as times and technology have advanced, approaches are now made out of synthetic materials and have a slick plastic feel to them.

If you are in a house with wooden approaches and you find yourself sticking, a dab of easy slide will likely fix the problem.

On synthetic, if you put easy slide down, you will probably find yourself belly down at the arrows, as it causes you to stick more.

Even with the same type of approach, the sliding ability will vary from house to house.

Things that affect this are humidity, cleanliness, upkeep, and prior use if the lane. Some houses have more humidity than others based on the type of climate system they have, while others do not clean the approaches as often.

Regardless of why, I have never been to two houses that reacted the same on the approaches.

One way I have found to resolve this problem is by buying bowling shoes with interchangeable soles and heels. These shoes have Velcro soles and heels and a variety of options to mix and match them to give you the perfect slide on any approach.

Lane conditions also vary from house to house, depending on the type of lane, whether it is wooden or synthetic, and the machine used to oil.

I have bowled tournaments with the same advertised sport pattern, but when the tournament begins, they were nothing alike. Also, wooden lanes tend to break down quicker and provide more friction than synthetic lanes so you will see more hook in most cases.

Some professionals actually have separate balls for wooden lanes versus synthetic.

Finally, with the various scoring systems available, you will probably not walk into two centers with the same exact scoring system. This means that changing scores and setting it up will not be an easy task.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you out, but pay attention and you too will be able to operate any of these systems.