I don't understand why so many people have a problem with what the USBC is trying to accomplish with regard to ball specs.
First, these rules only apply to tournaments, not to leagues at this point. And the rule change they want is for no balance holes. So all of us once a week bowlers won't have to "buy all new equipment" unless you bowl in USBC sanctioned tournaments, AND your current balls are drilled with a leverage weighted setup that uses a balance hole.
Second, the rules that allowed balance holes are now totally obsolete. Drilling a leverage or balance hole only settles the weight difference between top and side weight of the ball. This is an old rule that was instituted back in the days of hard rubber bowling balls, because some uscrupulous people then used to drill a hole, add lead weights, then plug over the holes to change the dynamic of the ball. This is why tournaments only allowed balls that weren't plugged, because plugged balls needed to be x-rayed to see if there were any lead weights inside.
Today, the motion of the bowling ball is driven by the shape and direction of the weight block that is turning inside the ball. If you can imagine an ice-pop, we all made those. Think of the stick as the pin. Now imagine creating a bowling ball around the ice pop. The stick IS the pin. It shows you where the top of the weight block is.
Now as you can imagine, drilling the ball with the pin or stick directly under your palm will cause the weight block to turn on one axis when you throw it. Drilling the ball with the pin or stick 7 inches from your palm is going to cause the weight block to turn on a totally different axis, and produce a totally different reaction. And drilling a small hole to remove one ounce or so of material to bring the difference between top and side weight into line won't affect that. This is why the rules on balance holes are now totally obsolete.
I am an experienced bowler returning to the game. The last time I bowled regularly in a league before this season was in 1998. I used to average about 180. My current league has been running for about 6 weeks. I'm hanging in with a mid to high 150's average, and am literally learning to make shots again. But I hit a 190, a 187, and a 209 my 4th week back, and I'm making tough spares, like the 5-7. My average has been climbing a few pins every week. Yes, I am using old e****ent, most of which was drilled about 15 years ago - including an old black Hammer.
I've been a bowler who has always worked and struggled to improve. I've attended conferences, I've bought videos and books, I've videotaped myself and watched, I've learned spare systems, etc. I've practiced and learned fundamentals - 4 step delivery, timing, rythm, free arm swing, etc. I've worked for and earned my average and my skills, I didn't buy it out of a box. So I disagree with what a previous poster put up - It's not "low average bowlers who want to bring people down". In fact, its not about bringing people down at all. Its about "are you really any good, or is your equipment Bowling 200
I am AMAZED at what's happened in bowling ball technology just in the couple years that I was away and not paying attention, and I got a lesson the first week I was back.
Now here's what I see when I look around my league: 1) A bunch of overweight 300 lb guys who drink 5 - 7 beers or more over 3 games and are falling down drunk by the end of the third game. 2) Old guys, 65+, who barely have the strength to walk down the approach with the ball and who toss it at about 4 mph 3) Guys who take 9 steps on the approach and slide on the wrong foot 4) Young kids who throw 8 lb "helicopter" balls at 65 mph without putting their fingers in the ball at all 5) Girls who run up the approach with light 10 - 12 lbs balls, don't slide at all, and almost fall over at the release. A bunch of people with no fundamentals whatsoever.
And you know what? They're all stringing strikes and bowling over 200. Why?
a) Ridiculous ball technology - "magic" offset weight block cores and scientifically engineered coverstocks that come with pre-defined drill patterns to work magic for whoever has $200 to buy one. 200 average off the shelf in a box.
b) EASY oil patterns. Miss the target by 3 to 5 boards and still get a strike. The oil pattern pulls the ball right back to the pocket, even if you make a lousy shot.
c) LIGHT pins. Barely tap one of these pins, and it goes flying and takes out 3 other pins with it. Get a light pocket hit, messengers go everywhere, still carry a strike. I've never seen light balls carry like this in the past. Pin bounce and reaction is incredible.
We have a 13 year old kid who's been bowling for a year. His daddy just bought him one of these $200 wonder balls, and he just shot a 700 series the second time he used the thing in our league.
His average before that was 145. Yes, its the ball.
So how can you say the game is not too easy, when 13 year old kids with one year of bowling experience are hitting 700, people with no Bowling Fundamentals
at all are stringing strikes constantly and hitting 200, and drunks are bowling 650?
THIS is why membership is down and the game is declining. People are tired of this nonsense. Alcohol, drunks, young kids bowling ridiculous, and teams who have no fundamentals and aren't even any good, except for their equipment. They've taken the skill factor out of it and turned it into a meaningless game where anybody with access to a good Pro Shop
can bowl 200, and even 300 is in now in reach for the average bowler. More 300''s are being bowled now than ever. None of it means anything anymore, so what's the point?
No, I respectfully disagree. I think the USBC is on the right track here. And if some people want to quit because of these simple changes - bowling is probably better off without them. You're all over-reacting.
Personally, I don't think the changes go far enough. I think a 200 average SHOULD mean something and SHOULD have to be worked for and earned - not bought out of a box. And I, for one, would like to see more of these rules, and I'd like to see them applied to leagues, too, not just tournaments. And not just changes to bowling balls, but also oil patterns and pin weight, too. It's a combination of all 3, and this issue is only going to be resolved by changing all 3 - ball technology and how balls can be drilled, oil patterns, and pin weight.