Really, the problem is not just with balls. Balls are a reaction to lanes, which are a reaction to money. Oiling is a reaction to balls which are a reaction to oiling.
Different deliveries are a reaction to learning about physiology and biomechanics and how to create power to overcome the handicaps of the oil and lane surfaces.
It's all of a piece.
House shots? A reaction intended to get people back into the lanes. Getting some scoring going brings people back in. Make it too easy. . . that's bad. Make it too hard . . . that's also bad. It's hard getting that balance.
We had to go synthetic lanes - wooden lanes are just too expensive to upkeep and you have to close down a couple of weeks periodically to do a resurface and then to clean everything afterward. That all costs money - synthetics require much less upkeep. But they have lower friction, meaning you need more ball.
More aggressive balls mean more wear on the lanes (even with oil - I've seen old synthetics that didn't get oiled properly and it looked like someone took 300grit to the heads. . .) so more oil. More oil means shaping and playing with the patterns . . .
And you end up with a labyrinthine mess.
Honestly - what to do? Get owners who CARE.
IMHO, the BIGGEST problem we have is Bowlmor, AMF and Brunswick who weren't promoting, weren't maintaining, and weren't managing. Centers looked old, chairs cracked, employees who weren't paying attention or caring, mechanics who weren't keeping up their equipment.
Centers who DID manage their places were doing fine. Before the Bowlmor purchase, Norco was slammed much of the time and doing quite well. Lockouts (overnight parties) were fairly common. Leagues filled the place. Open bowling and cosmic were full. Even morning leagues were going on - a sport, a pseudo-PBA league, etc. all were doing well. The Pro-shop almost always had someone in it.
After? Leagues fleeing to Arlington and other independents. Place seems empty every time I go by. Leagues that are still there complain about how long it takes to get a pin re-spotted or get a 180 fixed. Pins dropping from the pin-setters. It's a mess.
Arlington, which is independent, seems to be doing well. It's barebones, but the place is CLEAN, the snack-bar is amazing, the bar will actually get us beer that we want. If there's dead-wood, they respond within a minute. Respotting takes only a few minutes. There are two lanes that seem to have a problem with dropping pins (we were on one last night) but even that seems to be getting better as they futz around working on fixes.
Sure - it's not fixed, but at least they SEEM to care about getting it fixed . . . you know?
We're always going to complain about balls, about two-handers . . . heck, I had a lefty last night and I jokingly complained, "danged lefties!"
but as long as we keep a grin with the complaint and keep it constructive and keep trying to get better and WE keep promoting the sport. . . we can get it back.
In the 60s, it was grassroots. Leagues were a COMMUNITY thing. It was community that brought people to the lanes where they gathered and enjoyed each other. That's a rare thing nowadays, but I think we may start seeing a bit of a resurgence. I hope so anyway.