Intro to League Bowling

Posted by: HughScot

Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 01:10 PM

If I was running the USBC I would come out with a brochure explaning league bowling. Everything from using two lanes, scoring, handicapping, and much more. By the same token if I owned a bowling facility I'd do it myself. People new to bowling are just suppose to learn everything by osmosis. Bowling lane owners don't seem to do much to lure new bowlers.

Sorry, rant over.
Posted by: VampyreBowler

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 01:52 PM

I don't know about your houses there, but the one house here i bowl at 3 times a week do not care about the league bowlers. They make more money off the open bowling, or so they say. If that were the case where would it benefit the owners to try to bring people in for leagues? Most the leagues I am on are built through word of mouth and from now bowlers moving into the area and coming in a subbing and finding teams to join
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 04:12 PM

Like Vampyre mentioned, most centers don't care about the league bowlers. They can make more off of open play, that is if they get enough people coming in and bowling. There are even some centers that have opened in recent years that don't allow any leagues and charge per an hour for one lane. They also expect to make more money off the the bar and snack bar from open play bowlers. This is despite leagues being almost guaranteed money. As long as nobody gets hurt they will be happy. AMF's President even came out and said it a letter to a trade magazine that their priority is the snack bar not leagues.

There are some centers out there that go against the norm though and treat league bowlers very well and the center managers try to help the leagues grow and will try to even recruit leagues from other centers. Unfortunately AMF got rid of most of the good ones in my area, I guess they thought they made too much and brought in managers with degrees in restaurant management.
Posted by: RDubYa

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 04:18 PM

I agree with all of you! AMF, like many others, are coming out with AMF 300 Centers across the country. These are new style "bar scene" bowling centers that only have open play - no competitive bowling at all.

To me, a smart proprietor would not want to lose any segment of his business - especially in these times.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 07:55 PM

Lets face it, open play bowlers are much less maintenance then league bowlers. Most use house balls, so you dont' have to worry about lane damage. Most don't care about the oil condition or who bowls next to them. Most are there for a good time, and drinking is part of that. Many league bowlers do not drink during competition but might have one afterwards. Who do you see carrying in food and their own sodas? League bowlers. So not only does the center make more per line from an open bowler but they are much easier to please and spend more money.

But if a house has a full contingent of leagues then they certainly don't want to lose them to neighboring centers.

Erin
Posted by: beefers1

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 09:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Atochabsh
Who do you see carrying in food and their own sodas? League bowlers.


They allow that?

The only time I've ever been allowed to bring outside food was between rounds at a tournament. And another time when I missed the cut and I stuck around to watch the final rounds.

Our 36-lane center has a very competitive Thursday scratch league that's draft-based where team captains pick his members and it costs $30 a week. True, much of it goes into the prize pot, but I'm sure a lot of it still goes to the bowling center. And there're 25 to 30 4-person teams which is a lot of money per week.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 09:09 PM

Quote:
They allow that?


Most centers do not allow it, but I still see it nearly every time I'm in a bowling center.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 09:11 PM

Quote:
True, much of it goes into the prize pot, but I'm sure a lot of it still goes to the bowling center.


Most centers price their league lineage by "time of day". 6 to 7pm during the week being the most costly. Second shift leagues usually get a lesser fee for lineage and Seniors during the day and ladies during the morning are even less.
Posted by: HughScot

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 09:16 PM

Super interesting as the AMF lanes where I bowl is very league friendly and encourages league play to the extent they have a sign by the cash register that says a game is free if they don't mention joining a league to you. They also give excellent discounts to league bowlers. Of course they really try and sell the food and drink, which is smart.
Posted by: JackZ

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 09:42 PM

Most league bowling is a vanishing minority these days. Most folks don't like the idea of having to spend mega-bucks to be competitive. Before the days of auto-scoring and synthetic lanes you owned 1...maybe 2 balls and worked with that. Now, it seems that if you want to compete you have to have an arsenal. It's become a game for people who have a higher income and the average person gets left out in the cold. Of course the lanes would prefer open bowlers. They don't spend their money on equipment...they spend it in the bar, the snack bar, and the lanes.
Posted by: Kilgore Trout

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 10:38 PM

Originally Posted By: hughscot
If I was running the USBC I would come out with a brochure explaining league bowling.

I've seen some bowling center websites that have just such a brochure of their own online. I think more people would actually bowl in leagues if they knew how intimidating it ISN'T. Just last season one of the teams on our league had a bowler with an 80 average. House ball and house shoes. Ouch, but hey, it's a warm body.

More short season leagues as well as more doubles and trios leagues might also help. Note that you could always put four doubles on a pair in order to not "waste" lanes. Keeping 2-3 people together as a team for 16 weeks is a lot easier than keeping 4-5 people together for 38 weeks.
Posted by: beefers1

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 11:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Atochabsh
Quote:
True, much of it goes into the prize pot, but I'm sure a lot of it still goes to the bowling center.


Most centers price their league lineage by "time of day". 6 to 7pm during the week being the most costly. Second shift leagues usually get a lesser fee for lineage and Seniors during the day and ladies during the morning are even less.


The lineage at the center for Thursday nights is $5 or $5.50/game (not sure) so I guess I can now imagine why the league costs so much.

BTW, it's a trios league, not a 4-person league. My bad.

Don't they usually give discounts for league members, though?
Posted by: MikeHL

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/04/10 11:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Calvin Pistorio
Like Vampyre mentioned, most centers don't care about the league bowlers. They can make more off of open play, that is if they get enough people coming in and bowling. There are even some centers that have opened in recent years that don't allow any leagues and charge per an hour for one lane. They also expect to make more money off the the bar and snack bar from open play bowlers.

All too true. The center in which my Sunday-night league bowls is much like this. I was trying to track down some information recently on PBA Hall of Famer Mike McGrath. In the process, I found that for several years he used to manage the only bowling center remaining in San Francisco. It doesn't have any leagues and doesn't want them.

Originally Posted By: Calvin Pistorio
There are some centers out there that go against the norm though and treat league bowlers very well and the center managers try to help the leagues grow and will try to even recruit leagues from other centers.

Fortunately, the center at which I bowl my Wednesday-night league and the vast majority of my practice sessions is like this. It's known around here as a bowlers' bowling center as opposed to having the more general entertainment base. Hell, the center where I bowl Sunday nights doesn't have a pro shop. They have a White Dot, a Maxim and a T-Zone on the wall behind the cash register w/price tags on them.
Posted by: HughScot

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/06/10 10:07 AM

Originally Posted By: JackZ
Most league bowling is a vanishing minority these days. Most folks don't like the idea of having to spend mega-bucks to be competitive. Before the days of auto-scoring and synthetic lanes you owned 1...maybe 2 balls and worked with that. Now, it seems that if you want to compete you have to have an arsenal. It's become a game for people who have a higher income and the average person gets left out in the cold. Of course the lanes would prefer open bowlers. They don't spend their money on equipment...they spend it in the bar, the snack bar, and the lanes.


Bowling has always been know as a "blue collar" sport due to the low cost. If you think bowling is getting expensive try golf. I've played golf for over 40 years and the amount of money spent by the average golfer per year is substantial....thousands of dollars. Bowling is still a very inexpensive sport. There is a "little ole lady" who bowls in my seniors league who has been using the same ball for 12 years and has a 157 average. That's an extreme but you can buy an excellent ball, drilled for $200 or less. I know everyone wants to have an "arsenal" but I'm not sure it is really necessary. Personally, I can see me using my current ball for spares and one new ball for everything else. I know, I'm naive and a beginner.
Posted by: mtg712

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/06/10 11:43 AM

the house that holds my leagues is wonderful. they treat their bowlers very well. i started in a summer league and one of the perks of that was 50 cent per game till labor day. for xmas the owner ordered a bunch of pizzas and gave them to the leagues. also if your a league bowler games are only 1.79 during open bowling. houses around my area are trying to fill their respective leagues.
Posted by: ecub

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/06/10 12:38 PM

Yeah, I understand your issue, but I guess it's also up to the individual who joins the league. I would have to assume that when you join a league, you're expected to know the rules. But if you don't, you can probably ask. Like for a sanctioned league, our secretary will give the USBC rule book. For a non sanctioned league, our house will usually give a sheet, which contains info on subs, how the handicap is rated, etc. The individual is still supposed to know the general rules.

Posted by: sk8shorty01

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/06/10 01:15 PM

I agree with you Hugh that bowling is definitely cheaper than golf. And you are partially right in that you can get away with a ball for spares and a ball for your strikes because it is a house shot. Because house shots are built to induce high scores a single ball will typically work well in any house on any house shot as long as you are getting something middle of the road that is not going to be to aggressive. The issues arise when you get into the sport shot and competitive world where every shot has a different volume, substantially different lengths and different shapes. This is where the right ball on the right condition comes into play. Without an arsenal you are just hoping that your tool (ball) will match the job (lanes).

You can use a hammer to drive a screw but its not as effective.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/06/10 01:41 PM

Originally Posted By: mtg712
the house that holds my leagues is wonderful. they treat their bowlers very well. i started in a summer league and one of the perks of that was 50 cent per game till labor day. for xmas the owner ordered a bunch of pizzas and gave them to the leagues. also if your a league bowler games are only 1.79 during open bowling. houses around my area are trying to fill their respective leagues.


It must be a Michigan thing being that the State has the most sanctioned bowlers in the country. My house treats us very well too, offering all the perks that mtg712 enjoys at his house. They do not want to lose any leagues and they go out of their way to make it enjoyable for us. Heck I can walk in to practice and if the lanes have not been oiled yet, they will oil a pair just for me. I still believe that ALL centers need leagues to anchor their bussiness, and can't live on open bowling alone.
Posted by: mtg712

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/06/10 02:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Tim Gerard
Originally Posted By: mtg712
the house that holds my leagues is wonderful. they treat their bowlers very well. i started in a summer league and one of the perks of that was 50 cent per game till labor day. for xmas the owner ordered a bunch of pizzas and gave them to the leagues. also if your a league bowler games are only 1.79 during open bowling. houses around my area are trying to fill their respective leagues.


It must be a Michigan thing being that the State has the most sanctioned bowlers in the country. My house treats us very well too, offering all the perks that mtg712 enjoys at his house. They do not want to lose any leagues and they go out of their way to make it enjoyable for us. Heck I can walk in to practice and if the lanes have not been oiled yet, they will oil a pair just for me. I still believe that ALL centers need leagues to anchor their bussiness, and can't live on open bowling alone.


what portion of mi are you located.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/06/10 02:35 PM

mtg712,
I live in Shelby Twsp., not far from Waterford.
I bowl at Troy Lanes in Troy
Posted by: mtg712

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/06/10 02:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Tim Gerard
mtg712,
I live in Shelby Twsp., not far from Waterford.
I bowl at Troy Lanes in Troy


have you bowled at thunderbird lanes in troy.
Posted by: Tim Gerard

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/07/10 08:22 AM

mtg712,

Yes, Thunderbird is a pretty nice house, never bowled league there though.
Posted by: mtg712

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/07/10 03:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Tim Gerard
mtg712,

Yes, Thunderbird is a pretty nice house, never bowled league there though.


the insides nice till you hit the lanes. the board look old and in disrepair. never been to troy lanes.
Posted by: KoukiGS

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/07/10 10:14 PM

The center I bowl at and have since 1992 (minus my 2003-2006 time away from the sport) have always been very encouraging about leagues. They constantly try to get you to join more.

On the same token, I'm one of those people who brings their own food. I've spent 516 bucks on bowling equipment this year and I pay 37 dollars to them in league dues. They've got their money from me. Whats the harm in me bringing in my own 2 liter of soda from work for 90 cents versus paying them almost 3 dollars for a loaded with ice 32oz soda. Or paying 1.00 for the chips they get from the 4.99 24pack at BJs.
Posted by: sk8shorty01

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/08/10 02:22 PM

Kouki, its not the harm that you doing it is causing, a lot of the time its the message it sends. A lot of open bowlers might see that and they in turn try to do the same thing, not realizing your rational for why you bring your own food. They just see it and say, hey, good idea!

Now the center isn't making the money from the snack bar that they expected from their open bowlers because some of them are "sneaking" in food and drinks. Its not a lot of money they are losing from one person, its the money they lose collectively from the entire group.

Its similar to a bar making a big deal about a bartender pulling off the auto-pours on the tops of the liquor bottles. The bartender is thinking, "who cares, its only an extra splash" but they don't see that all those extra splashes from every bartender throughout the year in every drink can total up to big money.

Its all business, they are in it to make as much money as they possibly can, no matter where that money comes from.
Posted by: Domokun

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/08/10 03:25 PM

Originally Posted By: KoukiGS
Whats the harm in me bringing in my own 2 liter of soda from work for 90 cents...


Sorry, gotta ask you, Kouki: You drink a whole 2 liter of soda during league? I mean, I just have this vision of you two-hand holding a 2 liter up to your mouth and downin' it between shots.
Posted by: KoukiGS

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/08/10 03:54 PM

Nope. 1 Handed lol...
And no I don't drink the whole 2 liter. No one needs that much sodium during a physical activity. I'll bring one that's already opened from my house. At that point it becomes pay 1-1.75 for a 20oz soda, or bring the partially drank 2 liter from your house that you paid 88-1.00 for...

And I do see the not getting the snack bar money. They've also given us a VIP card for cheaper food and drink which is for use during league play however no one ever takes the discount off for you or claims you can't use it during this league. That is a big part of my reasoning right there. Why offer someone a discount during "league play" and then not allow them to use it during "league play"? At this particular house, they used to have signs that said no outside food or drink, however... those signs were removed this year. So, I guess that means fair game.
Posted by: Domokun

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/08/10 04:53 PM

Totally doing this next Wednesday.

"Hey, whatcha got in the bags?"

"Buncha 2-liters I've been working on since Saturday. Thought I'd just finish 'em off here."
Posted by: KoukiGS

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/08/10 05:09 PM

haha. Let me note that if they would actually let me use the discount they offered us there, I would buy the soda there. I was upset as I've been bowling there for almost 17 years now. I felt disrespected. So that's why I disrespect them with quarter or half filled 2 liters.
Posted by: Domokun

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/08/10 06:02 PM

I did have a part in there about messing with my teammates. Guess I chopped that part off before I posted. I really don't care what the house thinks (AMF Crappandale for NoVA crowd here).

You'd disrespect them better by throwing your empties at the front desk. laugh
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/08/10 06:03 PM

Originally Posted By: KoukiGS
haha. Let me note that if they would actually let me use the discount they offered us there, I would buy the soda there. I was upset as I've been bowling there for almost 17 years now. I felt disrespected. So that's why I disrespect them with quarter or half filled 2 liters.


They give you discount cards because you are in league but then refuse to let you use them during league, how asinine is that? I think they are truly too lazy or not smart enough to know how to use it.

I bowled a few years at a center that did that, part of the AMF chain. We never had any problem using the card at that center or any other AMF center. We would often get the discount without even having the card since most of the workers would know the regulars that bowl league and bought a drink every week.
Posted by: Domokun

Re: Intro to League Bowling - 01/08/10 06:27 PM

Seems like we've had that discussion about AMF in this area before. One house got the corporate memo about entertaining the leagues with discounts, bend over backwards service, and maintaining a pattern. The other, less than 10 miles away, believes in having a full bar--that service is 100% friendly and attentive.

Both throw the discount keychain convenience cards out like they're candy, however. Lost yours? Have another. Grab a handful out of this box. Take all you need.