Bowling Industry Online

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With all the talk about book stores, as a brick and mortar business, going the way of Woolworth's, it is surprising to note that book sales, at independent retailers, have reached an all time high during this holiday season. When once the mighty Kindle or Nook or I Pad were predicted to make book stores obsolete, the numbers proved that those who predicted this trend, up until now, to be absolutely wrong. Some will point out that the closing of Borders forced people to buy books at independent stores. Others will say that these electronic marvels don't have the breadth of choice that the retailer has; nor do they have the element of "touch and feel." All true. Reports about this phenomenon suggest that people really like books. Actual paper and hard cover books. Even paperbacks. They like to turn the pages; to be able to book mark their place with their favorite bookmarks; to write in the margins and to write dedications in the front. Simply stated, I think people still like this "Old Fashioned" feel in the same way they like the traditions of holiday cards, the tradition of gifts rather than gift cards (although gift cards are at an all time high). Interestingly, personal stationery sales are also at an all time high, even in the age of the Internet, email, text message, twitter post and instant messaging. Doesn't bowling have that kind of traditional fun and nostalgic feel intrinsic in its entertainment value? How many times have you spoken to someone on a plane or at a meeting or at a party and heard them say, "We went bowling for the first time in years. I forgot how much fun it was!" Yet, I can't find a proprietor who is talking about this in their blog, their Facebook posts or even on their websites. Or even, if they do it all, in their media advertising. Maybe we are missing something here. What do you think? Good Luck and Good Hunting.

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Comment by Mike Cook on August 25, 2013 at 6:51pm

I read the comment about the 80% handicap and went through the roof.80% is not close.Lets do some math.160 avg. bowler base of 220 difference 60 pins times 80% equals 48 pins.Add 48 to 160 that equals 208.What about the high avg. player.Someone at 210 gets 8 pins for 218.The average player spots 10 pins to the high avg.before the first ball is thrown! Not to mention that the high avg.player has better equipment,they know how to marry up the equipment to the condition,they know how to adjust to changing lane conditions,they are more consistent and they are far better under pressure. If you want to have an exciting unpredictable league and increase your ability to retain more bowlers,allow everyone to compete.According to a study done by USBC,the actual number that will give everyone an equal chance to compete is 117.5%.Strange but true.However,it takes someone who understands what it would do for your league to implement this.It would create the same effect as 10 golfers with a chance to win on the back nine.I am sure you can think of leagues or tournaments that had many teams competing down to the wire.This is what you would get with fair handicap.Lots of unpredictable,exciting,fun without the domination from the strong teams.

Comment by Lewis F. Sims on December 23, 2011 at 4:37pm


You are so right Fred. As a group we tell them the what but not the why to go bowling. Quality time with the spouse and kids, fun night out with friends, great date night, meet new people, affordable family fun night.... The list can go on and on, maybe we should too.


What is the difference between bowling on a Wii at home and coming to your local bowling center? Social interaction. Then by us providing excellent customer service when they do leave the confines of their own 4 walls they will choose our bowling centers and not the local movie theater or the nearby Applebee’s for a night out on the town.

What is killing us is the person who bowls once a week drunk, averages 220 or better and have more rings than your stereotype gypsy does. Then they watch the PBA on ESPN and think that they can do that too. The moaners and the groaners must be replaced or groomed.

The only way to grow league bowling is to make bowling so much fun you want to do it more often. We need to come up with and embrace new types of exciting formats. This can include such things baker games and different types of points systems that reward skills. Coach them to become better bowler’s not better scorers through lane conditions and bowling balls that should have never been let on the market.

The good news is that with the growth of high school and now college bowling programs we have a new crop of bowlers who don’t complain as much about lane conditions as their parents did. We need to keep in mind that traditional 5 person 36 week 80% of 200 HDCP leagues in which they now have to bowl with their 80 year old Aunt Marlene is not what they are looking for. We need fun and excitement not only for open play but in competition too.

Comment by James Salisbury on December 23, 2011 at 1:20pm

Hello Fred,  I wish all the best of the Holiday Season for you and yours!

You ask the crucial question of the Bowling Industry.... What are we missing?

We are missing the Sport!

You observation, " When once the mighty Kindle or Nook or I Pad were predicted to make book stores obsolete, the numbers proved that those who predicted this trend, up until now, to be absolutely wrong."

suggests the parallel with the bowling industry of the last 40 years. The industry "leaders" steering the marketing of bowling as a recreational activity and allowing the deregulation of the sport may still be to this point, absolutely wrong!

When our customers tell us, "We went bowling for the first time in years. I forgot how much fun it was!" they are exclaiming the pleasure of the moment. Each shot is pure sport. Each moment rapped in the pure excitement of the challenge!

Maybe the reason that we don't find proprietors talking about this is simply that we have been conditioned away from this concept of bowling as a pure sport and we are wrapped up too tight in the marketing of bowling as a recreational pastime.

Be Well!

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