Article Contents

  • 1. String technology
  • 2. Bowling’s unique situation
  • 3. USBC’s string pinsetter study
    • 3.1. Pin spotting
    • 3.2. String interference
  • 4. QubicaAMF’s string pinsetter study
  • 5. The whole picture
  • 6. What’s next?
    • 6.1. It’s up to you
  • 7. References

Bowling is a business like any other. While we in the Bowling This Month family immerse ourselves in the skills and knowledge that are key to better bowling, at times it is equally important to open our eyes to the business side of our sport, off the lanes. Now is such a time, and the topic that is bringing us to a crossroads is string pinsetters.

Purists will no doubt say that they don’t consider this to be bowling and that they will quit if string pinsetters become the norm here in the USA. Proprietors, whether they are themselves bowlers or not, and especially in the aftermath of lost 2020 revenue due to COVID-19, don’t have that luxury and need to focus on the money. There are also those who maintain that the longevity and future of bowling are tied to open play and bowling for entertainment, not leagues and competitive bowlers. In this editorial, we will examine what string pinsetters are, how they work, what research has been done on the matter so far, and how the business side of bowling, regarding string pinsetters, is going to change the landscape for our sport.

String technology

Developed back in the 1960s, string pinsetters are machines where there is a cord attached to the top of each pin. When the bowling ball knocks down the pins, the machine simply pulls the pins up by their strings and replaces the pins back on spot for a spare attempt, or the entire rack for a strike attempt. These machines have traditionally been used on small non-regulation lanes, as parts of carnivals, or in the entertainment section of some bowling centers. In Canada, where string pinsetters ...

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Joe Hoenig

About Joe Hoenig

Joe Hoenig is a USBC Silver coach and a graduate of the Dick Ritger Bowling Camps. A Licensed Master Social Worker by profession, Joe works full-time as a Clinical Trainer and Educator for a health insurance plan and takes his love of teaching and bowling onto the lanes, coaching both youth and adult students of all ages and skill levels. Additionally, Joe is a volunteer coach for the Suffolk County, NY Bowlympics youth travel league, which calls South Levittown Lanes its home.