Article Contents

  • 1. Lane surface type and age
  • 2. Layout
    • 2.1. Front desk location
    • 2.2. Temperature/climate
    • 2.3. What lanes do leagues bowl on?
  • 3. A quick mental note
  • 4. Wrap up

Bowling centers around the world all have lanes that are 60 feet long and 39 boards wide with 10 pins standing at the end, but what many people don’t realize is that every bowling center also has certain unique characteristics. These characteristics are products of the center’s age, geographical location, and usage. Just like two holes in golf that have the same yardage, they can be very different in how they are laid out and how you should attack them. In this article, I will discuss what characteristics to look for in a bowling center when you walk in.

We’ll look at the age and type of the lanes, the influence of the center’s layout, and even the climate where and when you’re bowling. Knowing one little characteristic about a center before you throw a shot can sometimes give you a one-shot advantage, which can turn into 10 to 15 extra pins game.

Lane surface type and age

Every bowling center around the world ages differently based on the quantity and type of traffic they have and how well they maintain their lane surface. A house full of leagues will have different surface wear than one with mostly open play. Wood lanes present different characteristics than synthetic ones.

Synthetic surfaces have been around for nearly 30 years now, and many of them are beat up like wood lanes used to get after many years of usage. High performance bowling balls don’t just hook by themselves; they have little sharp “edges” in the coverstock that dig into the lane to help it grab the surface and start hooking earlier. While synthetic lanes might look new or recently installed to the naked eye, they have thousands of little slashes in the front part of the lane from the bowling balls slamming ...

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Josh Blanchard

About Josh Blanchard

Josh was born and raised in Southern California where he found his passion for bowling. Graduating from Wichita State with degrees in Entrepreneurship and Management, Josh joined the PBA Tour and became Rookie of the Year in 2011. Along with three national PBA titles, three PBA Regional titles, and two Collegiate National Championships, Josh co-authored a book, Bowling: Energy in Motion, in 2017. The book has been sold worldwide and focuses on bowling’s mental game. He is a father of three children, an avid golfer, and he competes regularly in long-distance bicycle races.