Article Contents

  • 1. Coping with the changes
  • 2. First things first, buy new equipment
  • 3. Dead bowling balls? New shoes? Microfiber towel?
  • 4. Surface changing pads
  • 5. Get re-fitted from scratch for your new equipment
  • 6. A heads-up about pro shops
  • 7. Concluding Part 1

Just about every week, I give lessons to someone who left the sport of bowling years ago and is in the process of making a comeback. Some of these returning bowlers just want to get back into league bowling with their family, while others used to be competitive in pro and amateur tournaments and are feeling those competitive juices flowing again.

There are a multitude of reasons these bowlers left the sport: some left due to injury, some for financial reasons, and some just wanted to concentrate on raising their families. A lot of my calls for help are coming from bowlers that have turned 50 years old and would like to give the PBA50 Tour a try. I have worked with bowlers who have been away for four or five years, as well as with bowlers who have been away for 20 years or more.

If you are one of those returning bowlers, I would like to welcome you back to this amazing sport, as well as let you know that things have really changed! How much things have changed depends on how long you have been away. In the last 10 to 15 years, the sport has evolved at an incredible pace, especially at the higher levels of tournament play.

I personally can identify with those of you who are making a comeback. I left the sport of bowling for 12 years for business reasons, and so many things had changed when I returned that I had to literally throw away everything I thought I knew about bowling and start from scratch.

To give you an idea of the era I am talking about, the balls to have when I quit were the White Dot and Yellow Dot by Columbia 300. These were the newest high-tech (or so we thought) polyester balls, which today just make good spare balls. Polyester balls like these were a transition from rubber, and I think I paid around $34.95 for my Yellow Dot.

When I came back into bowling around 1992 (12 years later), the urethane balls of the day were ...

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Ron Clifton

About Ron Clifton

Ron Clifton has been coaching at the professional level for 25 years. He conducts “Advanced Bowler Training Clinics” across the U.S. and is the inventor and manufacturer of Ron C’s Magic Carpet for thumbholes. Ron can be found on the web at