The Great Misconception About Professional Bowling.

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
The Great Misconception About Professional Bowling.
(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images For DAGOC) Paul Gilham

There is a misconception about professional bowling. It's one that most average everyday bowling for fun, cosmic bowling and even some league bowlers make.

Professional bowlers are better than you...they are alot better than you.

They are better like Tiger Woods is better than you at golf.

How you ask? I saw that pro bowler on ESPN last year shoot 195...I can bowl 195...I can even bowl over 200 sometimes. I'm a league bowler and I average 200.I guess that means I can bowl as good as the pros.

Let me explain how much better these guys are than you.

Most Pro Bowlers were at one time were League Bowlers. The top pro bowler in average for 2009 is Bill O'Neil at 222.34.

Look up your local bowling leagues and you may find several bowlers averaging 205-225. The pro bowlers in their leagues will most times average anywhere from 230-250.

Unlike golf, where fans can see five inch rough at the US Open, a pro drop a 40-foot putt or a pro hit a five-iron 210 yards, it can be difficult for a spectator to understand the difficult lane conditions that the pro's bowl on.

Most bowling leagues are setup to encourage high scoring. 

People want to throw strikes. Typically this is called a "house" shot. 

From between the first and second arrows to the gutter, the lanes have less oil than the middle part of the lanes. In bowling terms, less oil promotes a hook on the bowling ball.

More oil and the ball hooks less.

If you throw the ball outside it hooks towards the strike zone, i.e the pocket, and if you throw it inside, the oil keeps the ball from moving away from the pocket.

In essence, a funnel effect is created on the lane and a reasonably accurate bowler can shoot some very good scores.

What the professionals bowl on is much different, even though the lanes look the same. They bowl on a variety of oil patterns.

Sometimes the outside part of the lane is very oily, and the inside part drier. This requires an extremely accurate shot to throw a lot of strikes.

Throw the ball to far outside and the bowling ball won't hook enough, miss inside and the ball will hook away from the pocket.

Another layout is that there can be a lot of oil all the way across the lane, from gutter to gutter. This means there is virtually no location, i.e no dry part, on the lane that will promote a hook.

The pro must rely on their technique, and bowling ball choice, to throw the high scores they do.

We haven't even begun to discuss the angles in which the professional will attack the pocket, big hooking shots or fairly straight shots; Most pros are capable of either.

Not to mention the pros are virtually automatic when converting two pins or less on spares; Where a good league may bowler miss one out of 10 Spares, a pro may miss one in 30.

Bowling at it's highest level takes much more skill than most people are aware of.

Check out my recently created sports blog:

Follow B/R on Facebook


Subscribe Now

By signing up for our newsletter, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up.