Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some Basic Bowling Equipment Specs

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) is responsible for establishing and maintaining specifications (specs) and standards for the sport of bowling worldwide.

Here are some of the basics specs you should know:

1) The bowling ball is about 8-1/2 inches in diameter. The total distance around the ball (circumference) is 27 inches. There's no minimum weight; but, the maximum is 16 pounds. There are various types of materials that the ball can be made of  such as polyester, urethane, particle, and reactive-resin.

2) The bowling pin is 15 inches tall and 4-11/16 inches at its widest part.. Each pin can weigh between 3 lbs 6 oz and 3 lbs 10 oz. In the normal bowling centers, the lower weight pins are used. The Professional Bowlers Tour was authorized to use the heavier weight pins starting in 1998.

3) The bowling lane is 60 feet long from the front bowling pin (the #1 pin or "headpin") to the foul line. From the center of the headpin to the very back of the bowling lane is 2 feet, 10-3/16 inches. This makes the overall length or a regulation lane 62 feet, 10-3/16 inches.

4) The approach area is where you walk to deliver the ball down the lane. It's 12 feet from the foul line to the first line. It's an additional 3 feet to the second (or back) line. The total length of the approach area cannot be less than 15 feet.

5) The width of the playing area of the lane is 42 inches. It's comprised of 39 "boards" which are marked in groups of 5 (the triangular arrowheads on the lane playing surface) from side to side.

There are no defined specifications for bowling bags and bowling shoes, however, manufacturers continue to strive for better fashion and practicality. Multiple-ball bags have made it easier to carry your arsenal to the bowling centers.

The personal bowling shoes have the sole opposite the sliding foot made of a non-slip surface for better traction as you walk on the approach to release your ball. For the sliding foot, there are now accessories (foot sock) or Teflon sole surfaces that allow you to slide even if you step in liquids.

Looking over the history of bowling, 2-holed, wooden bowling balls were replaced by 3-fingered rubber bowling balls. They were then replaced by polyester (plastic), urethane, particle (a hybrid particle), and reactive-resin bowling balls.

As far as pins are concerned, they have evolved from "wooden sticks" to a more durable wood-core with a plastic coating around them. Recent technology has brought to existence "synthetic pins."

Bowling lanes themselves have come from three different types of wood to the now more common synthetic lanes which are more durable and last longer than the older wooden type.

What you should watch are the advancements in bowling ball technology and bowling lane oil specifications. These two variables are the most likely to change in the future as the sport of bowling continues to advance in popularity and participation.

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