Log in Subscribe
Bowling Highlights

So you wanna be a pro

Ed Townsend
Posted 4/22/22

Behind the scenes of the great game of bowling I have had the opportunity to interview many local amateur league bowlers who expressed to me that they were going to bowl with the Professional …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Bowling Highlights

So you wanna be a pro


Behind the scenes of the great game of bowling I have had the opportunity to interview many local amateur league bowlers who expressed to me that they were going to bowl with the Professional bowlers.

These local bowlers have said to me, “I just bowled a better score than the pros did on TV this week. I should be a pro bowler.”

It’s not nearly that simple. I remember asking one bowler what his high score was and he said a 279.

I asked the local bowler his average and he noted that he was averaging 233, which is a pretty fair average in local league bowling.

I told this local bowler that he probably would not enjoy the opportunity to bowl with the pros and that he would return home with hopefully a 165 average.

So off to the U.S. Open he went. I, of course, was covering the event in North Brunswick, New Jersey and the sad results he came back to his local bowling house with, was his professional debut average of 163.

Sadly to say I have not seen any local bowler say they wanted to try and join the PBA after competing in a regional or regular tour event.

After my many years of newspaper coverage at the professional tour level, when I hear a local bowler is going to go and bowl at a PBA tour tournament I just sit back and say, “It’s not nearly that simple, but it is possible.”

For any local league bowler can consider applying for membership in the Professional Bowlers Association tour, they must fulfill at least one of three qualifications.

First, they must average 200 or better, with a minimum of 36 games bowled, in your most recent league season.

Second, they should average 190 or above in a sports league sanctioned by the United State Bowling Congress (USBC).

Third, you must cash in a Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) regional tournament as a non-member.

Joining the PBA, let’s assume you averaged 210 in your most recent league season, thus meeting the minimum qualification requirement. This does not guarantee you a spot in every tournament going up against exempt bowlers.

Bowlers want to earn exemptions because it means they can bowl in all PBA events for the length of their exemptions, otherwise they have to bowl in the Tour Qualifying Round.

If bowlers select a standard membership, they are eligible to bowl in three regional tournaments and three PBA Tour Qualifying Rounds, plus three or more open PBA events.

If you select a full membership, you would be eligible to bowl an unlimited number of regional tournaments and PBA Tour Qualifying Rounds.

The goal of all pro bowlers is to earn an exemption.

Becoming a professional bowler is much more difficult than most people realize and remaining a professional is likely almost as difficult.

Beating Norm Duke for a tournament title is not going to be easy, but becoming a professional athlete never is.

Bowling Tip by Mike Luongo

If one studies Rule 31, it’s easy to see why it is an important fact of bowling, as it is simply the exact board the bowling ball will exit the oil pattern.

The rule came out in 2005-2006 and was established by USBC research. The rule says, if you take the length of the oil pattern, and subtract 31, you will get the board that the ball exits the oil pattern.

It is not the break point of the ball, simply the end of the oil or where your ball will exit the oil in that pattern. It does tell you when to expect the ball to begin to break toward the pocket because of the increase in friction on the lane.

So, for 41 feet of oil, minus the 31, your ball is exiting the pattern on the ten board. It clearly gives you a reference point to start from in a new house or tournament bowling.

Most houses will publish the oil pattern. When they are asked about it, they should be happy to tell you the pattern length.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here