Notice Any Changes?
So, you have several league sessions under your belt, it is time to evaluate your ball reaction and make decisions. Have you switched bowling centers? Did your bowling center change their lane surface? Different bowling centers have different lane characteristics. Synthetic lanes are smoother than wood. This will cause the lane oil to stay on the lane surface longer and to carry down quicker. Fresher oil will tend to be tighter (more difficult to get the ball to hook) on synthetics. As the night goes on, the backends will get tighter, causing you to play a straighter trajectory. But as the lane starts to dry out (second shifts), synthetic lanes will hook more than wood. The smoother surface, in absence of oil, will provide more surface area for the ball to create friction. And there is a difference in manufacturers of synthetic lanes. Brunswick synthetics will tend to be smoother, thus more difficult to create hook in fresher oil, than AMF synthetics.
Your bowling center may have had a synthetic overlay (such as Guardian), placed on the lane. Synthetic overlays are softer than either wood or synthetic lanes. It will tend to absorb the impact of the ball and create a greater footprint. Synthetic overlays tend to hook sooner and cause you to make quicker adjustments with your feet and eyes as the lane starts to transition. The longer the section of the synthetic overlay, the quicker your ball will lose side rotation, the more energy it will lose going down the lane.
Wood lanes have the least smooth surface, with the seam between boards. Oil sits on the flat boards as well as in the lower areas in between boards. Putting the same amount of oil on wood as synthetics will result in an earlier breakpoint and a slower rate of oil carrydown. Bowling balls also create dimples in the head area (first 15 feet) when they are thrown. This pounding requires that bowling centers maintain their wooden lanes by applying fresh coats of lane finish or, after high lineage, to be resurfaced. Resurfacing entails a complete sanding of the lanes and a recoating with lane finish.
So if that favorite ball of yours is not acting like it did last year, investigate these possibilities. Consult your local Striking Effects, IBPSIA certified pro shop to see if a new ball may be the answer or whether a surface friction adjustment on old faithful will do the trick.
« Go Back