Choosing a house bowling ball at the lanes


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

During the summer months especially, one of the most asked questions I receive at the local lanes is “How do I choose a ball to use?”

With the local schools on a short break, and even more during a heatwave like we’ve seen recently, families are often looking for things to do together while staying out of the extreme temperatures. Bowling is a popular choice for many families.

Because many summer, recreational bowlers do not belong to leagues, or only bowl occasionally, it’s unlikely they will have their own ball and more likely rely on the ones provided by the center. These are known as “house balls” and you’ll find plenty of them available on various racks near the lanes.

It’s a good idea to take a little time in choosing the right ball, as there is usually a correlation between ball fit and score; a good fit can help your score, while a bad fit can lead to a frustrating time bowling.

There are two main things to look for when choosing a house ball; weight and proper fitting finger holes.

Most house balls have their weight engraved on them, and at Albemarle Lanes, they group the balls by weight with the exception of the balls located on the racks behind lanes 1 and 2, and 11 and 12. Most of those balls used to belong to bowlers, but were later left or donated to the house.

The youngest bowlers should begin with a light-weight ball, like a 6 pound. These are the lightest balls available. For young teens and most young ladies, I recommend an 8 or maybe a 10 pound ball, and for young men, I suggest at least a 12 pound, but maybe even a 14 or 15. The rule of thumb is you should roll the heaviest ball you can handle.

After you have found the proper weight, then you’ll need to find your weight with the right size finger holes. You want the thumb hole to be a little snug, but not too tight and the finger holes to allow you to put your fingers in up to the second knuckle.

Hopefully, using these guidelines to find a good fitting house ball will lead to an enjoyable time on the lanes with your family and friends. Remember though, when all else fails, you can always order your own ball to have drilled to fit your hand perfectly.

In local league action last week, David Ange again paced the Monday Night Trio league with a pretty hefty 228-652, followed closely by John Bradley’s 274-635, Terrence Riddick’s 218-621, and Lake Krehel’s 233 game.

Brittney Gaumond’s 171-481 topped the ladies last Monday, to go along with Amie Wallace’s 161-441, Jackie Bradley’s 150-430, and Patsy Sanders’ 152 game.

The Tuesday Night No-Tap Doubles League witnessed its third perfect game of the season and second in two weeks last week as Rondell Christian bagged his last 12 shots of the night to finish with a 300-945. The high game was Rondell’s second of the season and came just one week after John Bradley accomplished the feat.

John finished behind only Rondell last week as he fired a nice 265-934. Bradley and Christian are holding the top two averages in the league at 231 and 225 respectively.

Woody Heckstall tallied a 277-917 and Merdock Spencer pitched a nice 280 game to round out the men’s leaders.

On the ladies’ side of the leaderboard, Debbie Winslow’s 242-868 was found at the top, just ahead of Brenda Cowand’s 231-763, and Krista Farrell’s 212-762.

The Youth-Adult Crazy 8 league had some more sky-scraper scores last week as Ben Hawkins fired a 273-725, followed by Bryce Hawkins’ 285-721, and Christopher Vinson’s 265-645.

The young ladies were topped by the 206-527 from Elizabeth Scaff, along with a 192-508 from Violet Olds and a 192-492 from Kaylee Winslow.

The men had top scores from Lindsay Perry (276-684), GS Pinner (205-600), and Gary Nistler (188-500).

In closing, if you bowled on a team last season, and your team plans to return this coming season, now is the time to get signed up to reserve your spot for the 2019-2020 season. Albemarle Lanes will host the same leagues as last year, along with the addition of a Wednesday Night 9-Pin No-Tap Doubles League.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling.