Today, we are going to talk about a little pet peeve of mine. And something tells me I am not alone.
You know how when you’re bowling league and pair-to-pair, week-to-week, you notice some – or a lot – of variation between lanes or pairs? And you know how that one guy – every center/league has one – that is complaining that the oil is different on each and every lane?
Well I just want to shed some light on that misnomer. While it is “possible” for a lane machine to experience some slight inconsistencies, due to age, poor maintenance, or what have you, it is far more likely that the lane-to-lane topography differs.
Today’s lane machines are incredibly precise. Companies like Kegel and Brunswick do a fantastic job with their machines and, honestly, while they do need occasional maintenance, these things practically – and in some cases do – run themselves. And they run at a very high level. So, unless your center is still using some old silver bullet lane machine, it is unlikely – though I guess not completely impossible – that the inconsistencies you’re experiencing lane-to-lane is due to the lane machine.
As I said before, it has far more to do with the topography of the lane. What I mean by this is the variation in overall shape of the lane, itself. This is typically impossible to see from the naked eye, but understand that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Topography is the single greatest variable and factor in bowling today. Centers are getting older and older every year and lanes and pairs are getting more and more wear and tear. There is nothing to do to prevent this, really. And there is also no real “quick fix” either.
So what does that mean for you all, the bowlers? Well, it means you are going to have to understand it, deal with it, and get used to it. But understanding that it is the problem and not the pattern can help you a lot going forward.
How does it help, you ask?
Well, if you bowl in a center regularly and if you know the characteristics of a certain lane/pair, then you will know how to adjust accordingly to deal with that particular lane/pair. Unlike oil, topography doesn’t change shot-to-shot. If you know the characteristics of a lane/pair, the next time you bowl on that given lane/pair, you’re going to be way ahead of your competition.