Bowlmor AMF Closes Brunswick Zone XL Center

by Bob Johnson 0

The unexpected closing of Brunswick Zone XL in Homewood, Ill., by new owner Bowlmor AMF on Jan. 5 came as a shock to the center’s league bowlers.

It also proved a boon for nearby centers, which quickly absorbed Homewood’s leagues so they could finish out their 2014-15 season schedules.

Even so, Tinley Park Bowl Manager John Hudson had mixed emotions about the closing.

“It’s good for our [own] business, but I’ll tell you right now that it’s not good for the bowling industry,” Hudson told the Southtown Star newspaper. “The bowling industry has been kind of suffering for a while. There are centers closing all the time. This hurts bowling as a whole because a lot of people are going to pull out.”

Brunswick Zone XL Homewood was one of 85 centers in North America purchased by Bowlmor AMF from Brunswick Corporation last September (

The closure came as a shock not only to the center’s bowlers, but also to employees. In an interview with BJI conducted shortly after Bowlmor AMF began the purchase process of Brunswick’s centers, Bowlmor AMF Chief Executive Officer Tom Shannon said, “We don’t envision closing any of the Brunswick centers, or any additional AMF centers as a result of the merger. All the closures are happening in markets where bowling has been in decline for a long period of time, or you have rampant competition and no price advantage.”

To read the Southtown Star report on Brunswick Zone XL Homewood's closing, go to:

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

BJI Subscribe Now