To encourage more bowlers and leagues to take advantage of competing on challenging lane conditions and to improve certified tournament average integrity, the United States Bowling Congress will make several enhancements to the Sport Bowling program for the 2015-2016 season, which starts Aug. 1.
Leagues choosing to compete on Sport lane patterns now will have the opportunity to report as a Sport/Challenge league without submitting lane tapes or requiring bowlers to purchase membership upgrades. The USBC Sport membership, including the awards program, will be discontinued as bowlers no longer will need to purchase a membership upgrade to compete in Sport leagues.
“We are removing what historically has been noted as the two largest barriers to participation – the membership cost for the bowler and the additional work required by those running Sport leagues – so more leagues can take advantage of Sport patterns,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. “Removing the barriers will improve the average integrity for all certified tournaments, which is the key reason for the adjustment to the program.”
The Sport Bowling page of BOWL.com will re-launch July 1 with complete information and reference materials for bowlers, league secretaries and proprietors. The page will have Sport Bowling patterns, video tips on how to play certain Sport patterns, ideas for league formats and more information to help start and run a Sport Bowling league.
“USBC will lose some revenue as part of the switch, but average integrity is important to the future growth of the sport,” Murphy said. “We also want to encourage bowlers and leagues to take advantage of any Sport Bowling options they choose. Whether it is PBA Experience, Kegel Challenge, World Bowling or others, we should see more competition-level patterns in use because the process will be as simple as certifying the league with the new designation with no paperwork or tapes required.”
Starting with the 2015-2016 season, leagues that want to compete on Sport Bowling conditions will designate as a Sport/Challenge league on the league application form; bowlers competing in the league will have a corresponding icon next to their average for that league.
Because Sport Bowling conditions are more challenging than typical league conditions, bowler averages on Sport conditions usually are lower. Designating these leagues moving forward will assist league and tournament operators in automatically adjusting averages for a bowler.
The Sport Bowling Average Adjustment Scale also has been modified, based on data of more than 20,000 averages, as part of the Sport Bowling makeover. The new chart can be found here. The scale, of course, does not supersede a tournament director’s ability to adjust any bowler’s average upward for a tournament.
The Sport Bowling program started with the 2000-2001 season in response to technology changes in the sport. Sport Bowling emphasizes the bowler’s ability to make consistently accurate shots and to know when to make necessary adjustments. Most major USBC events, the PBA Tour, PWBA Tour and World Bowling events are conducted on Sport Bowling patterns.
Go to BOWL.com/SportBowling to learn more about Sport Bowling.