What a Shock V! Newton Correct!

What a Shock V! Newton Correct! 
Lou TrunkProfessional lane installer
Two time winner of BPAA Special Projects Award
USBC National Tournament Lane Installer and/or Stand-By Service Manager since 1987

What a whirlwind 10 months it has been, researching the three dimensional force and energy world of a bowling ball’s journey from the moment that the chemical energy a human body turns into rotational and translational energy is applied to the ball at release, until the ball leaves the pindeck on a certain shot. The “shock” we have experienced is in regard to how big of a difference is involved in where the ball hits the pins on two otherwise near identical shots where the only difference is the lane topography. As Sir Isaac shakes his head in disgust over our astound, we watch over and over, with jaws dropped, as even “legal” crowns, depressions, cross tilts, and lengthtilts can combine to produce 8-10 board changes in where the ball hits the pins on two otherwise similar shots.

The lane is the “canvas”, on which we “paint.” The lane machines of today are very good at applying oil consistently to the canvas. The part we are having trouble dealing with, is that oiling lanes identically virtually assures that the lanes will play differently. ASSURES. We have mapped thousands of lanes and haven’t found two the same yet. Obviously, the key to fair play in a certain bowling center, is for all the lanes to be as similar to one another as possible in shape. Then when the paint is applied identically, the lanes will play similarly.

We have recently developed the software to instantly produce 3D graphs and gravity “road maps” of any lane from it’s Lane Mapper data. The Kegel Lane Mapper takes 738 crown, depression and tilt measurements in about 10 minutes over the same area that annual lane inspectors take 11 measurements. 738 vs. 11 in about the same amount of time. The software instantly converts these measurements to easily understood graphics, and compares 1500 different possible lines on every lane to every other lane in the center and calculates the difference between any 2 lanes one could expect due to gravitational influence on a certain line. From 1,000 miles away, having NEVER set foot in a certain center, we are able to describe to the proprietor EXACTLY how each lane in his center plays, relative to the rest. It is truly ground-breaking and satisfying, not to mention stunning to the proprietor. The proprietor has known intuitively that lane 7 hooks more than 8, and/or the high end plays tighter than the low end, and/or you can’t carry the 10-pin across his house on apparently good pocket hits, etc., etc. The reasons are always SO OBVIOUS.

The original flatness rule written in the 1930’s assumed that lanes would regularly be re-leveled by craftsmen (resurfacers). The annual “spot check” inspection was meant to be exactly that – a spot check. If a center failed the spot check – THEY HAD TO RESURFACE THE WHOLE LANE in order to be certified. The resurfacer didn’t just come in and sand the three spot-check areas – he SANDED THE WHOLE LANE! That is the point that the industry is missing! We have totally forsaken the original intent of the rule in synthetic centers, and Fair Play is the casualty. Where a spot-check turns up a problem in a synthetic center, only the problem spot itself is being corrected, and the fact that the entire lane is similarly out of specification IS IGNORED! Amazing. Why can’t a wood center just run a belt sander across the lane at the spot-check point in question and hand-paint some lane finish on the spot with a paint brush and never have to resurface the whole lane ever again?It’s ludicrous. How on earth did we stray so far off course.

The end result is that atrophy from levelness, all over the world, is the rule rather than the exception. Now, this almost universally present and strapping force of GRAVITY, rules the roost across our playing fields, and ball motion has no choice but to succumb. Unlike in golf, we can’t “see” the bunkers and lakes on a bowling lane until we throw a shot into one. “Good shots” are often penalized and “good adjustments” can produce bad results because of unknown topography hazards.  More and more, the winners of bowling tournaments and events are being determined by the luck of the lanes drawn, rather than the skills of the players.  We can either fix it, or deal with it, because it is not going away by itself.

This is the 3D view of a lane that  shows what we see every day that a Kegel Lane Mapper maps a synthetic bowling center. Take a good look. It is what we all have to look forward to bowling on in the future unless something is done to change it. Otherwise, it can only get worse.