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      September 13, 2002:

-Equipment Specifications Committee Plays Key Role In WIBC/ABC Sport Bowling Program

09/13/2002 - Bowling Newsline
      GREENDALE, Wis. - The Women's International Bowling Congress/American Bowling Congress Equipment Specifications Committee works outside the spotlight, but its decisions have a far-reaching effect on the sport of American tenpin bowling.

      The committee's decisions determine what equipment is used in sanctioned WIBC and ABC competition. For example, the committee continues to play an instrumental role in developing the WIBC/ABC Sport Bowling program, which will be highlighted on Monday, Sept. 16 from 8-9 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2. At that time the $25,000 Sport Bowling Champions Challenge at Fern Valley Strike and Spare in Louisville, Ky., will air.

      The Sport Bowling Champions Challenge features the nine 2002 Professional Women's Bowling Association champions from the spring and summer swings battling for the title and the coveted Sport Bowling crystal pin. The field consists of Kim Terrell, Michelle Feldman, Kim Adler, Kendra Gaines, Brenda Norman, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Cara Honeychurch, Leanne Barrette and Marianne DiRupo.

      The Equipment Specifications Committee is a 10-member body consisting of five ABC and five WIBC members plus technical advisors that ABC and WIBC appoint. The committee reviews and makes final decisions on all requests for equipment on which ABC/WIBC approval is required. The committee conducts research for technical specifications, develops and reviews equipment specifications legislation and establishes technical specifications for the game of American tenpins.

      The committee develops test requirements, maintains the testing of bowling products and determines acceptance for use in sanctioned competition. It develops and reviews legislation for specifications and equipment, certification of bowling centers and lane dressing requirements. The committee has the authority to make final decisions on all requests for new equipment on which ABC/WIBC approval is required. The committee reports recommendations and new product approvals to the ABC and WIBC presidents and executive directors.

      Critical direction for Sport Bowling came from the committee, starting with the System of Bowling study in 1991. Sport Bowling is a by-product of the System of Bowling, the body of standards by which the sport is measured. The system involves the combination and interaction of the four key components that affect tenpin scoring: lane surfaces and pin deck area; bowling balls; pins; and lane conditioning. While these elements have existed since tenpin bowling began, they continue to evolve and become more standardized.

      "The Equipment and Specifications Committee has been an integral part in the development of Sport Bowling," said WIBC Director and committee member Darlene Baker. "The Equipment Specifications Committee has been a constant in the development of Sport Bowling lane specifications and regulations since the System of Bowling was created."

      The System of Bowling was formally established in 1991 after considerable discussion and debate within the industry. At that time, it also was determined that the System of Bowling would be revisited by 1997 to determine what changes might be needed to maintain balanced credibility in the sport. From 1992 to 1996, technological advancement occurred to alter the balance of the system. Those enhancements included: lane machines that could apply oil in the same precise amounts and patterns day after day, and also strip and clean the lane surfaces more effectively; the development of different lane conditioners that significantly decreased the depletion and carrydown of oil on the lanes; and new ball cores and surfaces which significantly enhanced the ball's ability to reach the pocket. As a result, the ratio of high scores to the number of sanctioned participants continued to escalate. The System of Bowling was unbalanced and losing credibility within the industry.

      A nine-person System of Bowling Task Force that included representation from ABC, WIBC and the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America was established to examine the issue and determine what changes should be made. In early 1998, the Task Force made the following recommendations, which were agreed to by the ABC/WIBC Equipment Specifications Committee: different levels of competitive standards should be developed and implemented; develop additional specifications for ball characteristics, as well as guidelines to restrict the use of bowling balls that unduly alter or damage lane surfaces and equipment; establish lane conditions that prevent artificial steering of the ball and place emphasis on the skill of the bowler; additional methods to accurately measure the components of the System of Bowling must be developed in order to maintain the balance.

      The new sport level, called Sport Bowling, was developed to address those concerns. With an emphasis on challenging lane conditions, Sport Bowling emphasizes skill and technique while re-establishing credibility to the sport of bowling. Ultimately, the objective is to put the level of success back into the hands of the bowler, and to fortify the credibility of the sport.

      Sport Bowling has been featured in numerous upper echelon tournaments and is used in several PWBA and Professional Bowlers Association tournaments. The PWBA has been a valuable asset in the development of Sport Bowling.

      "The feedback from the PWBA and the PBA has helped shape Sport Bowling," Baker said. "Their input has helped us make Sport Bowling more flexible, but not so much that it at affects the credibility of the program. Sport Bowling is always evolving to provide fair conditions for those who want to be challenged.

      "With the Sport Bowling Champions Challenge, you will see friendly competition, great bowling and strategy on the lanes. It is exciting to watch these players change their strategy, try to react to the lanes, make adjustments and try new approaches. That is Sport Bowling."

      For the latest information on Sport Bowling, visit For more information on PWBA events and players, visit

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