Thursday, May 27, 2010

Extra Action During Bowling League

One of my favorite nights of the week is bowling night. And sometimes when I am feeling positive, I try and turn my night into a little profit. In many of the leagues that I bowl in, some volunteers run sidepots or card games to give you a shot at making a few bucks. For those of you who know how these work, skip to the following paragraph.

Card games are typically cost a dollar per game, and everytime you throw a strike, you get to pull a card. At the end of each game, whoever has the highest poker hand wins the pot. Sidepots are a one on one match play competition. They usually cost around 5 bucks, and you get lined up in a bracket. If you win against your opponent, you move on. If you finish in first or second, you can make some money. Also, you can run a high game pot where the highest score in each game wins the money.

The above games are very common, but I have spent the last few days thinking of more creative ways of running these small cash events. Here are some of the ideas I have had.

1. One idea I had could be played by 5 players. One impartial person will shuffle the cards, and deal out 10 cards to each player. The two remaining cards will not be played and remain face down, along with the 10 cards you as a bowler will have. Whenever you do not throw a strike, you must give up one of your cards without knowing what you are giving up. At the end of the competition, whoever has the best poker hand wins.

2. My second idea has nothing to do with cards, but more with making something out of a difficult situation. You could run a small side pot for almost anything, so why not for the most spare converions, or the most split conversions. This way if you are struggling to carry, you can still come home with a few dollars and maybe a little dignity if you are picking up your spares.

If you win a couple of the events above, you can make a decent amount of money, maybe enough to enough to cover your bowling expenses, or in my case sometimes, the bar tab.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The New Hammer Axe: Not The Best Name

I recently purchased the new Hammer polyester bowling ball called the Hammer Axe. I was very excited when they released a new spare ball, as I am a die hard Hammerhead, but did not like the past few releases. The Black Widow spare ball was cool, but I do not like clear bowling balls like that, but merely a solid and dark colored bowling ball like the Axe.

Then I got to thinking, is Axe the right name for this bowling ball? Many times when we are bowling, we leave more than one pin, for example a 6 - 10. If you only hit one of these two pins, you just chopped that spare. Now, what do you do with an axe? You chop wood. Seems like this may not be the best name for someone trying to sell bowling balls. I sure hope I do not do a lot of chopping with my new Axe!

Monday, May 24, 2010

PBA Regional Bowling Should Be On Xtra Frame

Are you missing Bowling on Sundays? I know I sure am. I look forward to watching the best of the PBA battle it out every week. Now that we are in the off season, and I feel like all I have to do is go bowl in my once a week summer league, and that is all the bowling I get to soak in. I thought of signing up for PBA Xtra Frame, but without live competition going in, this would mostly be watching re-runs and would quickly get old.

For this reason, I wish the PBA would add their regional tournaments to Xtra Frame. They could skip on the qualifying round, of course, but show the match play all the way up to the Championship. I know if they did, they would gain at least one paying subscriber, and am am quite certain many others. PBA regionals can be a blast to watch, and trust me, the regional bowlers are very good bowlers as well. Many of them are aspiring Tour bowlers and could compete at the Tour level.

My message to the PBA, add regionals to Xtra Frame so we can see all the excitement they have to offer, not too mention getting a glimpse of the future stars of the sport.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My PBA Experience League IS Going Rough

As I usually do in the summer, I join a PBA Experience League. There are many reasons to join one, but I do so I can learn how to bowl on more demanding conditions. After all, I am a PBA bowler and bowl in three tournaments a year (I would bowl more, but they are a little expensive). Since I have never cashed, these leagues are great for me to learn more about the shots and how to play and adjust on them. Well so far this year, this has not gone well.

The first two weeks, we bowled on the Cheetah pattern, which of course I hate. The PBA pros score very high on this pattern, but most underacheivers like myself struggle on this pattern for the reason that you have to play outside towards the gutter. This is outside most people's comfort zone, and for some reason mine. My big problem is I cannot find a ball to react correctly, no matter the layout or surface. It either overhooks, or goes to long and snaps to hard in the backend. I guess I have not found that magic equation for me to succeed on that pattern.

Now last week, we bowl on the Chameleon pattern, which I have done well on in the past. However, I just drilled up all new equipment, and not knowing exactly how it would react, I struggled here as well.

The moral to this story is that you must bowl in a PBA Experience League. There is no other way to become a better bowler, be more consistent with your spares, and bowl like the pros do.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Review of the Hammer Jigsaw Corner

For all you die hard Hammer fans out there that liked the Hammer Jigsaw, watch out. Here comes the Hammer Jigsaw Corner. This bowling ball is absolutely nasty, I have yet to come across a condition that this ball will not hook in. The ball has the Hammer Jigsaw Core and the Quick Corner 5/4 coverstock, finished to a 4000 grit with Powerhouse Factory Finish polish. This ball is great for medium to heavy volumes of oil, and that is why I got it. The layout of my ball is 50 X 3 7/8" X 60 using the dual angle layout technique. I have found that this ball works really well early in the Shark PBA pattern, especially since I have sanded the finish down to a 500 grit abralon finish. I also found some success using this bowling ball early in the Cheetah PBA pattern as well by taking a few revs off my normal release and moving right on the lanes. Even though this ball is meant to have a great overall hook potential, it is also very versatile. This is a great bowling ball and I recommend anyone have this bowling ball in their arsenal!

My Review of the Hammer Psycho

One of the recent releases in Hammer bowling's raw hammer series is the Hammer Psycho. This ball has a new core called the Raw-Hammer Assault core and a pearlized version of the Max-Hook Reactive coverstock. The factory finish is a 4000 grit sanded finish with Powerhouse Factory Finish polish. The idea of this bowling ball is to give you good length on medium conditions, with a very aggressive backend. The layout I used for this bowling ball is 60 X 3 3/8" X 35 using the dual angle layout. I wanted this ball to be what I use when there is a lot of carrydown on the lanes, and I need something that will still hit the pins hard. So far it seems to work perfectly, but I have found that in order to really carry with this bowling ball, I have to keep the surfaced roughed up with a 1000 grit finish with no polish on the ball. With the combination of the layout above and a low grit finish, this bowling ball really packs a punch and I have found much success with this bowling on the Scorpion and Shark PBA patterns.

My Review of the Hammer Black Widow Venom

One the Hammer Black Widow was introduced many years ago, I just had to have one and I loved it. I threw that ball for years and finally decided that it was time to upgrade my arsenal. I decided to purchase the Black Widow Venom. This bowling ball has the Widow series core with their Lethal Bite Reactive coverstock, coming from the factory with a 4000 grit sanded finish and Powerhouse Factory Finish polish. The characteristics of this bowling ball give it good length and awesome backend. The layout I used is a 35 X 4.5" X 30 using the dual angle layout. With this layout I hoped to see this ball read the lanes fairly early, and maintain a strong, but arcing backend motion. I will use this ball mostly in medium to heavy oil conditions. I sanded down the coverstock with a 1000 grit abralon pad to get this reaction, and this bowling ball works great for me on conditions like the Chameleon PBA pattern. The way I see it, if the bowling ball your throwing says Black Widow on it, you have a great ball in your hands, and the Venom is no exception to this rule!

My Review of the Hammer Razyr

Hammer has recently done something that no other company has tried recently. They designed a new bowling ball called the Razyr, and I love this ball. The Razyr has a pancake core just like a plastic ball, but it has a much more aggressive Recoil Reactive coverstock. The factory finish is sanded to a smooth 4000 grit finish and polished with Powerhouse Factory Finish. What this means to you is this ball is great for any lane condition where you need the ball to get through the front and middle part of the lane, and maintain a strong backend. I use this ball anytime the front part of the lane dries up and I have trouble with my stronger balls burning up and hooking to early. I thought this would be a great bowling ball on the Cheetah PBA pattern, but I have since realized that since it retains all of it's energy and has a very sharp backend, I did not carry well. I still have the factory finish, and if I roughed the surface up, I bet you could tone down that sharp backend and use this ball on just about any pattern. I have really loved this ball so far and really appreciate Hammer being so innovative and creating so many wonderful products!