MORGANTOWN — For someone interested in bowling, finding the right equipment can be intimidating.
As the sport has grown in technology and popularity over the years, the one-size-fits-all mentality used in choosing equipment, such as bowling balls and bowling shoes, has become as outdated as a VCR or abacus.
Morgantown’s Suburban Lanes and 900 Global, of San Antonio, Texas, held a bowling ball demo day Dec. 2 to help make the decision easier.
“Today’s event was a demo day for consumers to come out and throw our products,” said Dale Garner, director of marketing at 900 Global. “By using interchangeable fingers and thumbs, we’re able to bring in 11 different models and fit most people, probably 95 percent, so they can then throw a ball and compare it to another ball.”
Garner said with the evolution of bowling as a sport, the market for balls has changed, and demo days like his aim to make the process of finding the correct implement easier.
“The balls in today’s market, they all perform differently, so based on how you throw the ball, the speed you throw it, your release, paired with the amount of oil on a lane and different patterns, you use all these variables,” he said. “So what you now have is a group of balls you try to fit into those variables. That’s what today’s event was about, letting people come in and throw them.
“It lets the people understand our product. We build a product line that’s real diverse, but the worst thing that can happen is, say you come into a pro shop and say you want the latest and greatest, but maybe you don’t bowl on a lane surface that has a lot of oil on it and you get the wrong ball. That’s why today’s events are important. They can come in and throw the balls and compare.”
Larry Lichstein, a PBA Hall of Fame bowler who serves as a consultant to the owners and manager of the pro shop at Subarban Lanes, said demo day started 15 years ago and has exploded since with the increase in the market.
“It’s very tough for a lot of people to choose a ball without throwing it, but once you given them seven or eight choices in one day with a staff of experts, they get enlightened,” Lichstein said.
“Today, someone could come in here for $10 and throw $2,000 worth of bowling balls for three hours. They’ll never have that (chance) again in their life.”
Garner said 50 to 60 people came out.
The day was headlined by an appearance by Polish professional bowler and 2017 PWBA rookie of the year Daria Pajak.