Topography in today's bowling environment

Dec 19th 2022

With the USBC certifying bowling center around the country and advancement in equipment, I feel that it is time that the USBC put some kind of topography specifications into bowling center certification.

Have you ever stood at the ball returned and watched someone else’s ball roll down the lane?  Did the ball look like it was going up a hill or down a hill as it rolled down the lane?  This would be explained by the topography of the lane.  

I have walked into many bowling center, and noticed a bowling ball going up or down the hill rolling towards the pocket.  When I would watch UBSC official certify a lane that I saw this was on, I would alway wonder how that lane passed.  

Over the last several years the USBC has been posting the typography of the lanes that are installed for the Open Championship and USBC run PBA Tournaments.  There is wide variance from lane to lane, and the left to right on each lane.  Kegel had done some media on the huge effects variances can have on ball reaction.  One the best bowlers in the world, Pete Weber did a video with Kegel to demonstrate what kind of reaction difference you can get with topography.

Competitive bowlers have been checking on topography, and adding it into their repertoire whenever it is available. This can be helpful to bowlers entering into the US Championships.  You can download a PDF file onto your phone or tablet, and look at each pair you are bowling on.