John Davis presents an R&D project by the WTBA Technical Committee - the concept of a "Regulation Bowling Ball"


    WTBA News

    Includes a link to a webcast of the presentation

    JohnDavisCEOKegel.jpg John Davis, President of Kegel and chairman of the WTBA Technical Committee, has invited the members of the Bowling Writers Association of America (BWAA) and National Women's Bowling Writers Association (NWBW), who are in near-by Orlando for the USBC Convention, to the Kegel headquarter in Lake Wales, Florida, and some 70 writers (pictured right) 2006WTBATCMVisitors.jpg including Bowlingdigital's columnists Dick Evans and John Jowdy took the advantage to visit the state-of-the-art Kegel Training Center on Wednesday, April 19.

    Billy Hardwick.jpg After a tour by all the Kegel employees and a delicious meal, Billy Hardwick (left), a living legend and the first of just four players who completed the PBA Triple Crown, welcomed the bowling writers. Hardwick, who now lives in Florida, brought with him a rare VHS video, the "Championship Bowling from the 60s", featuring matches between him and Carmen Salvino and Ray Bluth. John Davis then surprised the bowling scribes with the presentation of an R&D project by the WTBA Technical Committee - the concept of a "Regulation Bowling Ball"

    Davis, the world's lane maintainance Guru, is on the Technical Committee of the World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA) since the year 2000 and the committee's chairman since January 2004. He has spent millions of dollars out of his own pocket in the past years to provide fair lane condition in numerous international championships.

    Besides Davis, the Technical Committee of the WTBA consists of Ruben Ghiragossian (Venezuela), Neil Stremmel (United States), Sami Luoto (Finland), William Woo (Singapore), Dr. Pinchas Herskovitz (Israel), Jack Edelaar (Netherlands) and Pekka Korpi (Finland). Technical Consultants are Len Nicholson, John Forst and Ted Thompson (all United States).

    "I was talking about a plan to change the bowling environment for more than 15 years", said Davis, "but I was reluctant to pull the trigger and launch this plan till the Women's World Championships in Aalborg, Denmark, in 2005." The event a.k.a. the Spinners World Championships was the trigger.

    "You must understand that this is an experiment which will take four or five years to become reality," Davis introduced the presentation. The WTBA Technical Committee will be working on this plan as it was accepted by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) as a 'Test Division' for bowling for one year.

    Since the mid-1980s, USBC Specifications and Certification has approved products for international competition such as the World Tenpin Bowling Association and the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs.

    Heikki_Sarso_1937.jpg The presentation by John Davis started with an entertaining portrayal of today's lane man and his numerous tasks, a brief introduction of the WTBA, the Technical Committee and its mandate and included a message from Mr. Heikki Sarso (archive picture), Finland, the President of the WTBA.

    Davis presented an excerpt out of the "Standard Rules for Bowling in the United States (8th Edition from 1892) and listed the the "Gobal Challenges" such as topography, lane specifications (lane specifications were written for wooden lanes in the 30s and 40s !!) and then he came to the modern "Do Do Balls".

    A Do Do ball is an imbalanced bowling ball which means one side weighs more than the other. In 1903 the American Bowling Congress (ABC) allowed Do Do Balls for ABC competitions, in 1913 the ABC made Do Do Balls illegal, and in 1991 the allowed Do Do balls agains and today DoDo balls are still legal.

    "SO WHAT DO WE DO?" asked Davis. Bottom line was ….. it doesn't matter, it costs too much to choose to play the sport of bowling.

    "We, the committee, understand a change in the bowling environment is required for the sport to grow to its full potential. We believe the first logical step toward this change is a "Regulation Bowling Ball" for top level competition," Davis stated.

    He promised "The WTBA Technical Committee will be working on this."

    The WTBA Technical Committee will create the "The World Challenge" - special tournaments with
    • strict bowling ball specs
    • tiered lane condition specs
    • standard formats
    • on every continent in the world
    • and provide this for whoever desires to try it - tournaments or leagues.

    The whole presentation was taped by Bruce Fitzgerald of the Kegel staff and is available in two versions. Windows Media Player 9 or newer required to view.
    56Kbps Modem
    DSL/Cable Modem

    Brian Voss.jpg Norm Duke.jpg The presentation was wrapped up with a demonstration by Brian Voss, Norm Duke, Danny Wiseman and Mike Machuga (from left, clockwise). Before the PBA stars took on the lanes at the Kegel Traing Center, Voss, a PBA Hall of Famer, had a word to the audience and emphasized that none of them is on the Kegel payroll and that they are not endorsing the program. However, their individual sponsors, some of leading ball manufacturers, had nothing against it.

    Danny Wiseman.jpg Mike Machuga.jpg The PBA champions played on four different patterns over eight lanes that had one-fourth of oil that is normally used for today's high tech bowling balls to compliment the WTBA Test Balls.

    "We want to prove that we can make a lane stay stable for 30 games or even more" said Davis, "and the only changes the top level bowler will make is one board to the left or one board right. Scores must not be lower, as we still can make the lanes easy."