In 1909, Canadian inventor Thomas Ryan invented five-pin bowling.
Today the Canadian sport is trying to regain its popularity with new upgrades being added to bowling centres across the tri-cities.
Companies are finding it hard to bring new customers in with just bowling.
Some have tried to manage their costs better by switching to cheaper bowling lanes. The usual traditional high-maintenance wood lanes have now been turned into synthetic lanes, which provides a much cheaper alternative to real wood.
Alley owners now also aim for better quality customer satisfaction and sales from food and services, said John Dobos, owner of Dickson Bowl.
“We’ve tried to provide our customers with more than just bowling, by adding entertainment facilities and extending our birthday area,” said Dobos. “We’ve had issues bringing new customers in so we’ve been changing our business.”
Changing the contents of bowling alleys has been the trend for years.
For example: Palasad, a 10-pin alley in London, Ont., was just a simple bar until it added billiards, a gaming centre and bowling alleys.
“Palasad has been around for at least 15 years, but has been adapting to what is seen by the public as a good time,” said bar manager Lindsay Patterson.
Another alley in Cambridge, known as iBowl, has installed glow in the dark mini-golf on four lanes to keep up with the times, said owner Neil Pinhiro.
“Over the last 20 years, iBowl has been under constant renovation. Bowling alleys have to learn to diversify and that’s what we did. The change was made two years ago,” he said.
“It’s improved our incomes during the winter, so it was a good move on our part.”
For five-pin, each player receives three attempts to knock all five pins over. Knocking all five pins down with the first ball is a strike, worth 15 points. The bowler uses a smaller, hand-sized ball that is easier to hold and throw than 10-pin bowling balls.
However, since there are less pins, more accuracy is required.
And if you have horrible aim, there are always bumpers you can put up to stop you from getting a gutter ball.
Five-pin bowling has been around for over 100 years, and the businesses hope it will last for 100 more.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The following are some interesting bowling facts and
– A foul line violation in five-pin results in a 15-point penalty.
– Five-pin was rated No. 4 on CBC’s list of Canada’s 50 greatest inventions.
– The “Weber Cup” is 10-pin’s major world famous tournament.
– Ten-pin bowling has an international ranking system just like professional tennis.