“Basically, what this is about is learning how to pick up your spares,” Glen Este bowling coach and league member Kathy Demarko said. “It’s spare shooting, it’s learning how to be more accurate.”
So, what is the PBA Experience and why is it so hard?
For this league event, Cherry Grove sets up the lanes with a different oil pattern that makes the bowlers adjust how they normally throw in order to create the best results. There are various types of “shots” all with different names and each one requires a different approach to how the shot needs to be played.
The five different shots – the Chameleon, Scorpion, Shark, Viper and Cheetah – are determined by the amount of oil placed on the lanes, the oil pattern distance and the total number of boards crossed.
“It’s different. It’s harder and you have to focus,” Demarko said. “You’re bowling equipment has to be specific to it, depending on the shot, so yeah, it’s a big difference.”
Demarko went on to explain that the PBA Experience is very difficult and frustrating for most of the people in the league because it takes their usual 200-average and knocks 15-20 pins off of it because of the different oil patterns.
Adam Miz, another bowler in the league, enjoys the challenge of the PBA Experience.
“It’s a challenge, at least for me,” Miz said. “For (the other people in the league), it’s there for them to say that they did the same thing as the people on TV.”
Miz, who bowls on the regional tours and has ambitions of going pro, says the challenge of trying to hit one board and control his ball that way is what will make him a better bowler. On the other hand, the house bowlers in the league aren’t as keen to be as precise. Miz said that they would rather have 15 boards to hit and see their scores go higher.
Miz explained each shot in detail, from the approach to lane conditions and the different ways that the oil patterns will affect each shot. The more shots on each lane, the more adjustments need to be made with your own shots.
While the regular bowling leagues deal with the different shots, Demarko set up a junior PBA Experience so that kids still in gradeschool and high school can tryout their skills on the different patterns.
Each Tuesday night, that’s the scene at Cherry Grove Lanes. There will be people like Miz who are looking forward to the challenge and there will be the house bowlers who are simply trying to keep their averages up.
Either way, when the night comes to an end, each bowler has a better appreciation for the skill it takes to be a professional bowler.