The answer is YES, you can become a professional Bowler!! It will take lots of work, effort, money, and real dedication. But if there’s a will, there’s a way. The PBA is divided up into seven regions and depending on where you live will determine the region you'll be in. Pro bowlers can make anywhere from $100,000-$300,000+, and tournaments are where most of them make their big money. The richest bowler currently is Walter Ray Williams Jr.with almost 5 million dollars in winnings and 47 titles under his belt!
There are specific guidelines and rules that must be followed according to the Pro Bowlers Association (PBA), and you must fulfill at least ONE of the following and be at least 18 years of age:
****A STANDARD MEMBERSHIP:
* There is an Initiation Fee and a cost per year of $145+ (or a monthly fee if you don’t want to pay in one lump sum). * Allows you to bowl in THREE Regional Tournaments.
* Allows you to bowl in THREE PBA Tour Qualifying Rounds (TQR-This
is a tournament in which all NON-EXEMPT bowlers compete prior to a PBA Tour Event).
* Includes a subscription to “Bowlers Journal International Magazine”
* Letsyou receive a PBA Newsletter.
* Gets you bowling discounts-$0-$2.00 games at official PBA Practice Centers.
* Includes a free 14K Gold PBA Ring if you bowl your first 300 game during a PBA competition, and a diamond added for each 300 game bowled thereafter!
****A FULL MEMBERSHIP:
* There is an Initiation Fee and a cost per year ($300+or a monthly fee if you don’t want to pay in one lump sum).
* Gives you the same benefits as a Standard Membership.
* Allows you to bowl in an UNLIMITED number of Regional Tournaments.
* Allows you to bowl in an UNLIMITED number of PBA Tour Qualifying Rounds (TQR’s).
* Allows you to bowl in ALL Senior Tour Events.
* Allows you to have free advertising on a T-Shirt during competitions (if you have a business for example).
* Gets you a free listing on www.PBA.com if you own a pro Shop.
One of your goals as a Professional Bowler is to earn “EXEMPTIONS which will allow you to choose any PBA Tour Event that you want to compete in without having to play in the Tour Qualifying Round (TQR) and you’ll be guaranteed a spot for the season, or for the length of your Exemption which is 1-3 years.
Tour Qualifying Round (TQR)- The PBA Tour Events have only a certain number of spots available to bowl, so the Exempt Bowlers will have first dibs on these, and the only spots still available will go to the WINNERS of the TQR. This TQR is a tournament before the real tournament. There are several ways to earn EXEMPTIONS on a PBA Tour:
*TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS- worth 2 years of exemptions
*USBC MASTERS- worth 2 years of Exemptions
*PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP- worth 2 years of Exemptions.
2. Win a “PBA TOUR STANDARD TITLE”- worth 1 year of exemptions.
3. Place in the previous seasons “WORLD POINT RANKING LIST” (minus those who already earned an exemption, up to a maximum of 42 bowlers)-worth 1 year of exemptions.
4. LEAD in the Non-Exempt members on the “WORLD POINT RANKING LIST” (among the bowlers who regularly bowl in the TQR)- worth 1 year of exemptions.
5. Finish in the top seven of the previous seasons “PBA REGIONAL PLAYERS INVITATIONAL”- worth 1 year of exemptions.
6. Resume a previous exemption after a medical or hardship deferment- the length is determined by the specific exemption you are resuming.
7. Receive a GOLDEN PARACHUTE EXEMPTION from the PBA which is awarded to the NON-EXEMPT player by PBA leadership-worth 1 year of exemptions.
Each of the PBA Tour Events have entrance fees and you can go online to see exactly what these are since they change, and you can check out the schedules as well. They also award COMPETITION POINTS, depending on what place you finish in and which event it is. The major tournaments will earn you more points than some of the other events (Non-members cannot earn competition points). Prior to 2010, the player who racked up the most points became the PBA PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Today, this position is cast by voting.
Your best shot is to win enough “TQR’s” to get into the tournament (to get an exemption), or to rack up the points depending on what place you finish in.
Becoming a Professional Bowler will take a lot of work, concentration, perseverance, and practice. Most pros bowl at least 35-40 games before tournaments and have an average of at least 220. If you bowl exceptionally well (especially under pressure) and can really stay focused, then you can become a champ! If money is an issue, you can try finding yourself a SPONSOR that can pay entry fees for the tournaments that you can reimburse when you win. Or maybe a family member, good friend, or co-worker that has some extra cash lying around, may be willing to be your sponsor. If this is a dream of yours, I say GO FOR IT! You’ll never know unless you try and if you don’t try, you’ll never know if you could have been a great professional! If this has been one of your goals, I wish you GOOD LUCK & GREAT BOWLING!
Join me back here again next week for my LAST BLOG POST.
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.