If you are interested in joining a Bowling League, pretty much all you need to do is call or go to the bowling center near where you live and ask about the different leagues they have. You need to decide which evening and time works best for you, so you can do your best to be there. Most leagues meet once a week or every other week.
If you'd like to bring a friend along you can join together. There are usually 3-5 members on a team so if you have 3 or 4 friends, you can all be on the same team and give your team a cute or catchy name. The Winter Leagues usually start in September and range from 26-36 weeks long, and the Summer Leagues are 11-12 weeks long.
I had moved in the middle of a season and I was able to join a league by calling the bowling center I wanted to bowl at. I told them the evening I wanted to bowl and they gave me the name of the league and the phone number of the league president. Some of the teams were not yet full and needed someone, so I lucked out and got on a really nice team.
Most leagues bowl approximately 2-3 games per week and can take 2-3 hours depending on how many people are on a team (usually between 3 and 5). Most weeks your team will bowl 2 or 3 games against a different team on two lanes.
League prices will vary depending on what area you live in. I lived in New York and in Colorado, and the leagues in Colorado were less per week than those in New York for example. Some may be $10-24+ per week depending on prize money when the league is finished. Senior Leagues are usually less per week, since many Seniors are retired and living on a fixed income.
Rules can vary from league to league so it's important that you attend any meetings they may have, especially on the first night the league begins. League positions for president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary are usually voted on during that first meeting. To be eligible for prizes concerning 300 games one may bowl during the year, you must join a "Sanctioned League" which follows all the ABC Rules (American Bowling Congress). These sanction dues must be paid within the first few weeks after the league begins and the cost is approximately $20+. To be eligible for prize money for high average, high game, and high series, one usually needs to bowl at least 2/3 of a season. So if a season is 36 weeks long for example, you will need to bowl at least 24 of those weeks or 72 games if the league bowls 3 games per week.
You can get a hand book of rules from your league secretary. Some may include facts concerning questions like:
* If a bowler arrives late, can they bowl now or not until the next game begins?
* How many games does the league bowl per week?
* How many weeks will the season last?
* If I'm absent, can I have a substitute bowler take my place?
* Are substitute bowlers allowed to bowl on position rounds? ( Position nights are when 1st place bowls the 2nd place team, 3rd place bowls the 4th place team, etc).
Here are a few types of leagues that are out there for you to join:
1. Mixed Leagues:
In this type of league for both men and women and most of them give out handicaps. Each person receives extra pins per game depending on their average. Some of these leagues work on an 80% or 90% handicap using 200 as a base or 230 as a base. For example, if your league uses a 200 base and your average is 150, the you subtract 150 from 200 which is 50. If your league uses an 80% handicap, 80% of 50 is 40 so your handicap will be 40 pins per game. Prize money at the end of the season is given out to each team. The most money obviously would be given out for the first place team and so on down to last place. Trophies are reserved for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams if the league votes on giving them out.
2. Scratch Leagues:
Scratch leagues do NOT give out a handicap. They have teams made up of 2-5 people and they usually cost more money. Since more prize money is involved, there is more pressure to bowl your average or better each week. This type of league is mostly reserved for those who average at least 180+, so if you want to socialize more, then this would really not be the league for you to join.
3. Senior Leagues:
These Leagues are reserved for those 50 years or older. Usually prizes consist of cash only and they are mostly for socializing. Some even give out free coffee and donuts if it's a morning league!
4. Junior Leagues:
These are reserved for children ages 6-16. Most of them meet on week ends, but some meet after school. Teams vary from 2-3 players and the cost is approximately $9 per week. There is no prize money involved (since they are under the age of 18) but trophies, or gift cards to various establishments may be given out at the end of the bowling season.
There are also many other Leagues available such as Vacation Leagues-where the team that finishes in first place at the end wins a vacation, Mens Leagues-for men only, Women leagues-for women only, and Disability Leagues-for the handicapped, where they have special ramps for the ball to slide down that can be moved left or right on the approach for assisting those bowlers that may need them.
Please join a league if you are not already on one. Averages of most bowlers on leagues will range from very low to very high so don't worry if you are just a beginner. By being there each week, you will be able to improve your average and you'll make lots of new friends in the process!
** Before joining up, please read my blog post on "Etiquette" posted on May 24, 2021 so you will be ready!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing about "Bowling Ball Speeds" and how it can affect your game.
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.