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Today is  Sunday, February 07, 2016

The American Bowling Congress.

As bowling became more and more popular, it became apparent that a standard set of rules and regulations had to be established. Most bowling alleys did not have a standard for pin weight, size, ball weight/size and lane dimensions. This obviously caused several problems when people bowled in more than one house. The American Bowling Congress a for profit, non-governmental institution was established in 1895 to standardize the bowling industry.

To "enforce" these standards in all houses, the ABC sanctioned (inspected and approved) all houses that met the new rigid standards. This sanctioning allowed the bowling establishments to form ABC sanctioned leagues and hold ABC sanctioned tournaments. The importance of this was not trivial. The ABC provided varying levels of awards and recognition for excellence which, until the establishment of the ABC, was not widely available to the average bowler. These awards, especially the coveted 300 patch and ring because highly prized and sought after by bowlers. The percentage of unsanctioned leagues started to drop dramatically.

Additionally, the ABC provided strict yet flexible rules and regulations for league play and tournament play. This helped establish common ground rules in all sanctioned events. The ABC also established a governing board that was the final authority in any league rule disputes. Today, the ABC has over 2.9 million members bowling in literally thousands of leagues all over the United States and selected countries throughout the world. Membership to the ABC is usually provided through your local league and mandatory in ABC sanctioned events. Membership is good for one year and includes summer leagues in the year membership.

An interesting side note is that during the league season of 1990-1991 there were 14,192 sanctioned 300 games by ABC members, while during the 1961-62 season (the earliest statistics 300's were kept), there were only 790 sanctioned 300 games. Ironically in 1962 there were 11,476 bowling centers, and according to the ABC, in 1992, the number had dwindled to 7,904.


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