RiversEdge installs synthetic lanes
For the next few weeks, however, workers are installing a synthetic surface on the alleys at RiversEdge.
Synthetic surfaces are the growing trend in bowling, but RiversEdge is the first Janesville center to, ahem, change lanes.
“I’d say 60 percent of the centers have it,” said Tom Jones, proprietor of the local center.
Jones’ sons, Chris and Jamie, who help run RiversEdge, finally convinced their father to get with the times.
“Nobody likes change,” Jones said. “It took me a while to pull the trigger. But when you consider the costs, it makes sense.”
Jones said he spent approximately $12,000 to $20,000 each summer to sand and re-coat the lanes. The new laminated surface will reduce that annual cost and extend the life of the lanes.
The look of the lanes won’t change.
“The average person walking in the door wouldn’t notice the difference,” Jones said. “But the tournament bowler understands the difference.”
Jones didn’t notice any difference when he threw the first ball on the new lanes Wednesday afternoon. His first delivery resulted in a strike and a round of applause from workers and employees.
“I used the same ball and the same line I used when I last bowled last Tuesday night,” Jones said.
When league seasons opened in the past, the lanes would be almost white after the summer sanding and other work. But after a few months of the regular season, ball impact marks and the heavy use would change the alleys.
“When we install synthetic lanes, they will always appear bright and new, and the surface will not change throughout the season like our wood lanes,” Jones wrote in a letter to all league bowlers.
Lane conditions will change, but not to the extend wood lanes do, he said.
Workers are installing the new lanes eight at a time. Jones waited until his fall/winter league seasons were done before starting the turnover.
Jones told league members that there would be some subtle differences in the lanes, but that scores should not suffer.
“Synthetic lanes are just the next step in the evolution of the sport,” Jones wrote in the letter. “Eventually, every center will have synthetic lanes.”
The first eight completed lanes were used in league bowling Wednesday night.
Jones also is offering existing existing league bowlers and their families the chance to bowl on the new lanes for $1 a game on Monday nights.
The synthetic lanes are screwed down into the existing wood lanes. The work should be completed by the end of May.