RULE CLARIFICATION - "USBC Approved Anytime" Ball Cleaners. Any time..?

Discussion in 'Main Forum' started by jason_doust, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. jason_doust

    jason_doust The Bowling Geek

    One for the rulebook aficionados out there.

    If your ball cleaner is "USBC Approved Anytime", does that still apply in TBA sanctioned play? I thought that cleaning the ball comes under altering the surface and is only ever permissible at a change of game block, as defined by the tournament rules. I don't believe that the "USBC Approved Anytime" product approval means you can spray and wipe your ball every shot if you choose, as this is changing the surface of the ball beyond wiping it with a clean towel.

    Can somebody clarify this for me please? I know I'll spend ages and not find it, whereas there are folks out there who will know just where to look.

  2. granat

    granat Total Bowlerer

    This is from Version 8.5 (8/10/2011) of the TBA rule book

    Altering the surface of a bowling ball by the application of any substance, liquid or abrasive, including the use a recognised ball cleaning or polishing machine during a series or session of continuous games is prohibited. Refer to Rule 128 for the definition of a session of games. A ball may be wiped with a clean cloth or towel at any time. Penalties apply - Refer Offence No. 511.

    A session of games is essentially from lane change to lane change

  3. jason_doust

    jason_doust The Bowling Geek

    I knew I should have asked John Coxon first!

    From the man himself: “It has been discussed by the TBA Technical Committee and the existing TBA rules will not be changed. They can be used before or after a session of continuous games as defined in Rule 601. A session of continuous games is defined in Rule 128.”

    So please note. "USBC Approved Anytime" isn't literally that. For example, you can clean your ball before and after league (after is better when the oil is on the surface) but not during league or tournament play.
  4. androooo

    androooo hmmmmm...... Staff Member

    My understanding in "TBA Sanctioned" events, is dry towel only.

    That is one of the only differences between USBC and TBA rules from memory.
  5. androooo

    androooo hmmmmm...... Staff Member

    Here's another "grey area" question, that to me, is within the rules.

    Grab a polished ball... throw a few shots and you find that the ball is a little "squirty" on the pattern.

    Pick up a microfiber towel that is sold in almost every proshop, and scrub the surface with some force. The Microfiber towel will actually scratch the surface, and increases the friction. Ball faces up a little earlier... PROBLEM SOLVED

    Now, it is a dry towel... nothing against the rules... I have tried it, and it does work ;)
  6. Phluff

    Phluff Member

    Well technically even that is too far : "by the application of any substance, liquid or abrasive", a towel is a substance.
  7. jimcross

    jimcross Active Member

    I DUNNO ??? Now we've got to distinguish between "wiped with", and " scrubbed with." ????
  8. Ryan_E

    Ryan_E Ryan Edgar

    But every time I wipe my ball after I bowl I'm wiping it with oil!! :'(!!!!!! Oil is a liquid!
  9. JWhitty

    JWhitty Code and Scoring Guru

    The other thing you could do is wipe it clean, then rub your hands on it really hard. Coverstocks are actually quite soft, and your skin secretes a variety of oils - especially effective if you have a high sodium diet and actually sweat a rougher saltier sweat.

  10. CHIN

    CHIN Well-Known Member

    whats belmo gunno do
  11. wchester

    wchester Bowling Tragic

    actually there is no TBA sanctioned play..I'm not too sure what anyone even enforces their rules because the TBA does not sanction a damn thing. Just ask them.
  12. cruzin

    cruzin Member

    In the entry form for the Seniors AO at Keon Park last weekend, the tournament was listed as TBA "accredited". Is that different from "sanctioned"?
    In the tournament briefing we were told that it was okay to change the surface or your ball in anyway you wanted during the tournament as long as it was between blocks and not during actual play.
  13. jason_doust

    jason_doust The Bowling Geek

    Let's apply the "reasonable person" test from common law. I imagine you'd have to be leaning on a microfibre towel pretty damned hard to do that. I can see some hack trying it on though. The more idiot-proof you try and make things, the better an idiot they'll build.

    :) Clean your towel more often then! If it's wiping oil on, it's useless (and probably quite smelly!)

    :p Eeeeuuuuwwww..!!! Clean up your diet immediately then! The additional strength and fitness from this move will give you more hook! It's not just your towel that's gonna pong with advice like that Jefferson!

    Good to clarify. "Accredited" is the correct term these days. "Sanctioned" is an old term (and not quite the right definition) from ATBC days. Apologies for the confusion.

    Anyway, if you can't hook a ball these days, especially on a 10:1 social play, I mean Seniors pattern, it's an issue of technique. Seek the assistance of a coach. Bowling balls have NEVER hooked as much as now!
  14. Paxed

    Paxed New Member

    The USBC has cleaners that are approved for use before and after competition, but they also have cleaners approved for use at anytime during play.

    From the USBC rule book:

    Commonly Asked Questions – Rule 18.

    18/1 When can an acceptable cleaner be used on a bowling ball?
    Unless otherwise provided by league or tournament rule, cleaners designated as acceptable
    by USBC standards can be used on bowling balls at any time during USBC competition.
    For a
    complete list of acceptable cleaning agents, see

    18/2 When may I alter the surface of my bowling ball?
    a. Cleaning – Cleaners approved for use anytime may be utilized before, during or after
    certified competition
    cleaners approved for only before and after competition may only
    be used during these times.
    b. Sanding – You are permitted to sand the surface of your bowling balls prior to certified
    competition, however, the use of abrasives is strictly prohibited once the first ball is
    thrown in the competition.
    c. Polishing – You are permitted to polish the surface of your bowling ball prior to certified
    competition. However, once tournament or league play begins, the use of a ball spinner
    is strictly prohibited; only an automated, self-contained polishing machine may be used.

    However, here in Australia TBA rules state:


    Cleaners may be used to clean the surface of the ball before or after a session of play, provided:
    1. They do not affect the hardness of the ball.
    2. They are totally removed from the surface of the ball before delivery of the ball.
    3. They are not used during a series or session of continuous games.
    Any ball that does not conform to any of these provisions may not be used in TBA competition.
  15. JWhitty

    JWhitty Code and Scoring Guru

    THAT's interesting, the USBC allows you to polish a ball during competition but not sand it. I wonder if that is a deliberate move or if just the way the chips have fallen.
  16. jason_doust

    jason_doust The Bowling Geek

    Sanding is a lot more destructive to the lane surface than polishing. (Hmmm... petrochemical residues though... Not to mention non-approved silicone polishes - they can penetrate the bond in a timber lane base coat, causing it to de-laminate.)

    The rule probably has more to do with protecting centre revenues on polishing machines though. Imagine if you'd just shelled out for a Storm Surface Factory and your league bowlers were too scared to use it.

    Anyway "USBC Approved Anytime" is not the case in Australia. Personally, I think it shouldn't be either. The current rules allow ample opportunities for surface adjustment and maintenance. We have to try to hold what vestiges of resemblance to being a sport that we still may have.

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