If you’re thinking about getting a new bowling ball bag then there are some things that you should think about before you get one. The first thing you may be thinking about is whether you actually need one or not. I would venture to say that the answer to this it’s almost certainly “yes”. Although “need” is a relative term, think about the things that you need to has to support your bowling hobby. There really aren’t that many. You may want a bowling ball, of course. And you’ll probably do well with your own pair of bowling shoes. But, other than that there aren’t a great many things that you need. So, his bowling bags can be considered optional then I’d say to go for it.


If you’re reading this, maybe you’re actually thinking about shopping for a friend or family member, rather than looking for your own gear. If this is the case, when buying a bowling ball bag is an even better idea. We all know how hard it can be to shop for people. These days it seems like people already have everything they could possibly need or want. So, if there is a person in your life that likes to bowl, then think of this as the perfect gift giving opportunity. Also, if you’re shopping for a couple or for an entire family this is a great opportunity to get a two ball bowling bag matching set for a couple, or a four ball bowling bag matching set for a family.


Let’s discuss the question about whether this is an essential item or not a little bit further.  First off, if you don’t already own a bowling ball itself, then I would say that it really is pretty hard to justify getting a bowling ball bag. But, if you do own your own ball, then it’s definitely something to consider. If you really wanted to, you could probably get away with transporting your bowling ball without a bag. But the thing to think about is the fact that we’re talking about a ball that is perfectly round smooth and usually pretty heavy. Is it a coincidence that the words “bowling ball” closely resemble the words “wrecking ball”? I don’t think so.  So, if you put this bowling/wrecking ball into your vehicle how do you keep it from destroying things?


If you have a trunk organizer of some sort, you could put the ball in one of the compartments and that would keep it secure. Or if you have other heavy objects that you could surround the ball with that would keep it from rolling around and breaking things. Perhaps the best option is to put it on the floor of the backseats either behind the driver’s seat or the front passenger seat. These floor sections are the perfect size for a bowling ball, and while it may still roll around some white it will be kept in a small enough space so that it won’t be able to build up enough momentum to smash anything. Although, since there are certain items like speakers in the lower part of the back passenger doors damage to these areas may be of some concern.


You’re at all like me then after considering what’s necessary to manage and transport a bowl without a bag you may be ready to go ahead and get one. Once you’ve made this decision the next thing to think about is what kind of bag to get. As with many things there is a large variation in price and quality. And also, as with many things, price is not always a perfect representation of quality. Even if you’re willing to pay a little bit more, you may not have an actual need for top-quality anyway. So, these are some things to keep in mind.


While you may not be interested in or willing to get something that’s top-of-the-line, there are some things that you probably shouldn’t compromise on. For example, do you want to make sure that the stitching on the handles where it attaches to the bag is strong and sturdy. Bowling balls can be heavy as we all know, and this is the part of the bag that bears all of the weight of that ball.  If you decide to go cheap and end up with something that has weak stitching on the handles you may end up paying more in the end after going through more than one broken bag.  The zipper is also another area that has to put up with a lot of strain even in normal daily use. Of course, even low-end bags are made with decent zippers but if the zipper does fail it’s pretty much the end of the bag.


In my opinion, those are the two areas that you really want to pay attention to. Of course, bowling balls are heavy so the entire bag will need to be able to endure some amount of wear, but overall even average quality materials and construction can put up with normal daily use. The problem is how are you going to know about the quality of something before you actually pay for it and have it in your hands. One way to do this is to purchase it from a physical store. But, we all know that the number of physical stores around these days he’s gradually decreasing all the time. If you go to an actual bowling alley, you will often find that they sell supplies like bowling ball bags. In this case, you will have an opportunity to hold it in your hands and kick the tires a bit before making a decision about whether you want to actually purchase it or not, but the selection is going to be pretty limited and of course the price is going to be significantly higher than if you bought it online.


At this point, you may be considering an approach that has become all too common lately. You know what I’m talking about, right? You go to the physical store, in this case a bowling alley that sells supplies, find something you like, hold it in your hands, and then find the same thing online and purchase it for a lot less. There’s nothing that can stop you from doing that. I certainly can’t stop you, but if you love the sport of bowling I would urge you to think twice before you do that. Think about the fact that you love bowling. In order to enjoy this thing that you love, you have to have a place to do it. The place to do it is at a bowling alley. In order for bowling alleys to operate they have to be able to make some kind of profit. Of course, they do make money from people like you and I bowling a few rounds, but they rely on other things too.


Another source of income that can really help boost their ability to remain as a going concern is by selling merchandise and supplies. It just makes sense because they already have a large amount of space and it’s not hard for them to use a little bit of it to display some items for sale. So, when you buy something from them and you know that you’re paying a huge markup, don’t take it personally. Think of it as your way to support something that you yourself want to do.

I wouldn’t say it’s a donation but it’s a kind of contribution.


I’ve actually had this conversation with friends before and some of them feel that this is taking a little bit too much personal responsibility. After all, well we do get to enjoy their facility it’s not like we are sharing in the profits that they’re raking in. My response to that is to ask the question, are they really “raking in” profits? Now I can’t say for sure, But I’d say the margins are pretty thin. If the margins were huge they would probably be a lot more bowling alleys around town but we’ve been seeing the numbers dwindle over the decades. That’s why I think we should all think about how we can help make sure that we keep the ones that we still do have.


My friends sometimes also point out the fact that merchandise sales are probably a pretty small part of their overall income. They are example to support this is the food and beverage sales. We all know how much money movie theaters make by selling drinks, popcorn, candy and all of the other delicious unhealthy items there are to enjoy while watching a good flick. This is even more true for bowling alleys because they don’t just sell drinks and popcorn they sell pizza, burgers, beer, chicken wings, nachos, well I think you get the idea the list is pretty long. And it’s not like nobody ever buys these things. Unlike at some other places for entertainment I would say that people make purchases of food and beverages at bowling alleys more than that most other places.


So while I would agree that income from the sales of merchandise is probably dwarfed by food and beverage sales income to a point where it may be almost negligible, I personally still don’t think that makes it okay to use a bowling alleys merchandise unfairly. Using that kind of justification is really just a way to rationalize one’s actions that are wrong. At this point my friends would say that I’m thinking about this small issue way too much, and maybe they’re right. But, at the same time, if we don’t consider things that may seem small they could end up as big things if everyone treats them the same way. And I think this is very possible, so that’s why I’ll bring it up even if it seems like a small thing.


The only way to really resolve the debate about whether bowling alleys need this communal spirit of support would be to look at their financial statements. Now, I just got done talking about how I will go out of my way to think about and discuss something that may seem relatively unimportant. Looking over company financial statements to get a true assessment of whether this kind of personal support is really necessary is one step that I have to admit I haven’t yet taken. Even if I wanted to do this, I’m really not sure if the financial statements of AMF bowling, Bowlero, or any of the other large chains would be available for review by regular people.


I’m quite sure that the financial statements for publicly traded companies are made available for viewing by the public. Or, if they’re not available to the general public, then they should at least be available to investors. And how hard is it really to become an investor in a publicly traded company? Depending on the cost of a single share it could be really pretty easy. I don’t know how much a share of AMF bowling costs right now, but I do own shares in some other companies and most of them range from between five dollars to a hundred dollars or so. Some of the biggest companies sell their shares for over $1,000, but somehow I don’t think that this would be the case for bowling alley chains. If there’s anybody out there that has shares in a well-known bowling alley and would care to take a look at their financials and let us all know how well they’re doing that would be great. It might help settle the debate over how much we should care about buying or not buying bowling ball bags and other supplies for high prices at the bowling alley.


At this point, I’d like to get back to talking about bowling ball bags themselves. I’ve already covered a couple of the main things to consider when you’re deciding how much to spend on a bag. Of course, those are just the functional necessities. If you’re going to get a bowling ball bag, or a 4 ball bowling bag set, or a 2 ball bowling bag set it’s probably be going to be something that you’re going to use for a while. If you’re getting it for someone else, it’s probably going to be some thing that they were going to use for quite some time too. So, why not consider spending a little bit extra to get some thing nice just for the joy of having something nice that you’re going to use for a long time?


We all have our own opinions on what we think of as “nice”. But some common characteristics would include higher quality leather that has a more attractive or smoother surface. They would also include things like solid metal components, rather than cheap materials that are painted to look like higher quality metals. You may not notice it, but I would expect that almost anyone feels a small degree of disappointment when they notice the artificial paint rubbing off on a “metal” piece. It might be subtle, you may not even notice the disappointment consciously, but it’s probably still there. For me, it’s worth spending a few bucks to know that I will always be happy when I pick up my bag and head out to the lanes with it.


Even if you get a bag that’s made of quality materials, and it’s something that you feel satisfied owning and looking at, you still have to consider how to treat it properly after it’s in your possession. For example, the bag might still move around or tip over when it’s in the back of your car. So, if you can try putting another bag next to it to hold it in place. Since bowling balls are heavy if it makes a large number of impacts on the inside of the bag it’s going to reduce the overall useful life of it. It goes without saying that you should also avoid tossing it around. The impact of the bag landing on the ground with a heavy ball in it will similarly reduce its life.


One more thing to keep in mind that I will mention here is to treat the zipper with care. Even quality zippers can get stuck sometimes. If this happens, slow down, don’t force it. Gently try to back the zipper up to get it unstuck and slowly re-zip it properly. Strong, quality zippers and cheap ones alike can become weakened if they are forced and tugged when out of their proper alignment.


Thinking about how to treat your bag is important as we can see from this discussion. But, it’s also important to consider how to treat the things around your bowling ball bag. Because the contents of it make it an uncommon leave heavy object, you have to think about what they can do to things like floors, car trunks, etc. Now I know that nobody would ever toss a bowling ball bag around, especially when it has a bowl in it, but let’s discuss this just in case. As I mentioned previously, if you toss it around it’s going to impact the inside of the bag and potentially damage it or simply reduce its useful life. But, there’s likely going to be even greater damage to whatever the bag is tossed into or onto.


For example, if you toss it into your trunk you have to think about how strong the floor of your trunk really is. Many of us have never thought about what the floor of our trunk is made out of, but the fact is that most of the time it’s made out of a hard cardboard like material. It can’t even really be called pressboard. It’s like cardboard infused with glue. So if it gets damaged or bent, it might be like that for the rest of its days. Functionally it might be fine to have a trunk floor that’s bent or damaged but I don’t think any of us wants that. And if you were to try to get a replacement for your trunk floor you will probably be surprised at how expensive and difficult it is to do. So tossing your bag into the car trunk is definitely not a good idea.


Many of us may not have a problem with avoiding tossing or throwing our bowling ball bag, but we might do some thing a little bit more subtle. Instead of setting it gently on the ground either when we get home or when we get to the bowling alley we might get a little lazy and drop it a few inches onto the ground. Again, we have to remember that this is a heavy object and it can damage floors that might otherwise seem pretty strong. Not to mention the fact that even a little drop when repeated time and again can gradually wear on the bag itself. If you drop the bag when you get home and you have hardwood floors you will likely either dent the floor, or worse yet you could break a panel, especially if you have laminate or vinyl or tile instead of real hardwood. Replacing a single panel of wood or composite in a floor is trickier than it might seem. So let’s all avoid doing this too.


If you’re concerned about your floors at home then you can be sure that the owners of our favorite bowling alleys are concerned about their floors as well. If you drop a heavy ball on the floor and it gets damaged it will surely cost more to repair then it would add your private home. Some accidents are unavoidable. A ball might slip out of your fingers and drop to the ground. This happens sometimes and we shouldn’t be blamed for it. But how are you handle your equipment is completely within your control, so it makes sense to give it a little thought and do it properly.


Finally, one last thing to consider when handling your bowling ball bag is to avoid dragging it, even just an inch or two. Again, because these are heavy pieces of equipment if you drag it on the floor it can easily scratch the floor. This is true, again, either at your own home or at a bowling alley. So when you set it on the ground, try to do it in a straight up down motion. This might be easy when we’re holding the bag and setting it down on the ground so we may need to think about it a little bit more when we pick up the bag.


We’re picking up our bag were usually excited to either get to the lanes or get back home and get on with whatever else we need to do. And that’s why it’s important to pay a little bit of extra attention at this time. Also, we should be conscious of how we place and pick up our bag from inside our car. If we’re pulling it out of our trunk we are likely to do this at an angle. Doing this can’t be avoided, but if you can avoid dragging it along the floor as much as possible you will avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your car trunk floor. If the feet of the bag aren’t perfectly smooth they could tear up carpet and scratch floors that much more easily. So it’s a good habit to check the feet of your bag every so often to make sure that there are no edges that could cause damage.


Hopefully this discussion has provided you with some food for thought as you think about getting a new bag to support your enjoyment of the fantastic hobby of bowling.