Bowlers headed to the 2012 USBC Open Championships in Baton Rouge, La., will have the opportunity to practice on the same oil pattern and lane surface being featured on the main tournament lanes at the Baton Rouge River Center.
In addition to the 48 lanes that will be constructed on the ground floor of the River Center for the Open Championships, USBC will build four showcase lanes on the venue's second level.
Competitors will be able to book one-hour practice sessions, so they can loosen up and try out their equipment or game plans before their nine games of Open Championships competition.
At the start of the tournament each year, the lane condition traditionally is posted on BOWL.com and is available for download and use in bowling centers across the country to help bowlers prepare. But matching the oil, lane machine, lane surface and environment are proven challenges. Being able to practice on lanes maintained by the event staff, and so close to the tournament action, will provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
As a bonus for 2012, the tournament lane condition will be unveiled and discussed live on BowlTV as part of the Open Championships Kickoff 2012, a live streaming event from the River Center on Friday, Feb. 10.
"We are always looking to enhance the tournament experience, and we're excited about adding these unique elements to the Open Championships landscape," said Brian Lewis, USBC's Managing Director of Tournaments. "It's like a putting green at a golf course or a batting cage at a baseball field. This is something our bowlers have asked for, and we're happy to be able to deliver. And being able to reach out to our bowlers through BowlTV has been a great addition to the tournament coverage."
Along with being able to simply practice on the tournament condition, bowlers will have the chance to receive feedback from USBC Silver coach Bill Hall, who also has found success as an inventor, ball driller and bowling writer.
Hall will be available by appointment from 1-9 p.m. each day for the duration of the Open Championships (schedule subject to change), which will run for 151 consecutive days from Feb. 11 until July 10. Each one-hour coaching session will include game and equipment analysis and tips on how to succeed at the 2012 Open Championships.
"Being able to work for USBC is quite an honor in every aspect of the word, and to have the chance to help and be with the bowlers who really want to take advantage of being at the tournament and competing at their best is a huge compliment in my opinion," Hall said. "I am extremely excited about this opportunity, and not only having them hopefully learn from me, but for me to also learn as much from them."
Bowlers who purchase the new Open Championships VIP package will enjoy a one-hour individual session with Hall as part of their VIP membership. Memberships must be purchased at least 30 days prior to competition to allow time for scheduling. VIP members will have preferred access and will be contacted directly to schedule practice times. For more information on the VIP program, click here.
Other interested bowlers will be able to use the lanes by reservation or based on availability.
Pricing for one pair of lanes for one hour (up to 10 bowlers) is as follows:
- $200: one-hour session with international coach Bill Hall (based on availability)
- $125: one hour of practice during "peak" hours (no coach)
- $90: one hour of practice during "off-peak" hours (no coach)
To reserve your coaching or practice times, call (866) 977-7433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.