Wed. Dec 6th, 2023
    A New Era in Bowling: The Rise of String Pinsetters

    Kevin Mills, an avid bowler with years of experience, is no stranger to the intricacies of the sport. However, something unusual has caught his attention at his local bowling alley. Gone are the traditional pinsetters that he grew up with, now replaced by string pinsetters that have taken the game by storm.

    Bowling alleys across the country are embracing this new technology, where pins are manipulated by nylon cords attached to their heads, mimicking the movements of marionettes. The adoption of string pinsetters is driven by their cost efficiency and the need to attract a new generation of customers who have gravitated towards video games and other modern entertainment options.

    While string pinsetters offer a promising way forward for the bowling industry, there are inherent challenges. The physics of tethered pins differ significantly from freely falling ones, resulting in altered trajectories and distinct sounds upon impact. The U.S. Bowling Congress has even published research to address concerns about these differences and reassure skeptics like Mills that the variation is not as substantial as perceived.

    This switch to string pinsetters marks a significant shift in the evolution of bowling technology. Its introduction brings to mind the days of pinboys manually resetting pins, as depicted in old photographs. Post-World War II, mechanical pinsetters took over, characterized by elaborate mechanisms that required substantial maintenance, electricity, and costs.

    However, in recent years, European bowling alleys have embraced string pinsetters due to their energy efficiency and low maintenance requirements. In the United States, this technology was often viewed as a mere gimmick until it was officially recognized by the bowling congress. Now, the challenge lies in dispelling any stigma associated with the transition.

    As Kevin Mills embarks on a night of bowling, he finds himself grappling with the nuances of the new pinsetters. The exhilarating explosion of pins he is accustomed to is replaced by pins that wobble and skitter after each throw. A sense of mystery surrounds the process of pinsetting, as the strings that control the pins seemingly disappear in the dim light of the bowling alley.

    This era of change in bowling brings with it debates about tradition and progress. While there are challenges to overcome and adjustments to be made, the rise of string pinsetters represents a promising future for the sport. It allows bowling alleys to adapt, cut costs, and cater to the evolving preferences of modern audiences while preserving the essence of the game.


    What are string pinsetters?

    String pinsetters are a new type of pinsetting technology used in bowling alleys. Instead of traditional pinsetters, which sweep away and reset pins mechanically, string pinsetters use nylon cords attached to the pins’ heads to control their movements.

    What are the advantages of using string pinsetters?

    String pinsetters offer significant cost savings for bowling alleys and require less maintenance and energy compared to traditional pinsetters. They also cater to modern entertainment preferences, attracting new customers who are more inclined towards video games and other digital pastimes.

    Do string pinsetters affect the gameplay experience?

    Yes, string pinsetters introduce slight differences in gameplay. The physics of tethered pins result in altered trajectories and distinct sounds upon impact. However, the U.S. Bowling Congress has conducted research to address concerns about these differences and assures bowlers that the variation is not significant enough to impact the overall experience.