The American Bowling Congress.
bowling became more and more popular, it became apparent that
a standard set of rules and regulations had to be established.
Most bowling alleys did not have a standard for pin weight, size,
ball weight/size and lane dimensions. This obviously caused
several problems when people bowled in more than one house.
The American Bowling Congress a for profit, non-governmental
institution was established in 1895 to standardize the bowling
"enforce" these standards in all houses, the ABC
sanctioned (inspected and approved) all houses that met the
new rigid standards. This sanctioning allowed the bowling
establishments to form ABC sanctioned leagues and hold ABC
sanctioned tournaments. The importance of this was not
trivial. The ABC provided varying levels of awards and
recognition for excellence which, until the establishment of
the ABC, was not widely available to the average bowler. These
awards, especially the coveted 300 patch and ring because
highly prized and sought after by bowlers. The percentage of
unsanctioned leagues started to drop dramatically.
the ABC provided strict yet flexible rules and regulations for
league play and tournament play. This helped establish common
ground rules in all sanctioned events. The ABC also
established a governing board that was the final authority in
any league rule disputes. Today, the ABC has over 2.9 million
members bowling in literally thousands of leagues all over the
United States and selected countries throughout the world.
Membership to the ABC is usually provided through your local
league and mandatory in ABC sanctioned events. Membership is
good for one year and includes summer leagues in the year
interesting side note is that during the league season of
1990-1991 there were 14,192 sanctioned 300 games by ABC
members, while during the 1961-62 season (the earliest
statistics 300's were kept), there were only 790 sanctioned
300 games. Ironically in 1962 there were 11,476 bowling
centers, and according to the ABC, in 1992, the number had
dwindled to 7,904.