How Much Do Professional Bowlers Make?

By Kevin Bickel

Mika Koivuniemi holding trophy

Mika Koivuniemi after winning $250,000, the largest 1st place prize ever, at the 2011 Tournament of Champions.

There are a lot of reasons to become a professional bowler but the salary is not one of them. Over the PBA’s 56 year history, only 40 players have earned more than $1,000,000 over the course of their careers. In the 2012-2013 season, the top 3 earners were:

  1. Sean Rash (USA) – $248,317
  2. Mika Koivuniemi (Finland) – $227,851
  3. Jason Belmonte (Australia) – $186,465

These are the top 3 bowlers in the world for the 2012-2013 season; the best of the best. Of course those are respectable salaries, but they are shockingly low for professional athletes, let alone the top 3 bowlers in the world. To give you some perspective, the minimum salary for both NFL and NBA players is roughly $500,000. Looking at a more comparable sport, the average PGA player (at the equivalent level) made about $600,000 in 2011. It wasn’t always like this, though. How did it get to this point?


The Late, Great Billy Hardwick

By Kevin Bickel

Billy Hardwick

Billy Hardwick

For those of you who don’t know, Billy Hardwick was a PBA Hall of Famer who passed away Saturday November 16, 2013. Hardwick is considered one of the greatest players in PBA history; he was selected as the 12th greatest player of all time during the 2008-09 PBA season. Hardwick was the first bowler to win the PBA Triple Crown (3 major tournaments during the time) and was the PBA player of the year in 1963 and 1969. Billy also owned and operated Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes in Memphis, TN.


The 900 Series

By Kevin Bickel

900. 36 in a row. 3 consecutive 300’s. Bowling’s pinnacle scoring achievement demands 900 Ringrespect no matter how you say it.

The first sanctioned 900 series was bowled by Glenn Allison in 1982 and remains the most infamous 900 series ever bowled. The American Bowling Congress, bowling’s governing body at the time, denied Allison’s application on the grounds of non-complying lane conditions and refuse to this day to recognize his achievement. Since Allison’s achievement (and 6 additional rejected 900 series), there have only been 23 bowlers to record a sanctioned 900 series, with the closest to Allison being Jeremy Sonnenfeld in 1997. The full list of 900 Club members can be viewed here.


The 4 Most Shocking Bowling Tournament Endings

By Kevin Bickel

There have been some unforgettable outcomes to PBA title matches in bowling’s televised history. This article features the 4 most unforeseen and shocking endings to televised title matches in PBA history.

4. Walter Ray Williams Jr. vs. Patrick Allen

2009 National Bowling Stadium Championship

Walter Ray steps up on the approach after a solid strike on his first ball of the tenth frame. One strike stands between him and his 46th career title. “One more just like that…”


Bowling Gift Ideas: 12 Gifts for a Serious Bowler

By Kevin Bickel

This list excludes obvious bowling gift ideas such as bowling balls, bags, and shoes. The list is sorted by category (equipment, education, and experience) and price within each category.


bowling jersey

Microfiber Towels – Cost: $6 – $12 per pack

  • Cheap, thoughtful, quick and available pretty much anywhere. Microfiber towels are always handy to have around, and you can never have too many.

3-N-1 Bowler’s Tool – Cost: $38

  • My personal favorite. This tool comes in handy more often than you would think.

Interchangeable Thumb System – Cost: $30 per ball

  • Interchangeable thumbs are becoming standard for any bowler with more than one ball in his/her arsenal. Turbo Grips offers the Switch Grip whereas Vise offers the IT System.

Personalized Jersey – Cost: $40 – $150

  • A must for any tournament bowler. Go the homemade route and get his/her nameembroidered on the back of a collared shirt or go above and beyond and customize a high performance jersey. Either way, this is one of the best gifts a competitive bowler can receive.