You can't miss the new look at Brunswick Normandy whe you step inside. I won't spoil the surprise for those who haven't seen it but it's spectacular.
Another surprise may be that the lane condition has been producing some outstanding bowling.
"They're [the lane condition] very forgiving," said Ed Lanehard, who spends so much time at the center that he's almost a fixture. "By that I mean that you can throw a ball that's a little off your mark and still strike. It's not an easy shot but it's a fair shot."
And the bowlers have been striking. Over seven weeks, May 20 through July 8, there have been four 300 games posted. Youth bowlers, senior bowlers, league bowlers, all posting perfect games.
John Colbert, an Air Force retiree, fired his 300 game on the first day of the summer season.
"I used a 16 pound Columbia Torq drilled by Howard Marshall," said Colbert, who has bowled off and on for 30 years maintaining a 189 average. "That ball really hooks."
Steve Everly was the next tenpinner to strike.
He's been bowling for "about 15 years, I guess," and he was subbing on June 10 when he threw the second of his career 300 games.
"I like to bowl down and in but if the lane conditions dictate it I can swing the ball," he said.
His first 300 was shot in April and he used a 16-pound Blue Hammer for both perfect games. The payroll tax specialist for Ceridian has a 208 average and a high set of 787. An Essex resident, he bowls in the Thursday WPOC League and the Sunday Never on Sunday league at Country Club Lanes.
The third perfect game was thrown by Mike Taylor on June 22. Mike will be 18 in September and has been bowling since he was 7. This is his first season in the adult leagues.
"I wanted to bowl where the competition was a little tougher," he said. "This fall I'd like to bowl on the Essex Community College team."
With a 205 average, a high set of 777 and now a 300 game, he seems a cinch to make that team. If practice can do it, he's got a great shot at making it.
"I try to practice four or five times a week," Mike said. "Ten or 15 games each time."
Wayne Hough, now a senior bowler, didn't start bowling tenpins until he was 49 and to give up basketball.
On July 8, bowling in the Happy Hour Doubles league, he fired his first sanctioned 300 game (three times he had posted 300 games when practicing). It was just a matter of time for Hough to post the perfect game in competition. This past season he had eight 700 sets.
"I try to practice every day," the attorney turned real estate entrepreneur said. "Seventy games a week is low for me and it's not unusual for that figure to jump to a 90 or a 100."
Ed Lanehard, a bowling buddy, said, "Wayne is probably the only guy at Normandy [bowling center] that practices more than I do!"
It's paid off. Hough averaged 210 last season and is now hitting the PBA's Senior circuit. "It's tough out there," he said.
The Mount Airy resident operates his real estate rental business, Sales Power Inc., in Catonsville and occasionally will bowl at Kings Point Randallstown.
"At Kings Point, they have a system that lets you see the track that your balls taking on the lane. And the speed that the ball attains," he said. "That's good to know if you're a serious bowler."