Rubber still rolls on lanes at Normandy

It's easy to get your hands on a plastic tenpin bowling ball. Or a urethane ball. Or a reactive resin ball.

Like to try to get hold of a rubber bowling ball? That could be a problem since it has been decades since anyone manufactured a hard rubber ball, the same material that replaced the old wooden bowling balls.


But all the old hard rubber bowling balls are not in museums. If you stop in at Brunswick Normandy on a Monday when the OWLS (Older Wiser Livelier Seniors) league is bowling or a Thursday morning when the Club 55 league is in action, you can watch one being used -- with authority.

"I started bowling tenpins in Chicago about 40 years ago," Paul Kohorst said. "I used a hard rubber bowling ball then and I still use it today."


That means that his bowling ball is older than most of the pro bowlers you watch on TV. He uses it to carry about a 180 average on Monday and 174 average in the Club 55. With it, he has posted a career-high game of 265, a high series of 673.

"I never practice," he said. "I used to bowl in just one league, but this year I'm bowling in two and I guess that helps the scores a little bit."

You could say that; on two Monday mornings a few weeks ago, he fired games of 246 and 258. For Week 21 of Club 55, he used a 236 as a cornerstone for a series that was 62 pins over average and earned him Bowler of the Week honors.

Living in Ellicott City with his wife, Grace, the retired real estate employee seems "to be getting better the older I get."

More Bowlers of the Week

Vicki Petri, originally from South Baltimore, now living in Ellicott City has been bowling tenpins "for about 20 years, off and on."

Using a 10-pound bowling ball, she is active in two leagues, the Tuesday Mixed Trio and the Thursday Club 55. Averaging about 130, she has a high game of 204. Her career high set, 505, consisted of games of 175, 159 and 171 that she posted in the Tuesday league on March 8, 1994.

In the Club 55 league for Week 21, she shot a scratch 490 series that was 94 pins over her average; that was good enough for Bowler of the Week.


Donny Stevens and Karen Herzing were Bowlers of the Week in the Saturday morning YABA league at Normandy in Division I and Division II, respectively.

Stevens, 10, a fifth-grader at Baltimore Highlands Elementary School, has a long way to travel to bowl in that league.

But because his dad works in the Ellicott City area, he makes the trip from Southwest Baltimore County every Saturday.

Starting in a summer youth/adult league last year, this is Stevens' first season in the YABA.

Averaging 75, he posted a series that was 84 pins over that average to become Bowler of the Week.

TTC Herzing, 14, took Bowler of the Week honors in Division II with a score 89 pins over average.


She lives in Sykesville with her parents, Joy and Henry, and sister Kelly. Kelly was Bowler of the Year in 1993 in the Normandy YABA.

"Dad got me started bowling," Karen said. "And my grandparents bought me my bowling ball."

In her third year of competition, she's averaging 101 with that 10-pound ball. The ninth-grader at Glenelg High has posted a high game of 156, a high set of 410.

It seems a pretty safe bet that she has her eye on Bowler of Year now.