USBC Unveils ‘Challenge’ Lane Condition

USBC has established a new designation for leagues competing on lane conditions that fall between Standard and Sport conditions. The new Challenge lane condition designation and conversion chart was determined based on research of leagues conducted under a Sport/Challenge designation, as well as leagues competing on Blue lane conditions.

Recent research showed a discrepancy for leagues competing on more difficult, though not Sport, lane conditions. Because these leagues were not conducting their full league season on Sport conditions, or were using a variety of lane conditions, the leagues were designating as Standard, as currently there is no other option. The Challenge designation is intended to provide the solution.

“A thorough examination of bowlers who have competed in both Standard and Challenge leagues showed a discrepancy that needed to be addressed,” USBC’s Chad Murphy said. “The data showed us that using a Sport conversion for some leagues might not be appropriate, but the averages of bowlers competing on certain conditions did warrant a conversion to ensure they are not gaining an unfair advantage when they compete on Standard conditions. This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure the averages of all bowlers accurately reflect a bowler’s ability.”

Starting with the 2017-18 season, when a league submits its certification, the league secretary must choose one, and only one, of three lane condition options — Standard, Challenge or Sport.

Standard will be for leagues conducted on traditional house conditions, Sport will be for true Sport leagues, while Challenge will be for leagues that use a variety of difficult patterns but are not classified as Sport-only leagues.

Data will also be used to determine a league’s lane condition designation. Leagues with an average difference of 20 or more pins still will be considered Sport. Leagues with an average difference between 10-19 pins will fall into the new Challenge condition. Leagues from the 2016-17 season will be moved into the appropriate lane condition designation based upon final averages and an analysis, and those leagues will be notified they have been moved into a new classification.

USBC also has developed new average conversion charts for both Sport and Challenge leagues so tournament and league managers can convert Sport and Challenge averages to Standard averages, and vice versa. The bowlers in a Challenge league will receive a new designation in “Find A Member” on so tournament and other league managers are aware the bowler’s average was determined in a league bowled on tougher lane conditions. Averages are to be automatically converted using the conversion charts.

The changes are based on USBC Membership’s research of leagues that were marked as Standard but were reported, or discovered, to be competing on Sport or Challenge lane conditions. A check of the bowlers’ averages in those leagues, compared to the bowlers’ highest averages for the same season in a Standard league (minimum of 21 games), showed the discrepancy.

For more information — including a look at the differences among Standard, Challenge and Sport leagues; the average conversion charts that include the Sport and Challenge conversions, and the research data —visit

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