World Bowling has changed its name to the International Bowling Federation, and issued a lengthy open letter outlining its plans for the future.

“As the governing body, World Bowling has been an associate member of its own organization instead of acting as the international bowling federation,” wrote Chief Executive Officer Andrew Oram. “This is about to change.”

Oram pointed to bowling’s numerous failed efforts to gain Olympic Games inclusion as an impetus for rethinking the role of the global federation. He said those failings “never brought about the necessary soul searching and deep dive into why the sport was rejected. It was never concluded that maybe we were doing this all wrong, only that rejection was the fault of someone else.”

Oram added the going forward, the International Bowling Federation would pay closer attention to the men and women who own bowling’s playing fields: the proprietors.

“It is not surprising that some bowling center operators did little or nothing to encourage competitive play in their centers or would [not] listen to suggestions from an organization perceived to be ineffective, even though it could enhance their business,” he noted. “We rely totally on those that invest in the appropriate infrastructure for the practice of bowling. We must listen, engage, embrace and support them, and make everyone part of the journey. Rules and regulations must complement the foundation of the sport to allow proprietors, globally, to drive an increase in participation and [foot traffic] through their centers.”

Oram said that he applauded national federations that have embraced and approved string pinsetting machines for sport bowling, and will provide a platform for proprietors that use string machines to showcase their centers globally. More proprietors are considering string machines because they require less maintenance and use less energy than traditional machines.

“Now is not the time to sit back and hope things will get better,” Oram added. “Now it is time for a rebirth that leverages the key learnings from the past in forming a new history.”


Oram’s open letter prompted the United States Bowling Congress to issue a media release clarifying its position on string pinsetting machines.

The release said that USBC “affirms string pinsetters currently are considered non-approved equipment. String pinsetters may not be used in USBC-certified competition, including USBC-certified leagues and tournaments.”

The release went on to say that USBC “is in the process of conducting research related to string pinsetters… [and] plans to complete an initial phase of the study and publish the results in 2022. However, the results may or may not provide conclusive data to support a position on string pinsetter certification.”

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