Bowling. One of the greatest sports in this country (and around the world, for that matter) that doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Many older folks know names like Don Carter and Dick Weber, Earl Anthony and Mark Roth, bowling legends of the past 50 years. But overall as a sport, bowling kind of gets pushed aside by the average person, many saying that it isn't a real sport or it isn't competitive. As a bowler I can tell you that both are complete lies.
This article will rank the 10 best approaches in the PBA today. If you pay any attention to bowling today, you know names like Wes Malott, Walter Ray Williams and Patrick Allen, just to name a few. But this list isn't about who is the best. It is about who has the most attractive approach, about who makes it look really easy. Hope you enjoy.
Fagan is known for his unusual style in which he has an incredibly high backswing but the rest of his body stays low to the ground with his knees bent significantly. His follow through is very smooth, and he gets a ton of power and hook on the ball every time.
Machuga is not necessarily one of the best bowlers on the tour, but he's done pretty well for himself. He is incredibly smooth, yet very powerful at the same time. He's also known for inventing a move called the "Machuga Flop," which is when you hold on to the ball past the point of release, which sends you flying down the lane. It is not illegal in bowling, and very, very entertaining (2nd video).
Many older folks will know Pete Weber as the son of Dick Weber, one of the men who made bowling so famous in the 50's and 60's. Pete is known for his high arm swing and full follow through, and is also one of the funniest guys on tour. This video is of him hitting a 300 game, and after the last shot he shows his funny symbol that he uses all the time on tv.
A PBA legend, Bohn has 32 PBA titles and 85 sanctioned 300's to his name. He has that free backswing and full follow through that almost every bowling coach teaches.
TJ, as he's known on tour, is one of the most fun bowlers to watch. He brings incredible power with that high arm swing and incredibly smooth follow through. He continues to be the most up and coming bowler on the tour, and his style is impeccable.
Rash is another young player on the tour who puts a ton of hand on the ball. Much like the other guys, he is very fun to watch and can play many parts of the lane really well. He has a very sharp release where he puts a ton of rotation on the ball, yet he does it so quickly you barely notice.
Ronnie Russell hasn't appeared on TV too much, but he is one of the most talented bowlers on the tour. He has one of the highest arm swings and one of the cleanest releases I've seen in a long time. He has a very bright future.
You might have heard about Kelly Kulick mentioned on the news for like two seconds a few months ago because she won some bowling tournament or something, and some people were comparing it to Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs. Well here's the story: She won the Tournament of Champions, which is a major event in the PBA. She beat out every man on the PBA Tour, and in the final, she beat the #1 man on this list by 70 pins! Imagine Lorena Ochoa going on the Men's PGA tour and winning the British Open by 5 strokes. That's kind of what happened here. Her style is also flawless, as this video shows her hitting a 300 game.
Bowlers have come up with a name system to determine which kind of bowler somebody is based on where they stand on the lane and how much hook they get. A stroker is someone who uses little hook and throws the ball pretty straight. A tweener is someone who uses more hook and tends to stand in the middle of the lane. A cranker is someone who stands at the other end of the lane and uses a ton of hook.
Robert Smith is the epitome of a cranker. Known for having one of the smoothest styles in the PBA, he manages to make a bowling ball do things I never thought were possible. And I've seen some pretty good bowlers.
This was not a difficult choice. Smooth is Chris Barnes middle name. He takes all the power generated from that high arm swing and finishes with that opposite direction follow through. And his perfection in form is only matched by his success as a professional and his wonderful personality (i'm not dogging it here, he really is a nice guy).