Bowling made its first appearance in Macon in 1920. The first establishment was an unsanctioned eight-lane duck pin house located at Houston Lake. These lanes operated for about 10 years.
In the 1930s and 1940s, six more centers opened and later closed. The locations were at First Street and Cotton Avenue, the Nu-Way Hot Dog building on Cherry Street, Houston Lake (for the second time), Ragans Park, Lakeside Park adjacent to Ragans Park, and next to the City Auditorium on Cotton Avenue.
The majority of these lanes offered the smaller duck pins, which was the publics choice until the late 1950s when todays larger 10-pin bowling took center stage.
The 1950s saw three new houses form on Second Street, Forsyth Street and Pio Nono Avenue. The Forsyth center contained the first completely automatic bowling equipment in Georgia. All of these lanes closed after several years of operation.
On Dec. 30, 1981, a 16-lane establishment opened in Shurlington Plaza. It was named Macon Bowl. The facility was expanded to 24 lanes in 1989 and continued to operate until its closure in 2001.
On Feb. 16, 1980, a 24-lane house (Northside Bowling Center) was opened on Northside Drive. The center was the first to use synthetic plastic lanes in this area. The facility closed in November of 1986.
On Oct. 22, 1984, the 24-lane Gold Cup Bowling Center opened on Pio Nono Avenue. In 1996, the center was expanded to 32 lanes and continues to operate today.
Other historical dates of interest:
1949: The oldest active Macon bowling league (Commercial Ten Pin) was sanctioned through the American Bowling Congress.
1957: The old Macon Bowling Association was officially organized as the ruling body.
1983: Macon Bowling Association separated from its affiliation with Warner Robins.
1990: Macon Bowling Association received the American Bowling Association (ABC) Presidential Award as one of the three most outstanding associations out of 2800 in the United States.
2005: The old mens (ABC), womens (WIBC) and youth (YABA) national organizations were merged into the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and the current local ruling body (Central Georgia USBC Association) was created.
2008: The existing Gold Cup Bowling Center was damaged by a tornado.
Saffold helps make history
For the first time in the history of Middle Georgia bowling the number of perfect games has reached 40. Brian Saffold achieved this feat when he rolled a 300 in the second game of his 773 set in the Summer Outsiders league at the Macon Gold Cup Center.
Three bowlers were red hot in the Summer Smoke Free league -- Roger Harris (635), Joe Gary (605/256 game) and Kathy Jones (556). The Summer Outsiders yielded a plethora of high scores -- Corey Conger (751 and 73 1/280 and 276 games), Todd Conger (726/258 game), Nick Johnson (715/257 game), Zach Griffin (691), Kevin Huffman (651), Tony Clark (633), Bryan Wimberly (623/268 game), Brian Draughon (618), Dennis Bieker (617), Larry Carpenter (607), Bernice Davis (602), Chris Bunce (600), Stacy Thompson (568), Jennifer Smith (567) and Kim Conger (551). Steve Davis (700 and 666), David Hutcherson (696 and 667/257 game) and Charles Carter (629 and 627/261 game) were the stars in two leagues.
Tools of the trade
Question: Can a bowler use an absentee score before he or she has bowled in league competition?
Answer: Yes, USBC rules state that an absentee score of 120 should be applied unless the league has adopted a rule stating a different vacancy score be used.
Macon-Central Georgia Association scores
BIBB SUMMER: Mark Baker 312-159, Andre Johnson 285-155, Jon Paul Thomas 266, Jake Simmons 257-135, William Reeves 141, Howard Walter 140; Chanda Davis 231-127, Laurie Griggers 213, Rose Baker 204-109, Misti Baggett 119. Marquita Denerson 108.
SUMMER OUTSIDERS: Bryant Saffold 773-300, Corey Conger 751-280, Todd Conger 726, David Hutcherson 667, Bryan Wimberly 269, Charles Carter 261, Nick Johnson 248; Bernice Davis 602-217, Stacy Thompson 568-213, Kim Conger 551-201, Donna Carroll 519-206, Jennifer Smith 519, Colleen Dunagan 506.
SUMMER SMOKE FREE: Steve Davis 700-246, David Hutcherson 696-257, Roger Harris 635, Charles Carter 576-233, Joe Gary 256; Kathy Jones 556-216, Trudy Harris 511, Lynn Abercrombie 507-188, Donna Maynard 506-223, Shirley Wilday 193.
SUNDAY NIGHT SUMMER: Darrell Davis 591-214, Clay Etheridge 566-221, Troy Chitty 534-196, Willie Hardy 201; Gloria Burney 490-199, Jean Denerson 454-193, Lisa Whittington 439. Andretta Williams 414-153.