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Duckpin Balls & Equipment:

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This page was born due to the numerous emails received regarding how to open up an alley, put an alley in your home, or find pins, shoes, balls, etc.

I don't have all the answers, I wish that I did, I am just an avid player.  I've been researching since many are interested in the possibly of adding Duckpins to regions that have previously never heard of it.

If I won the lottery, (that's a BIG IF) I would open up a Duckpin Bowling Alley. You must know we are talking big bucks here, as it's a very large investment. Do you have a spare million lying around? 

But if you run a successful house, have leagues of all ages, cosmic bowling to appeal to teenagers on the week-ends, a good snack bar, sponsor birthday parties and are willing to advertise your business, there isn't any reason that it shouldn't be successful.

I asked Ralph Curry, owner of White Oak Lanes in Silver Spring, Maryand, what one needs to know in order to run a bowling center.

"First of all", Ralph says, "The person who owns a Duckpin Alley needs to be handy. You must be a Mr. Fix-it type of person, as the job requires constant maintenance of the pin setters. You can, of course, employ others to do the maintenance, but you need to know how everything works yourself. Many parts that need to be replaced can be found though local auto parts stores."

Ralph also states: "It costs about $45,000 per lane to open up a bowling center. That's the estimate for a 10 Pin lane, including everything start to finish --seating, equipment, hardwood lanes, scoring mechanisms, real estate, etc... It's harder to guestimate what installing Duckpin lanes actually would cost since Brunswick, the only manufacturer of new equipment went out of business thirty years ago. When someone wants Duckpin equipment, unfortunately they need to acquire the inventory from a bowling center that is going out of business. That is usually what scares people away."

Specifications to build a Duckpin Lane (at

(If anyone knows of centers going out of business; email me,  as all I ever get are requests for equipment, but I never hear of anyone who has any.)

He did say that Mendes, (no web site listed) out of Canada, still manufacturers Duckpin Equipment 'with strings attached'. That's where the pins have nearly invisible strings hanging and resetting the pins. Hard core Washington DC area bowlers reject this method, but it would probably be fine if tried on a new market that doesn't know the difference. Did I scare you off? I need some winning lotto numbers!