When bowlers get the right instruction at an early age, correcting little flaws in their game later on becomes a much easier task.
Just ask Kurt Clark, who recently made a few simple adjustments to his approach and his release, helping him go on one of the hottest streaks of his bowling career.
“After the first five weeks of the season, I was ready to throw in the towel,” said the 34-year-old Schenectady resident. “I was lucky to shoot 650, and a couple of nights, I shot 590.”
But a few weeks ago, Clark caught fire and has been among the league leaders in both the DV Greco Insurance City League at Towne Bowling Academy and the Thursday Night Classic at Rolling Greens ever since.
On Monday night, he banged out an 817 triple in the City League, where he’s also connected for a couple of high 700 triples lately.
After a slow start, Clark has boosted his average to about 220 in the City League — one of the area’s premier scratch circuits — and 216 at Rolling Greens.
“I started practicing a little bit after I struggled early this season, and I began focusing on my foot speed and my hand release,” he said. “I was coming over the side of the ball on my release and leaving a lot of 9-pins. That’s my 10-pin leave for other right-handed bowlers. I leave a lot of 9-pins.”
Clark knew how to self-correct his game because he received such fine coaching when he was a youngster.
“My dad [Kent] got me started when I was only 3-years-old, but then Larry Trombley Sr. was one of the main guys who helped me out when I started bowling in the Boulevard Bowl junior program,” Clark said.
“Larry honed my skills, but then my mom [the late Nancy Clark] took over as one of the junior coaches, and she also helped me out. Later, we started having some junior clinics with Peggy Were. She had me go to a YABA clinic, and I also sat in with her at a start-up program for the Dick Ritger clinics. Peggy was my personal coach through school.”
Clark competed for the Scotia-Glenville High School team, and by the time he graduated from Western New England College, his game was pretty solid.
So far, he has 29 perfect games and nine 800 triples to his credit, including a big 857 at the traditionally low-scoring Rolling Greens Lanes. He shot games of 298, 300 and 259 that night.
“Rolling Greens has the old wood lanes, and every lane is different over there,” he said. “With synthetic lanes, you get more consistent pairs, but sometimes at RG, your shot can be 10 boards different between the two lanes, especially on lanes one and two.”
After the recent death of the legendary Dick Peckham, who was the manager at RG, Clark is now helping out at the lanes.
“I’ve loved bowling since I was a kid, and when Dick got sick, I started to learn how the machines run. I help out when I can,” said Clark, whose regular job is as a painter for Gordon Cooper Painting.
On Monday night at Towne, Clark started out with a 300 game and finished with a 299. He shot a 218 in the middle.
“I started out with a Venom ball in the first game, and that’s when I got my 300,” he said. “But I started leaving 10-pins in the second game. In my third game, I used an older ball, a Track 715A, and I ended up getting the first 11 strikes in a row. On my last shot, I turned around and shook my head right after I let the ball go, because I knew I didn’t throw it right. I ended up leaving a stone 9-pin. That’s been my biggest problem all year.”
Clark considers himself a high-rev player with a fairly big hook.
“I can stand on the 35 board and send the ball out to the gutter, knowing it will come back,” he said.
“Everything is clicking right now, and I’m living on cloud nine. I guess I’m just waiting for this hot streak to stop. I’m in a good groove right now, but every bowler knows these kinds of streaks don’t last forever.”
STRIKES & SPARES
The Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” qualifiers continue this weekend with the Over 50-Under 50 Doubles event. Qualifying will be at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Uncle Sam Lanes, with the finals beginning at about 1:30 p.m. Entry fee is $110 per team, and first place is $1,600 guaranteed. There is a limit of 26 teams on the first squad and 39 teams on the second squad. Call Jeff Segel at 439-7628 for reservations or more information.
Speaking of Huck Finn events, the TV taping for the first two events of the season will be Sunday at Middleburgh Lanes. The first scratch singles show finals of the season will be taped at
4 p.m., followed by the first Morris Cramer King of the Hill match at 6 p.m. Nick Galusha, Mark James, Mike Drexel and Craig Taylor made the finals for the inaugural scratch singles show. Joe Mazuryk and R.J. Martinez will square off in the first Morris Cramer King of the Hill show.
Tim Banta recently won a New England Bowling Association championship and picked up a check for $1,500.
The first Towne Bowling Academy Two Game Challenge, presented by the Carbone Auto Group, begins Sunday. Entry fee is $15, and re-entry is $10. One in 12 bowlers will cash, regardless of the number of entries. Call Towne for more information.
Rachel Kronsberg recently bowled her first 200 game (202) and first 500 triple (503) in the Menagerie League. That league, which bowls Friday nights at 6:10 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl, currently has four openings. Dues are $16 a week.
Pat Steves shot a 720 to win the recent 500 Club Autumn Fest Singles Tournament at Towne Bowling Academy. Anne Torak (709) and Jackie Oliveira (695) rounded out the leaders in the A Division, while Lena Becker (716), Cheryl Dalton (687) and Bonnie Arbitrio (678) led the B Division.
Marty Nash won last week’s New Era Women and Senior event at Sunset Recreation by beating Bob Northrup, 237-221, in the championship match. Nash ($355), Northrup ($200), Chris Fedden ($140), Tom Newman ($140), Ed Gumm ($80), Janean Bailey ($80) and Russ Hunter ($80) rounded out the cashers.
Jonathan Bowman of Peru led wire-to-wire and defeated Zachary Doty of Nassau, 257-252, in the championship game of the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour at Towne Bowling Academy. Scholarship prize winners were Bowman ($300), Doty ($175), Justin Carl of Albany ($110), Ricky Rovelli of Albany ($80), Casey Schoonmaker of Albany ($55), Jacob Rivers Jr. of Albany ($45), Patrick Devoe of Delmar ($35), Vernon Billington II of Hartford ($30) and Thomas Marr ($30) of Schenectady.
Tim McCart won the 18th annual Troy 800 Club Tournament at Barbecue Lanes in Hoosick Falls and earned $800.