If you’re around bowling long enough, sooner or later you’ll hear about no-tap.
That’s a way to play the game with a little bit of help. Under no-tap rules, alleys are pre-determined to award bowlers a strike whenever they knock down at least nine pins on their first shot.
That’s called 9-pin no-tap bowling.
Alleys also can be set up for 8-pin no-tap so whenever a bowler knocks down at least eight pins on a first shot, he or she receives a strike. Theoretically, bowlers also can play 7-pin no-tap or whatever number of pins they want to designate.
According to About.com Bowling, “No-tap bowling is often used to help less talented individuals bowl with more talented bowlers on a level playing field. For instance, a youth league might have an end-of-the-year party in which the kids bowl with their parents in an 8-pin no-tap format, giving the kids a better chance of keeping up with the adults.
“The same theory is used in pro-am tournaments, when regular shlubs try to compete with PBA bowlers. A no-tap format makes it less lopsided.”
Party players seem to enjoy this game. Or perhaps more accurately, some party players enjoy it.
Others are decidedly against it.
One who is not enamored of no-tap is veteran bowler Jeanette Griffin of Woodland Hills (shown in photo), who averages 145.
Said Griffin: “I feel like it’s cheating – it’s not a strike! You have to get your spare. It makes it too easy. It takes your motivation away to knock down all 10 pins because now all I have to do is knock down nine.
“I don’t think that’s fair. What if someone knocks down all 10? What will they call that?”
That will actually go down as a strike – the same as any first shot that nets nine pins. What no-tap does is prevent serious bowlers from trying to sharpen their game by denying them the opportunity to target the single 7 pin or the single 10 pin that’s hugging the alley.
No-tap is a novelty, a gimmick – and, granted, it may serve a purpose in a party atmosphere.
But for serious bowlers – for purists – no-tap bowling is simply no help.
And no fun!