Bowling alleys often resonate with echoes of celebration, where each strike and spare add to a symphony of fond memories. From birthday bashes to office gatherings, these vibrant venues remain a staple for fun seekers looking to roll a few frames. Whether it's the thud of a heavy ball or the crash of pins, the alleys are a cherished backdrop to countless tales of camaraderie and casual competition.


For passionate bowlers, the quest for a perfect score is serious business. Enter the arena of the Perfect Game bowling league, hosted at Westwood Bowl at CSC @ Bukit Batok and Planet Bowl at CSC @ Tessensohn. Here, seasoned bowlers step up to the lanes, all striving for the ultimate goal — 12 successive strikes and the illustrious 300-point game.



Bonding over bowls


Bowling veteran Mr Hairon Bin Awang, 65, notched a perfect game last year at the 11th Foursome league with team 4U2BOWL, a highlight in his 40-year love affair with bowling. It's the spirit of kinship and shared excitement that keeps his passion rolling. “My friends and former colleagues have made bowling very fun since I first joined the leagues about 35 years ago,” he reminisced. “After a night of bowling, we’d usually go for supper and have roti prata.” 


It is this sense of fellowship that spurred bowling buffs in civil service to set up the Bowling Interest Group (BIG) @ Civil Service Club, The Facebook group welcomes bowlers of all levels to strike up conversations about their favourite sport and stay updated with CSC's bowling beat.


As a member of the senior national bowling squad that has won gold medals in regional competitions, Mr Hairon finds the Perfect Game league an ideal battleground to sharpen skills and pit against fellow seasoned comrades and sprightly newcomers. He also enjoys the youthful zest of his Perfect Game rivals. "Some of the teams have national bowlers who are younger and physically stronger, but we have experience," he said. 


With an eye on Perfect Game 2024 and upcoming international meets, Mr Hairon hits Westwood Bowl at CSC @ Bukit Batok for five games a day, from Monday to Thursday. Weekends are for leisurely rolls with long-time pals. Strategic drills, meticulous study of lane oil patterns and savvy ball selection are part of Mr Hairon’s winning formula. "My wife teases that I should just sleep at the alley, given the time I spend there!," Mr Hairon quipped.



Finding the right training ground


Mr Dwayne Koo Swee Chiang, 48, loves how bowling is a sport that levels the playing field, welcoming anyone regardless of age or fitness prowess. He has been hitting the lanes since his teens, but it wasn’t until his late 30s that he laced up his bowling shoes with serious intent.  


Mr Koo joined the Perfect Game league six years ago, and what started as casual rolls evolved into a dedicated quest for pin perfection. In preparation for Perfect Game 2024, he has been refining his strikes and spares at numerous bowling alleys. However, the top player in last July’s 17th Trios League with Team Stewart Kegler particularly favours Westwood Bowl at CSC @ Bukit Batok. 


Alleys like Westwood Bowl at CSC @ Bukit Batok and Planet Bowl at CSC @ Tessensohn are popular choices for both training-focused players and those looking for laid-back fun — thanks to the locations’ comprehensive setup ,including pro shops, cafes, and the Brunswick Vector Plus HD scoring system that features user-friendly interfaces and options for open-play, cross-lane and league modes.


For Mr Koo, it’s the dynamic oiling patterns at Westwood Bowl at CSC @ Bukit Batok that add that extra layer of thrill and challenge. “Up to 70 per cent of your bowling score is dependent on the oiling pattern and lane surface. Westwood Bowl at CSC @ Bukit Batok is one of the few places that offers a different oiling pattern at the start of every league each year,” he shared.



Always learning


Mr Hamzah Bin Ulong, 63, a stalwart of team Axis and the winner of the 2nd Doubles league in 2023, treats bowling with such dedication that he calls it “my part-time job”. 


This love for the lanes sparked 24 years ago when Mr Hamzah moved to a flat nearby a bowling alley in Bukit Panjang. “The game looked exciting,” he said of his first encounter with the sport. “I liked how the ball can turn left and then right, or right and then left. The bowlers at the Bukit Panjang alley asked me to try it out and before I knew it, years went by!” He also recalled the first bowling ball he bought – a blush-pink orb that, to this day, remains his trusty sidekick as a spare ball.


Mr Hamzah's curiosity about the sport fuels his progress; he's an inquisitive soul always ready with a question to refine his craft. But his most effective strategy is an introspective dialogue: “When I bowl, I talk to myself about what’s happening at the moment, so I can analyse the situation better. If pin 9, 8 or 7 doesn’t fall, I tell myself there must be a reason and I try to figure it out.” 


Leading up to Perfect Game 2024, Mr Hamzah turns to an unlikely ‘coach’ for inspiration — YouTube. “I prefer watching clips of lady bowlers from Hong Kong and Japan because their styles and mine are similar,” he shared. Through such virtual guidance, he learnt how to slow down the ball’s speed, how to carry the pins, and how to be more accurate, confident and consistent.



Striving for perfection


Mr M P Ravintharaan, a tenacious competitor from team Stewart Kegler, scored a perfect game in the 2nd Doubles league in January 2023. Thirty years after first hurling a bowling ball down an alley, he finally achieved the pinnacle dream of every bowler.


Mr Ravintharaan said that while bowling may appear simple, it requires a lot of effort to master the game. His approach is observational, learning through watching others (“monkey see, monkey do”) and endless practice. But it's his unquenchable thirst to improve, seeking out seasoned bowlers for their advice, that has truly honed his skill. “I have bowled in many leagues and have asked around for tips from other regular bowlers. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” shared Mr Ravintharaan.


To ready himself for Perfect Game 2024, Mr Ravintharaan trains alongside his bowling kakis at Westwood Bowl at CSC @ Bukit Batok. “Practice makes perfect. Whenever I am free, I will practice,” he said, adding that the path to perfection is an ongoing journey. “You need to have mental and emotional strength. Small factors like the surrounding environment or even announcements made by the bowling alley can also make a difference in your performance.” It's this holistic approach to the sport that drives Mr Ravintharaan to not just play but to excel.


Want to bowl a Perfect Game? Check out the Bowling Interest Group (BIG) @ Civil Service Club HERE.

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