AMF Bowling Centers
AMF is the largest owner of bowling centers and leading manufacturer of bowling equipment. Because of technology developed by AMF, bowling is the most popular participatory sport in the United States. Close to one fifth of the population bowls at least one game every year. From popular girls to nerdy, intelligent types, bowling is enjoyed by all types of people young and old. Some bowlers play to have fun and relax while others take the game a little more seriously by breaking personal records and keeping stats. There was a time in the late 1960s and the 1970s when developers spent millions and millions to build the biggest and best bowling allies.
How Bowling Began
Modern bowling is paradoxically a young yet ancient sport. Artifacts resembling modern bowling pins have been found in tombs of Egyptian children. Similar bowling games excavated in Europe date back to 300 A.D. Bowling was still in its original nine-pin form when it was introduced to America in the mid 19th century. In the new world, bowling flourished, however, it was primarily a gambling sport not a leisure game. Lawmakers in colonial Connecticut looked dimly on gambling sports and expressly banned nine-pin bowling. To the chagrin of the wigged politicians, bowlers cleverly added a tenth pin to create the game of bowling in its present form. However, a few important things were still missing. In the Victorian era and up until WWII, pins were placed by hand and balls were brought back on foot. Perhaps younger generations don’t remember when scoring was done by hand, but there was a time before computerized scoring systems when points were all written by hand. That means counting the pins and adding points to calculate the score for all players. AMF is largely responsible for the bowling revolution and the worldwide popularity the sport enjoys today.
The Origin of AMF
Everyone has seen the ever-present AMF logos on automatic pin-setters and other bowling equipment, but very few know what the acronym means. In case you’re wondering, AMF stands for American Metal and Foundry, which is not the most obvious name for a company that specializes in bowling equipment and bowling alleys. In 1900, when AMF was founded by inventor Rufus L. Patterson, the company’s sole purpose was to manufacture machinery for the cigarette and tobacco industry, which is exactly what the company did until the 1940s. When the founder’s son took over, his goal was to expand operations and invest in existing technology. One of the inventions AMF purchased was an automatic pin-setter developed by inventor Fred Schmidt in his garage 25 miles north of New York City. With some tweaking, Schmidt and AMF engineer Samuel Auchincloss perfected the pin-setter and ramped up for full production. In 1946, AMF’s first automatic pin-setter was unveiled at the American Bowling Congress National Championship in Buffalo, NY. By the early 1950s, the AMF pin-setter was in full production and the bowling industry was ready for its popularity explosion. Since the 1950’s AMF has developed high performance lanes, automatic ball return systems, computerized scoring technology, and integrated lane reservation programs. By the 1980s, AMF had expanded their operations too far and they were suffering financial consequences. Subsidiaries of AMF have included Ben Hogan golf clubs, Voit athletic equipment, Roadmaster bicycles, Head tennis and ski equipment, SlickCraft speed boats, Alcort and Sunfish sailboats, Hatteras yachts, and Harley Davidson. Under new management, AMF sold off all of these companies and focused exclusively on their bowling centers and bowling equipment divisions. Since 2005, AMF’s manufacturing division and the Italian sports company Qubica have merged to form QubicaAMF, which continues to sponsor the annual QubicaAMF World Cup of bowling. Today, the company’s only remaining subsidiaries are AMF Bowling Centers and AMF Bowling of the United Kingdom.
AMF Bowling Centers
As the largest owner of bowling centers in the world, AMF operates hundreds of bowling alleys in all fifty states with boutique bowling alleys and family entertainment centers in Canada, Europe, and Malaysia. In addition to traditional bowling centers, AMF has developed a series of award-winning entertainment centers and upscale bowling alleys worldwide. AMF’s Family Entertainment Centers are designed to have activities for all ages and genders. In addition to bowling, entertainment centers offer mini-bowling, indoor playgrounds, arcades, laser tag, go-carts, and bumper cars. Family Entertainment Centers are the ideal place to host family and kid-friendly birthday parties. If you like extreme bowling with fun music and techno dance lights, AMF’s hybrid bowling alleys were designed for you. Hybrid entertainment centers offer league play during the week and family entertainment and hip social functions for adults and young bowlers during the weekend and peak hours. AMF’s award-winning boutique centers have traded plastic seats and clunky computer monitors for leather couches, sleek monitors, and flat screen TVs. AMF’s Boutique Bowling Centers mix the atmosphere of a sports bar with an upscale club and adult playground to create the ultimate party zone.
AMF Discounts and Coupons
Join the AMF eClub to receive special discounts and coupons. All you have to do is enter your name, email address, date of birth, and zip code. By joining the eClub program, members receive exclusive monthly offers, special birthday promotions, event updates, and a $5 coupon of your next trip to any AMF Bowling Center. AMF also offers seasonal specials on restaurant items and beverages at participating locations.
AMF Bowling League Rewards Program
Bowling leagues are more than social and competitive groups. League members have a chance to win weekly prizes, gift certificates, and other achievement perks. By joining a league, children, teens, and adults can play for free during league practice hours. Children enrolled in any AMF youth program receive free practice lane time. League bowlers receive discounts for personalized pro-shop items, food, non-alcoholic beverages, and birthday parties. AMF also gives league members coupon books during the holidays and at the end of the season. If you don’t have the time to join a league, one of the seasonal bowling clubs might be a better choice. League members can sign-up for weekly printable coupons and promotions by entering their bowler ID number and email address into AMF’s League Rewards form online.
Free Bowling for Kids and Families
Since 2007, AMF Bowling Centers have offered free bowling for children during the summer months. The Kids Bowl Free program is offered at participating bowling centers in all fifty states. Parents can register up to six children under age fifteen for two free bowling games per day. Through the Kids Bowl Free Program, parents can sign-up for the same daily program at a discounted rate. Family Passes start at $24.95 and include two games per person per day. Up to four adults can be registered on one family pass. Just sign-up online and free coupons will be emailed to you every week. The Kids Bowl Free Program begins in May and continues through September. Not only will your kids become really great at bowling, they will have a fun way to spend their free time without breaking the budget.