The news that AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills is dropping some of its bowling leagues is not an isolated occurrence in the AMF spectrum.
It’s been learned that AMF Bay Shore Lanes in Santa Monica is apparently discontinuing all of its league operations.
The decisions by the AMF bowling centers come in the wake of the merger between New York-based Bowlmor and Virginia-based AMF Bowling Worldwide, Inc., about two months ago.
Veteran bowler Ben Cornwell, who’s participated in the Thursday night TNT league at Bay Shore Lanes for eight years, reported Friday that his longstanding league has been shut down. And it appears all Bay Shore Lanes leagues will be dropped once their seasons end.
A spokesman for Bay Shore Lanes had no comment Friday about the status of league play at Bay Shore Lanes. But another employee said that the bowling center will not have league activity anymore. She said that a “party style” will be in effect.
Cornwell, a 36-year-old Westchester resident with a 200 average, said that “people are really upset” from his league.
“We filled all 24 lanes for 20 years,” he said. “We had a multitude of celebrities. We had fun people. And we were willing to pay the 90% increase in beer.”
Cornwell said that his league even offered to move to Tuesday night, but the offer was refused.
“We could fill 35-36 lanes,” Cornwell said. “It was the kind of league that was competitive, yet it wasn’t so intimidating that the 20-year-old [bowler] wouldn’t come in.
“I’d say about half the league has the same guys [from 20 years ago].”
Cornwell said that he’ll need to move to El Dorado Lanes in Westchester for league competition. “But they don’t have room for our league,” he said.
He added that he hoped he could land a “conversation with the guy that calls the shots” to make a personal plea to keep the leagues going.
The merger of Bowlmor and AMF resulted in a new company called Bowlmor AMF. It is the largest operator of bowling centers in the world with 7,500 employees and 272 bowling centers.
Before the merger, Bowlmor operated six bowling centers, which were under the control of Tom Shannon, who is now the chief executive, chairman and president of Bowlmor AMF.
In an interview after the merger, Shannon said that Bowlmor was the “only bidder willing to pay” to help AMF out of bankruptcy. It was the second time in 10 years that AMF had been in bankruptcy.
“I didn’t buy AMF to get in bankruptcy a third time, but to save it,” Shannon said in the July 9 interview.
None of Bowlmor’s bowling centers have league play.
And now it appears, fewer and fewer AMF bowling centers will offer league play as well.