Ken Hall turning attention from bowling to golf

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, 2018-04-23 18:37:30


All was quiet Monday afternoon at Spare Time-Latham, but in a cubbyhole behind the front desk Ken Hall was still at work, busier than ever.

Since Hall, 61, announced his plans to retire from the pro shop business as of May 15, he has gotten a lot of 11th-hour requests from bowlers.

“It’s crazy,” Hall said. “I should have talked about retiring three years ago. I’ve got five balls to drill today.”

Hall, a lifelong Capital Region resident and former Professional Bowlers Association touring player, said he doesn’t want to quit, but he has to.

An avid golfer who won the 2003 Capital Stroke Play crown, arguably the area’s most coveted title, Hall wants to save his hands — weakened by Lyme disease, which he contracted several years ago — for the outdoor sport.

“I can’t do the stuff on the spinner,” he said, referring to a machine in his shop. “I wake up in the middle of the night, my hands are like this (curling his fingers near his palms). I have to pry them apart. My forearms are cramped up, and then I can’t get back to sleep. The drilling’s fine. Lessons are good.”

He may continue to do some ball drilling and lessons a couple of days a week, but his shop at Spare Time-Latham officially closes May 15. The center will host a send-off party from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday for anyone interested.

Vinny Bonanni, who has worked at the since-closed pro shops at the Bowlers Club, Redwood Lanes and Playdium, will take over in Latham.

Hall, who no longer bowls competitively, leaves behind a career that includes a PBA regional title, one PBA national TV appearance and a USBC team championship (with Bruegger’s Bagels in 1993).

He puts those among his top athletic feats, along with some golf accomplishments, including winning a state team championship at Shaker High and capturing the Eagle Crest Shootout.

“I bowled because I had to,” he said. “I golfed because I wanted to. It’s hard to play golf when you’re like this. If I had another year next year like I had this year, as far as how hard I had to work… it’s no good to retire and not be able to do anything. I know at least I’ve got a couple of years that I can still go play (golf).”

Local scene

A week before heading out on the PWBA Tour, Liz Kuhlkin of Rotterdam won the NYS Queens in Newburgh. At the start of the stepladder finals, she doubled in the 10th to beat four-time defending champion Shallon Sellens of Copiague, 207-201. Kuhlkin defeated top-seeded Kelly Leskoske 252-202 in the final match to win the $1,050 top prize. … A 9-pin and 10-pin in the second game kept Billy Wigand IV from perfection at Hometown. He sandwiched 300 games around a 278, which featured single-pin leaves in the ninth frame and on the fill ball in the 10th. The 878 triple is eight pins shy of the Troy Bowling Association record, held by Steve Smith.

Jenna Lemke, the 2017 Times Union girls’ bowling Athlete of the Year for Bethlehem, earned first-team All-America honors by the the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association. A freshman for Schenectady County Community College, Lemke also won the NCBC’s Rookie of the Year award. SCCC’s Lauren Piotrowski of Schenectady was selected second-team All-America. … The Royals, making their first appearance in the International Singles Championships at Lincoln, Neb., finished 1-2 in the double-elimination event.

Colonie graduate Amanda Chrzanowski, a freshman at Fairleigh Dickinson, lost her second-round match in the Intercollegiate Singles Championships at Lincoln to Ashton Anderson of Newman (Wichita, Kan.), 682-622. … Tom Hankey of Great Barrington, Mass., beat Chrzanowski 211-168 at Hi-Way Recreation to set a Capital District Youth Scholarship Tournament record with his seventh victory of the season. It also was his record-tying 11th career triumph.

Craig Clemons of Pittsfield, Mass., captured his first New Era Senior Tour title with a 226-190 victory over Rich Strath of Altamont to claim the $450 top prize at Sportsman’s. There were 40 entries. … Ryan Graywacz of Canastota won the Match Play Madness tournament at Kingpin’s Alley, beating Connor LeClair of Athens in the final. … In our list of the top area USBC Masters finishers in last week’s column, we overlooked Zachary Doty of Nassau (125th, 2,974), who topped all Capital Region competitors.

National news

Mary Carillo profiles the University of Nebraska women’s bowling program and its coach, Bill Straub, on “Real Sports,” which premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday on HBO.

Pete Dougherty’s column is published Tuesdays during the bowling season. Items to be considered for publication can be submitted by fax (518-454-5819) or

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