Rob Gotterbarn first experienced PBA-level competition as a 19-year-old amateur when he bowled his first PBA East Region tournament in 2010. The Garden City South, NY, resident finished 39th, out of the money.
He tried again in 2011, when he improved to 37th – still short of the cash line, but closer.
Then the former St. John’s University collegiate bowler tried the 2012 U.S. Open, finishing in a tie for 80th place and picking up his first PBA check – for $1,145. It was a turning point.
“Bowling in the U.S. Open was an awesome experience,” Gotterbarn said. “It really made me want to be a PBA24 member.”
The new PBA24 membership program, inviting new players to experience PBA competition for a modest $49 membership fee, was just what Gotterbarn needed to take the next step.
“It was a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the program. College bowling helped me a lot, but the only reason I’m bowling regionals is because I get to bowl with the best bowlers in the world and see what they do. I really enjoy watching them and I’m learning a lot. Without the PBA24 program, it would have made it a lot harder for me to be out here.”
Since becoming a PBA24 member, Gotterbarn has bowled in three East Region tournaments, cashing in two events (Catskill, NY, and Rockaway, NJ). With two cashes, he was required to move up to full PBA membership, which he happily did.
“I definitely want to get there (on the national tour). I’m working every day towards it. That’s my goal, my dream,” he said. “I’m learning how to play the patterns. At the last regional I bowled, I had to grind it out, but I’m watching Patrick Allen and Brad Angelo and Ryan Shafer and Johnathan Bower, and it’s crazy to see what those guys can do when they get lined up on the pattern with the right equipment. I need to learn how to do that. I’m burning into my memory everything those guys are doing.”
Gotterbarn is one of 33 young bowlers, all ages 24 and younger, who have taken advantage of the PBA24 opportunity so far. Additional players who want to test their skills at an affordable price are expected to join as the PBA regional program kicks into high gear over the summer months.
For more information about this program and other PBA membership opportunities, visit pba.com and click on the “join PBA” link.