by Fred Eisenhammer
GARDEN GROVE – The message on the AMF Valley View Lanes website tells the story: “We’re sorry to say that AMF Valley View Lanes has closed. We have deeply appreciated your patronage and support over the years. “We’ve made great bowling memories together, and we would like to continue to do so by inviting you to bowl with us at AMF Cerritos Lanes!’’
Thus, another bowling center has shut its doors – this time one in the Orange County city of Garden Grove, about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Valley View was part of Bowlero Corp. (formerly known as Bowlmor AMF), the largest bowling center operator in the world with more than 300 centers, most of which are in the U.S.
An AMF Cerritos Lanes manager refused to discuss details of the closure, saying he was not authorized to provide information.
Dick Sanders, the longtime owner and director of the West Coast Senior Tour, staged a few tournaments at Valley View, most recently a doubles tournament in 2011. He said he was not surprised that the center closed, citing Bowlmor’s merger with AMF in 2013.
“When AMF sold [Valley View] to Bowlmor, I didn’t think it would be long,” he said.
Valley View Lanes, which closed last month, played host to three leagues: Sam’s Town No-Tap (Monday), Early Birds (Tuesday morning) and Gold Coast Special (Wednesday).
Sanders said the bowling center “used to have 40” leagues, turning instead to the “fast buck” of such partygroup attractions as cosmic bowling – a night-time experience of loud music, dark surroundings and glowing pins.
Online reviews of the 32-lane bowling center had been decidedly mixed.
Jessica of Buena Park, for instance, gave the bowling center five stars (out of five) on Jan. 29. She praised the parking, the price for bowling, the food and the bowling alley. Among her comments: “The bowling alley was not too loud, had great noise control and was clean. A plus for sure! Great variety of balls and prepared lanes.
“Return? Definitely! They give you $3-off coupon for your next visit if you take the short survey online.”
By contrast, Will of Garden Grove gave the bowling center a scathing one-star review in December.
Said Will: “Atrocious experience with bowling and arcades. Over 60 bucks for four games, two people. Then we played some video games (or tried). The basketball games ate our coins and [there is] NO indication of how much it costs to play.
“However, at the restaurant and grill, staff [was] very friendly and helpful. Pizza was quick and drink refills for kids are unlimited. But otherwise, the total experience was unacceptable. Not recommended. We will not return.”