Michigan Man Discovers 160 Bowling Balls During Home Renovation Project

David Olson found 160 Brunswick bowling balls during home renovation project.
D. Olson

“I was shocked, concerned, and then curious,” David Olson, 33, told Inside Edition Digital.

If you don’t know David Olson, maybe you know him by his other name: "The Bowling Ball Guy."

Olson was in the midst of removing the old concrete steps at his Michigan home when he discovered a bowling ball. He didn’t think anything of it and kept working on his renovation until he found another ball and then another ball.

Within a four-hour period, Olson unearthed a total of 160 bowling balls. Each ball had the same engraving, “Brunswick.”

“I was shocked, concerned, and then curious,” Olson told Inside Edition Digital. 

The bowling balls weren't in the best condition and each had two spiral grooves cut into them. He said they all came in a variety of colors but the majority of them were black. And, most were the same size in diameter but were varying weights.

“My first question was why is this here? Was there any more? Are they composed of hazardous materials? And if so, how I would go about disposing of them?" Olson said.

Growing up, Olson remembered a Brunswick bowling ball plant was located in Muskegon, Michigan, not too far from where he lived. 

As a father of three young children, ages 1, 2, and 5, he said he wanted to make sure the balls weren't toxic and called Brunswick Bowling Products, who told him that the bowling balls, which were made in the 1950s, were indeed safe and could be disposed of.

Excited by all the new information he was learning, he created a Facebook group he named “The Bowling Ball Guy,” for those interested in what he described as "the status of my balls."

“My goal has been to share my experience and add a positive article to the news feeds of all that are interested,” he said. "I will continue to post updates that happen and am even considering another excavation to scope the number of balls still in the surrounding ground."

He said that his post has generated interest from random people, including former Brunswick employees who told him that some of the workers used to take scrapped bowling balls to use as a cheaper alternative to gravel or sand.

"I am humbled and in shock as to how far my story has reached," he said.

Since the page went up, he posted how he incorporated the bowling balls into his landscaping design. He also shared how he donated eight of the balls to a local church that, he said, plans to use them in their bowling-ball cannon at a pig roast. Some are also going to his stepfather, who plans to use them as custom furniture legs.

As Olson continued to dig in search of more balls, he said he was bowled over when his story seems to have scored points with the people at Brunswick.

Olson said a global marketing representative sent him an email that he showed to Inside Edition Digital, which said that his “bowling ball discovery was creating quite a buzz in the local and industry news," and then inquired if they [Brunswick] could get one or two of the balls for their offices that would be great for “conversation and nostalgia."

Olson told Inside Edition Digital that he was hoping to negotiate a trade with the company and figured it may be a good time to play some “hardball."

“I told them I will give them two of the more attractive balls I have in exchange for two new Brunswick bowling balls,” Olson said.

Olson said he hasn't heard back from Brunswick yet.

Nevertheless, he is still waiting and is hopeful.

Olson, who grew up near an AMF bowling alley and remembers spending many Saturdays playing Cosmic Bowling there, said “I have always wanted my own usable bowling ball and would like one for my wife as well and maybe they could even throw in a bag so my wife and I can bowl in style," 

When asked what level he thought he was, he laughed and said: “I am not very good at bowling, but did get a score of 200 once."

He added: "I would consider my bowling experience as a beginner and used it as more of social activity."

In the meantime, Olson is doing all he can to make that deck became a reality. He launched his own GoFundMe, “Help the Bowling Ball Man Fund,” with hopes to raise funds to pay for the replacement of his patio and to build a new deck, and promises to document the entire process for all those who donate. 

"There are more balls in the ground and by golly I'd like to see them out. If not that's fine too,” he wrote. 

“Together we can grab life by the balls and make a change in someone's life. That one smile or positive thought could change a strangers life exponentially,” he said. 

As of Wednesday, Olson has raised $25 towards his goal of $15,000 and feels hopeful as to keep the “ball rolling” he said to help finance his future excavation.

When Inside Edition Digital reached out to the bowling ball manufacturer they were not available for comment.

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