William “Scotty” Laughland is a record-setting amateur bowler who has won numerous singles, doubles, and team championships in Ontario, Michigan, and elsewhere. He has bowled 45 perfect games during incredible nine-decade career that outdistances any other Windsor-Essex bowler.
Laughland was born on May 23, 1930, in Kingsville. He moved to Windsor with his family at the age of six.
In 1944, a teenaged Laughland took a job as a pinsetter at the Palace Recreation (later renamed Crescent Lanes) bowling alley. Owners George Kerry and Harry Lukas allowed Laughland to bowl for free when lanes were open.
Laughland quickly took to the game and, in 1948, entered Ford’s Midnight League – more commonly referred to as the “Owl League” – at Regal Lanes on Drouillard Road. Laughland was working the midnight shift at Ford Motor Company at the time, so he would bowl in the morning after leaving work.
Since that year, Laughland has been a member of numerous championships teams in both Windsor and Detroit leagues.
In 1949, Laughland won the Windsor Palace Recreation Singles Championship, his first individual title. He began that year to compete in Windsor’s Classic Leagues, contested at the Crescent Lanes and Palace Recreation, as a member of the Towne Shoppe team. He competed in the Leagues for a number of years, most famously in the 1950s alongside Sandy Balint, Aurele Belanger, and Lou and Cliff Fauteux, representing East Windsor Tavern. Laughland also bowled for Cullen’s Pro Shop, Johnny’s Spring Service, and Crescent Lanes.
Laughland’s success in Windsor’s prestigious Molson Masters Singles Tournament is unrivalled. He is a three-time champion (1983, ’84, and 2000), a six-time runner-up (’86, ’90, ’93, ’95, ’98, and ’02), and a five-time high qualifier (’55, ’67, ’84, ’99, and ’02). Between 1968 and ’93, Laughland won the WECBA Singles Scratch and All-Events Championships five times each. He is also a two-time Doubles Scratch Champion in local competition. All in all, he has won the WECBA Bowler of the Year trophy 14 times between 1974 and ’97. Between ’74 and ’99, Laughland was named a WECBA First-Team All Star a staggering 23 times.
In 1988, Laughland bowled a 774 three-game series, setting the Windsor Essex County Bowling Association High Triple record. It stood until the late ’90s. Also that year, Laughland bowled a 300 game en route to a WECBA Masters Singles Championship.
At the provincial level, Laughland is a two-time Ontario All-Events Champion (1982, ’90) and was the Ontario Scratch Singles Champion in 2001. He was a five-time Southern Ontario Majors Scratch Champion in the ’80s. He won the ’80 Coca-Cola Singles Classic in Sarnia, which featured Canadian and American competition. Laughland won a gold medal at the first ever 50 and Over Masters Olympic Games, which were held in Toronto in ’85 and involved bowlers from 18 countries. He overcame a Chinese opponent in the final.
Laughland is a three-time Greater Detroit Bowling Association First-Team All-Star (1989, ’98, ’99) who competed across the border throughout his career. Laughland is also a seven-time Michigan Singles Champion (’83, ’86, ’87, ’88, ’92, ’95, ’96) and six-time Great Lakes Senior Bowling Association Tournament Champion. He has also won the Mid-West Super Senior Championship twice, and he took the Detroit Motor City Championship in 2001.
Laughland competed at the Michigan Majors, winning titles in 1979 and ’94 at age 49 and 64 respectively. Remarkably, the tournament involves bowlers of all ages, including professionals. Laughland is its oldest ever champion.
Laughland is a seven-time champion of the Detroit Old Timers Tournament (between 1983 and ’96), which welcomes over 600 bowlers aged 50-plus. He is a five-time American Bowling Congress Seniors Singles Champion, with all his victories coming in the ’90s.
In 1999, Laughland competed in the National Senior Olympics in Orlando, Florida. He won a gold medal in doubles competition and a silver medal as an individual.
At the Shammy Burt Tournament in Toledo, Laughland famously shared a $25,000 grand prize with teammates John Pavicic, Mike Campbell, Willi Palko, and his wife Sandy.
Laughland was inducted into the Windsor Essex County Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1985. The Greater Detroit Bowling Association Hall of Fame welcomed him into its ranks in ’95.
In 1985, Laughland began to informally instruct bowlers of all ages at Windsor’s Bowlero Lanes. At the time of his induction, classes were still in session.
Laughland was 72 years old when he was welcomed into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame. At that time, Laughland continued to bowl in two of Windsor’s top Classic Leagues – often against players half his age – and on the local Seniors circuit.
For his career, Laughland has bowled 45 perfect games, 19 299 games, a pair of 298 games, and 19 800 three-game series.
Laughland also golfed and played baseball. He won two Civic League titles with Windsor Police (he became a policeman in 1957) and played in the Mic Mac Junior Leagues. He also played Senior ball with the East End Athletic Club. On the golf course, Laughland once recorded a rare double eagle two on the par-five second hold at Windsor’s Roseland Golf Club.