If you are interested in bowling, you should also know about different types of bowling balls. Not all bowling balls work on all lanes. Firstly, you need to consider various types of lanes and their oil pattern. There are a few types of lanes, and different oil patterns are used on bowling lanes. Keeping those in mind, you need to choose a suitable bowling ball for a particular lane. Then again, you should choose a ball that matches your skill level. With thousands of options in the market, it is easy to be confused. However, once you know everything about different types of bowling balls for different oil conditions, you can easily find the perfect match for you.
4 Different Types of Bowling Balls
Bowling ball types are mainly categorized based on the cover stock material. Cover stock is the feature that makes the ball react differently on different lanes. Generally, four different types of cover stocks can be seen for bowling balls. Therefore, there are four types of bowling balls.
1. Plastic or Polyester Bowling Balls
Plastic or polyester bowling balls are probably the most used bowling balls. The house balls you find in bowling alleys are mostly plastic or polyester. These balls are usually lightweight and suitable for bowlers of any age. Plastic or polyester is the cover stock material of the ball. The surface of the balls is hard, smooth, and shiny. As plastic bowling balls are hard, they roll on the lanes without absorbing much oil. This is why plastic balls are most suitable for dry lanes. Among all the ball types, plastic balls have the least friction and hooking potential. Moreover, plastic balls roll straight and hit the pins with incredible strength. They have a predictable reaction to the lanes, which is why they are good for beginners. More advanced bowlers use these balls for straight throws or to hit spare pins.
- Plastic bowling balls are hard, smooth, and shinny
- They are affordable compared to other types of bowling balls
- Best for dry lanes
- Does not have hooking potential
- Suitable for amateur bowlers
2. Urethane Bowling Balls
Urethane bowling balls can be considered an up-gradation of plastic bowling balls. They are made of polyurethane. These balls are suitable for intermediate bowlers who want more hooking potential than plastic balls. These balls are less smooth than plastic balls, allowing more friction. Due to having more grip compared to plastic or polyester bowling balls, these balls absorb some oil from the lanes. They are most suitable for dry to medium-dry oil conditions. Urethane bowling balls provide better hooking potential than plastic balls. This is why when new bowlers have learned to use plastic balls, then they move on to using urethane balls. Compared to plastic balls, a bowler needs to have better skills to fully control a urethane ball. However, the outcome is far more impressive than plastic balls.
- Slightly textured compared to plastic bowling balls
- Works best on dry to medium-dry lanes
- Has better hooking potential than plastic balls
- Suitable for intermediate to advanced bowlers
3. Reactive Resin Bowling Balls
Reactive Resin is the advanced version of urethane bowling balls. Microscopic pores were introduced to urethane balls for better absorption of oils and resulted in reactive resin bowling balls. These balls are more appropriate for intermediate to advanced bowlers. These balls allow greater flare and hook control, which are more suitable for skilled bowlers. Reactive resin balls have a textured surface which gives more friction. It can absorb quite some oil from the lanes. It is suitable for medium to heavy oil lanes. Reactive resin balls motion is not as predictable as urethane or plastic bowling balls. With so much hooking potential, power to hit pins, and sensitivity to oil conditions, these balls can be tricky to use. You will need practice to successfully control these balls.
- These balls have strong friction and textured surface
- Suitable for medium to heavy oil lanes
- It has great hooking potential
- Reactive resin balls are appropriate for advanced bowlers
4. Particle Bowling Balls
Particle bowling balls are made with the latest technologies and are an updated version of reactive resin bowling balls. For this type of ball, different particles are infused with reactive resin. These particles increase friction and make the ball more advanced than the previous bowling balls. Therefore, these balls are suitable for advanced bowlers. Particle bowling balls have a textured surface. It grips the lanes and absorbs oil. These are perfect for heavy oil condition lanes due to the abrasive surface.
These balls provide incredible power and precision. Nonetheless, these balls are complicated to control and not at all suitable for beginners. Although the price of these balls is quite reasonable, they are not for beginners. Particle balls have high friction. They slide through the beginning and hit the pins with immense power in the backend. The hooking potential for these bowling balls is amazing; no wonder professionals use particle bowling balls in most cases.
- Particle balls are most suitable for heavy oil lanes
- These balls work best on heavy oil lanes
- These have extreme hooking potential
- The balls provide great power, precision, and motion
- Particle balls are suitable for advanced bowlers
On a Final Note
Many people also try to categorize bowling balls based on their core or weight distribution. However, that seems to be less rational as bowling ball manufacturers are always coming up with different core types. Core designs are sometimes exclusive to some brands. The experimentation on design for cores and weight distribution is perpetual. Moreover, the core makes a slight difference in the performance of a bowling ball. The majority of performance-related features are based on the cover stock. So, the core is not an ideal parameter to categorize bowling balls, but cover stock is. That being said, the 4 different types of bowling balls that we discussed are the standard categorization for any bowling ball.