How To Buy A Bowling Ball

Bowling is solely not dependent on skills, as it appears to be. Apart from skill and expertise, one must also have a great ball. The point is not whether it’s your first time bowling or your 50th. The key to bowling a perfect game is choosing the right ball. One can improve his/her game by using the right bowling ball. In some cases, more than one ball is needed for executing different styles and for different oiled lanes in just one game. Therefore, we need to know how to buy a ball and in what situation they work best is essential for scoring in bowling.

How To Buy A Bowling Ball

A Complete Guideline For How To Buy A Bowling Ball

To purchase or choose the most suitable bowling ball, you need to consider a few things. Indeed, the build quality needs to be top-notch. Other than that, you need to look for the technical compatibility of bowling as well.

1. Consider Cover Stock

Cover stock is the outer layer of the bowling ball. At first glance, it seems like a cover stock is all about looks, but it is more than that. The outer layer somewhat determines how the ball will roll and what oil-conditioned lane is best for a particular cover stock. Generally, you would find three different polishes in cover stock for three types of lanes. One is extremely shiny; one is quite matte with not much shine, and lastly, one is in between the previous two. For these three types of finishes, three types of material are usually used. They are as follows.

I. Polyester or plastic

This is the most beginner-friendly option for bowlers. The polyester or plastic cover stock looks shiny or glossy and rolls incredibly well in dry lanes. Therefore, these are most suited for dry lanes. Although plastic bowling balls are attractive to look at, they are not the best for bowling. These balls have less potential for hooking. With that being said, plastic bowling balls are better for straight throws or as spare balls. Note that polyester or plastic balls can come in various different weights and cores.

II. Urethane

Urethane bowling balls were quite popular a few decades ago. However, the newer version is developed with the latest technology. Incorporated with a newer core, these balls have made a strong comeback. Urethane balls are the ones that are not too smooth or not too aggressive. It is the perfect in-between that works amazingly in light to medium oil lanes. Moreover, it has better hooking potential than plastic balls. Although urethane cover stock is considered a beginner-level ball, it does have more potential. It has better control and precision. Therefore, for those who are learning to hook or stepping towards an intermediate level from a beginner level, this type of ball is ideal for them.

III. Reactive Resin

Most high-performance bowling balls have reactive resin cover stock. These are more for intermediate or advanced bowlers. Above that, most professionals use this type of bowling ball in tournaments. Among the three types, reactive resin is the most aggressive one, and it absorbs oil from the lane. The outer layer of these balls has a different level of resin particles that allows them to create friction in the lane. These balls have the most hooking power and can create a smooth and powerful curve in the lane. The curvature is most apparent in the backend, and as a result, it takes down the pins like a piece of cake. Reactive resin balls are usually of three kinds; pearl reactive, solid reactive, and hybrid. The pearl-reactive ball is the smoothest among the three and creates the least friction. These balls save up power for the finishing and hit the pins with immense power. On the other hand, solid reactive has the most friction and is the least shiny of all. It rolls slowly, absorbs oil, and creates friction, hence a great hooking opportunity. However, hybrid reactive balls are a mix between pearl-reactive and solid-reactive. It is more like the best of both worlds, having the powerful finish of pearl reactive but rolls better in oil-like solid reactive.

2. Choosing the Right Weight

Bowling balls come in different weights. In general, you can find bowling balls starting from 6 pounds to 16 pounds. Based on what material is used or the core, the weight changes. Understanding which weight will be suitable for you can be tricky. Beginner bowlers can start with a light ball and gradually start using a heavy ball. The rule of thumb here is a bowling ball that is about 10% of your body weight. In general, male bowlers choose a ball between 15 to 16 pounds, female bowlers go for 10 to 12 pounds, and even the lighter ones are more for younger people. FYI, professionals mostly stick to balls weighing between 15 to 16 pounds. A bowling ball should be heavy, but it shouldn’t be as heavy as it can be a struggle to hold in one hand. If you need more energy to hold that weight, try the smaller size.

3. Consider Core Type

The core of a bowling ball is what controls its motion and power. In the description of any bowling ball, you will find one of the two types of core, either the ball has a symmetrical core or an asymmetrical core. The names of the cores are pretty self-explanatory. The difference between these two types of core is in the motion the ball creates. With practice and time, you can learn and grasp more about these cores. Additionally, the size of the core also determines the motion of the bowling ball. The core can be in different sizes or shapes. Smaller cores tend to spin a lot faster, while bigger cores spin a little slower.

4. Drill Options

You will find standard bowling balls with generic drills in them. It is best to avoid purchasing those pre-drilled balls. As different people have different preferences on holding the ball to draw appropriate power, the holes need to be aligned to their preferences. Therefore, it is better to go for a bowling ball that is not drilled and drill holes in it later.

Other Considerable Factors

We have discussed the bodily parts of a bowling ball that you need to consider before buying. Now let’s get into the intangible parts of a bowling ball that are equally important.

I. Bowler

The key to finding the best bowling ball is not to get the best ball but rather to find the best ball that works best for you. A wide range of bowling balls is available in the market for a reason. Among those thousands of options, you need to search for the one that enhances your skills. A lightweight ball might work for children or amateurs, but it will not work for adults. A ball suitable for your weight and height is essential. Also, how much force you are giving while throwing or how fast you are going reflects on bowling. So, you must choose a bowling ball that works best for you.  To provide an example, a 12 pounds ball might be the most suitable ball for you. However, if you think just because professionals use 16 pounds bowling balls, you will use that too; you might get underwhelming results. Similarly, one might effortlessly hit pins with a symmetric core ball, but you might find asymmetric cores perform better for your style. In short, depending on the bowler’s age, weight, motion, speed, or power, the choice of a bowling ball can vary.

II. RG or Differential of RG

RG stands for Radius of Gyration. In simple words, RG lets you know how much the ball will spin when you throw it. This factor is related to the core of the ball too. As we have previously mentioned, the core determines whether the ball will spin a lot or less. This characteristic is determined by the RG differential. You can also find out the hooking potential from RG. The RG value can range from 2.460 to 2.800. From 2.460 to 2.570 is considered low RG, 2.570 to 2.680 as medium RG, and 2.680 to 2.800 as high RG. You can get the idea of the core to cover stock distance from RG values. Lower RG balls have a smaller core and are concentrated more in the center. It is the opposite for higher RG bowling balls, which means the core finished almost near the cover stock. With low RG value, the ball tends to spin faster, ending up losing power as it goes. With lower power, the hooking potential increases by the end of the lane. On the other hand, high RG balls save up power for the end by spinning less. As a result, it can powerfully finish off by hitting the pins with a powerful hook. Furthermore, the differential of RG declares the track flare of a ball, or in other words, the hooking potential. Bowling balls with a high differential of RG have more track flare or more hooking potential, whereas a lower differential of RG balls has lower track flare and tends to go straight. You can start playing with a lower RG ball as you are a beginner. You can go for the higher RG balls once you get a hold of bowling and want to create more hooks.

III. Lane Type

Different materials or bowling balls work on different lanes. Polyester or plastic is more suitable for dry lanes, whereas, for heavy oiled lanes, reactive resin balls are more suitable. Depending on the lane type you will be playing, you need to choose your preferred ball. If you need to play on different lanes, you might have to consider purchasing different bowling balls. However, you might need to have different ball options for executing different styles properly.

IV. Price

In any purchase, the price of the products is a contributing factor. You want the value that you have to spend on an item; bowling balls are no exception. Keep in mind that you get what you paid for. You can find cheap bowling balls, and they are more likely to be cheap quality as well. With a higher price, you are more likely to get higher quality. You can find beginner-friendly bowling balls at a reasonable price compared to professional balls.

V. Holes

Finger holes help you to play better. But if the finger holes are too snug or too loose, it’ll hurt your fingers and may ruin your game.

VI. Handspan

Your hand should not be puffed out flat on the exterior of the ball. when you are positioning the ball make sure that there’s a little breathing room in the middle of your palm and the ball. If there is too much gap between your hand and the bowling ball, which causes the ball to bounce more, look for a ball with a wider hole.

In The End

Buying your first ball is always exciting. Keep in mind that this can go sideways. If you purchase a ball that overpowers you, you mind finding it difficult to work with. Conversely, a bowling ball that does not match up with your skills can ruin your enthusiasm. Therefore, understand the characteristics of a bowling ball and determine what suits you the most. Also, remember as you grow in bowling, the need for a bowling ball might also change.