General Ball Info
New Standard Reactive Hybrid
800 Abranet / 1000 / 2000 / 4000 Abralon
Purple / Silver / Orange / Plum
The Columbia 300 Benchmark takes the proven core of the Power Swing and surrounds it with the first marketed Columbia 300 hybrid reactive cover. The cover is three parts solid to one part pearl, giving the Benchmark added length over a traditional fully solid cover, but a smoother downlane motion than a purely pearl veneer. This ball at the box finish matched up with nearly everything we threw it on.
The best reaction the testers had was on the medium test pattern. The Benchmark glides through the front of the lane and starts using its energy in the midlane. The ball has enough hook downlane to avoid flat hits in the pocket, but is far from an angular motion. We are usually skeptical lately of balls claiming to be smooth and predictable because they have hooked more than we expected. This was not the case with the Benchmark. We were able to find some success with it at the box finish on every test pattern.
Because of the difference in rev rate, Stroker had the best reaction on the dry test pattern. What the other testers found when they moved left was that the Benchmark gave as smooth a transition as it exited the oil pattern as it did on the medium pattern. For Cranker and Tweener, it was just a matter of getting their feet far enough left. None of the testers had to adjust the box finish.
On the oily test pattern, Cranker squared up to the lane with his feet and target and was easily able to strike with the Benchmark at the 4000 Abralon box finish. Stroker and Tweener were able to get out around the first arrow. One of the benefits of the New Standard Hybrid cover being three parts solid is that it gave them the traction needed to strike with the box finish on this pattern. To see if it would help our reactions any, we roughed Tweener and Stroker’s Benchmarks with 2000 Abralon. This caused the Benchmark to start quicker, but stand up more as it went through the pins, making their carry suffer.
The Benchmark was good on our sport pattern, offering significant traction with superb control. Keep this one in the bag to not give up the pocket on difficult lane conditions.
Strengths: The strength is in its name. The Benchmark lives up to its calling as a ball that combines power and predictability.
Weaknesses: The only conditions that will keep the Benchmark from being thrown are a flood of oil or not oiling the lanes every day. Surface changes can be made to help with these patterns, but there are better ball options.
Overall Summary: The Benchmark will be the ball for Columbia 300 fans to start with. If you want to see more hook, pick up an Encounter or Ransom Demand. If you need a little less, try an Eruption or Freeze.