Article Contents

  • 1. Buying a modern bowling ball
  • 2. The four elements that determine ball reaction
  • 3. The benefits of using limited layouts
  • 4. Summary

When modern bowling balls were introduced in the 1990s, everything changed. We constantly hear about reactive resin covers and dynamic cores, but the things that are rarely discussed are our attitudes and how they’ve either changed or not changed to keep up with the times.

Prior to the introduction of modern balls, there were three ways to alter ball reactions, albeit to a much, much lesser degree than the reactions that we see today. Pre-modern bowling balls had cover material, surface texture, and layouts to manipulate the small amounts of static weight imbalances that were allowed by the American Bowling Congress. To alter ball reaction, the only choices you had were the surface that you chose to put on your ball and the layout that would best suit you and the lane conditions (i.e. finger weight to create length, thumb weight to create earlier roll, etc.).

Even as recently as the late 1980s, when you went to buy a bowling ball, you looked at the two or three choices in balls by four or five companies, made a decision to buy a particular ball based on your own experience with the company, the recommendation of the PSO, or your personal color preference, told the PSO what you wanted the ball to do based on his layout recommendation, and then bought the ball.

Buying a modern bowling ball

Today when you go to buy a bowling ball, you are presented with dozens upon dozens of choices from about a dozen different brands. You can choose covers that are solid, pearl, and hybrid reactives in numerous different formulations, as well as urethane and polyester. You can choose from aggressive asymmetrical cores to less aggressive symmetrical cores. You can choose from low RG cores to high RG cores, and from low flaring low differentials to high flaring high differentials. You can choose dull balls or shiny balls. You can choose balls that are designed to go long and snap, or balls that are designed to roll early and arc. The possible ...

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Rob Mautner

About Rob Mautner

Rob Mautner is a USBC Silver Level Certified Coach. Rob can be found on the lanes coaching and bowling in Las Vegas, Nevada.