Do you know what kind of lanes you are bowling on? Wood lanes offer different characteristics from synthetic, and the various models of synthetics also differ quite a bit. There are lower friction synthetic panels, like Brunswick ProLane, and higher friction synthetic panels, like AMF HPL. As a league bowler, this can influence the kind of equipment you’ll need for the season, or what new ball to choose to replace an old one. As a tournament bowler, it becomes even more important because you’ll face multiple centers with different types of lanes of all different ages.

Take the time to get to know the lanes you bowl on, make note of what seems to work most often, and be ready to select your tournament arsenal based on the lane surface tendencies that you become aware of at each of the centers where you compete.

Wood: Highest friction, often old and well-worn, with a defined track area. High ball speeds, higher tilt, and higher rotation can help to get balls through the lane with enough pop to carry.

AMF synthetics: Generally lower friction than wood and higher friction than Brunswick synthetics, usually favoring balls that retain energy for the back end.

Brunswick synthetics: Newer lanes are generally lower friction, favoring stronger covers. Older lanes can be very high friction in the fronts, affecting lane play decisions and ball selection to get the ball through the heads.