We all get irritated at the bowling alley as our score falls off the deep end because none of the house balls seems to be working. We have tried drying up the hops with towels for glass cleaning, changed our shoes, and practised many air shots, but nothing seems to work.
Most likely, it would help if you had a bowling ball that fits your need and the lane conditions both. Let’s help you understand how to choose the best ball in any circumstance.
Choosing the best bowling ball requires you to pay attention to three things. First, what is on the outer surface of the ball? Second, what is the core inside it? Third, do the holes match your hand size?
Let’s get into the details.
Table of Content
Finding the Right Surface for You
The outer surface of the ball is the first thing you notice in a bowling ball. You will have three options, a dull surface, a medium finish, or a highly polished surface.
Duller surfaces are made with polyester, and better-polished covers are made up of reactive resins like urethane.
Ball Surface and Skid Distance
The surface primarily controls how long the ball will skid on the lane. You can look at it as controlling when the ball should start to grip the lane. You do not want the ball to skid too much and not hook. You also do not want the ball to skid too little and lose power.
Look at your strength first. If you can pack a lot of punch, you need dull surfaces. But if you lose accuracy when trying to throw with power, you want a more polished surface.
Beginners are recommended to stick with duller surfaces and slowly progress and experiment with polished surfaces.
Ball Surface and Lane Conditions
Lane conditions can vary from being dry to highly slick. Choosing a dull ball surface and trying to bowl on a dry lane is a bad idea. To get the optimum skid, you have to adjust to the lane conditions.
Even if you have a lot of power in your bowling arm, dry lane conditions mean you can choose highly polished surfaces and get more ability and hook.
Fine Tuning the Surface
Just because the bowling balls come in three polish categories does not mean you have to live with their limitations. What should you do if a medium finish is too slow for you and a highly polished one is too fast?
Once you have purchased a ball, you can fine-tune it. Start to polish it to get more skid until you are satisfied or rough up the surface to decrease the skid.
Finding the Right Core for You
The ball’s core dictates when the ball starts to spin and how fast it spins. There are two main control factors; the first is the shape of the core, and the second is the size of the core.
The Shape of the Core
Bowling ball cores come in only two types. Symmetrical and Asymmetrical. The only thing you need to understand is that asymmetrical cores are unbalanced inside. When you throw them, they continuously try to find their balance point, which makes them spin earlier and hook more.
If your lane conditions are too slick, you would want an asymmetrical core. This will mean that the bowling ball spins earlier in the lane, and you get some control over the hook.
If the lane conditions are drier, the asymmetrical cores imbalance responds to the increased friction, causing the ball to flare out and hook too much. Pick symmetrical cores so that the ball does not have any unwanted motions in those conditions.
The Size of the Core
The size of the core dictates how the mass is distributed over the ball. Specifically, smaller cores have less rotational inertia. These balls will start to spin easier and earlier in the lane but lose their power down the lane on drier conditions. Larger cores need more energy and time to start revving up so they can have a lot of spin at the end of the lane.
So if you want to hook more and the lane conditions are slicker, smaller cores are the way to go. If you want more power in your spin and the lane conditions are relatively drier, larger cores will allow you to pack a lot of punch in your throw.
The technical term used to represent larger and smaller core is higher or lower RG, where RG stands for Radius of Gyration.
The overall weight of the ball entirely depends on what you are comfortable with. To find out your ideal ball weight, go to a bowling alley and start throwing balls. Among the house balls, find the one who feels the easier. The weights will be between 6-16 pounds. Your goal is to find the most significant weight you can throw for 2 to 3 games without developing fatigue or strain in your arms and hands.
When you buy a new ball, you should buy one that is two pounds heavier than the house ball. If the 12-pound ball felt the best, buy the 14-pound ball. Why?
The house ball is never be fitted to your style and your grip. With the proper grip and provided holes, that same 12-pound ball will feel too light. This is why generally, it is advised to go up by one or two pounds when you are getting a custom and new ball.
Say No to Pre-Drilled
If you think of buying pre-drilled balls, you should not even bother spending any money and use the free house balls. The most control you can have on a bowling ball comes from your grip. The weight and the surface of the ball come secondary.
With the proper grip, you will see your game improve significantly. Many places will offer free drilling at the point of purchase, but you can visit a pro shop if not. They will ask you to throw a few balls to learn your style and understand which grip suits you best. Then they will measure your hand’s span and other attributes and drill accordingly.
Once you hold a bowling ball drilled precisely for you, the ball will feel lighter, it will be easier to release, and you will have decreased the chance of injury.