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April 21, 2021

A bowling ball is a spherical ball that is used to knock down bowling pins in a game of bowling.

Bowling is a fun game with two to four players where the aim of the game is to knock down the pins with the bowling ball. A player rolls the ball towards the pins. The player to knock down the most pins wins the game.

The ball has two holes that are meant for your fingers and one hole for the thumb. But there are some bowling balls that don’t have any holes in them because they are small enough to be held in the palm of your hand. These balls are used for five-pin bowling, candlepin bowling, duckpin bowling, and kegel bowling.

The weight block of bowling balls is usually found in the ball under the shell (coverstock). And there are two types of weight blocks; High Mass and Low Mass.

High Mass: The high mass weight block is a weight block that is shaped like a pancake. This weight block is normally placed close to the shell of the ball.

Low Mass: The low mass weight block has different shapes and densities and is normally placed in the middle of the bowling ball.

Historical background on bowling balls

Bowling has been played for thousands of years. In Egypt, a child who was buried about 5,200 years ago was found with a set of stone pins when the grave was excavated.

Most bowling balls are made of Lignum vitae which is a very hard wood. And they are designed to work well on different surfaces and to compliment the style and strength of the individual bowlers.

The first rubber bowling ball was made in 1905. Nine years later, the rubber ball was made by Brunswick Corporation. These balls were the most common until 1970 when polyester balls were made. Then in 1980, urethane balls were made. In the 1990s, changes were made to the design of bowling balls and reactive resin balls were introduced.

Types of coverstock

When you roll a bowling ball down the lane, the friction that comes between the ball and the lane is a result of the type of ball or coverstock used. If there is more friction between the ball and the surface of the lane, it means there is more hook potential. And the amount of friction created is dependent on the type of coverstock.

Bowling balls are made up of four types of coverstock and they are;

  1. Plastic
  2. Urethane
  3. Reactive Resin, and
  4. Particle (Proactive)

PlasticThe smooth surface of plastic helps in effectively reducing the hook potential because it brings down friction substantially. For beginners, this will be the best type of ball, since they might prefer to have a ball that fits their hand perfectly. Other players might use this to shoot spares or for practice.

Particle (Proactive) Particle or proactive coverstock balls are used mostly by expert players. It generates high friction. This is because they are bumpy and have a rough surface. One might say that a proactive coverstock is like a ‘snow tire, with chains.’ It can even dig into heavily oiled lanes and grounds. This comes highly recommended for all advanced players.

Urethane: Urethane balls are probably the step ahead after plastic balls since they have more hook potential than plastic balls, but lesser than resin or particle coverstock balls. They are quite durable. It produces increased friction, which makes sure the ball does not deflect often and allows for good pin action. This can be a good choice for someone looking to upgrade from the basic plastic coverstock.

Reactive Resin: Reactive resin coverstock provides better friction, hook potential and pin action compared to both plastic and urethane coverstock. Since they produce high friction, they are a bit difficult to control. Their movement can be affected by the conditions of the lane and the actions of the bowler. This makes this a ball that is suited for professional and expert players. It is used extensively by those seeking lane reactions and hook activity. The only downside of this coverstock is that it does not last very long.


Types of cores

Firstly, the core of a bowling ball is made by adding heavy substances like bismuth graphite to resin to create a dense type of plastic, or to a ceramic material.

Understand that bowling balls are not just spheres. There are different types of bowling ball cores and they come in different shapes and sizes. Here, we will classify them into three types namely:

  1. Pancake cores
  2. Symmetrical cores
  3. Asymmetrical cores

Pancake coresTrue to its name, a pancake looks like a pancake. Or at least like a small disk or hockey puck. You can find them in most urethane and reactive resin balls. They sit on one portion of the ball, and their main function is to balance all the mass lost when holes are drilled into the ball. This type of core is very common. This is only because it is the most reliable and has been tried and tested over time by players and is most preferable to them.

Symmetrical cores: The next type of core is the symmetrical core. These are large cores that don’t have a high intermediate differential. Symmetrical cores were designed when makers wanted to move away from pancake cores and make balls with better performance. Symmetric cores allow for more finger-hole formations. They also provide better hook potential.

Asymmetrical cores: Asymmetrical cores have a high intermediate differential. They can be in different shapes like cylinders or semi-circles. They provide high friction, compared to symmetrical cores that give a smooth motion for the most part. One drawback, however, is that their balance and quality can get affected easily by finger hole formations.


Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about bowling balls:

What type of bowling ball should I get?

People say that your bowling ball should be about 10 percent of your total body weight, which is up to and about 16 pounds. The thing is, most pro bowlers use 16-pound balls, which is more than those that use the 15 pound balls. Another way to determine the type of bowling ball you should use is to add one or two pounds to the weight of the house ball you usually use.

What bowling ball weight should I use?

Like has been mentioned above, you should use the 10% rule. This means that a bowling ball should only weigh about 10 percent of your total body weight. What this means is that if your total body weight is 150 pounds, you should not use an 8-pound ball. Instead, you use a 15-pound ball. Also, your ball should not be so heavy that it makes you uncomfortable. You want power and control.

What coverstock hooks the most?

The coverstock that hooks the most is the particle (proactive) coverstock. This ball is like snow tires covered in chains. This makes for the best hooks between the ball and the surface of the lane. This type of coverstock is usually used only by the more seasoned bowlers.

What is the best bowling ball for a hook?

There are many bowling balls that hook well and some of them are:

  1. Brunswick Rhino Metallic Bowling Ball 
  2. Hammer Black Widow Bowling Ball
  3. Motiv Trident Bowling Ball
  4. Motiv Forge Bowling Ball
  5. Brunswick Deep Space Bowling Ball