The bowling ball is the most crucial piece in bowling as you might have guessed. It forms the basis of interaction between the lane, the oil pattern, and the pins.
For your shots to result in strikes, your bowling ball must be on par with your skill. You will need comfort, control, and great handling.
Bowling balls are not as simple as many people tend to assume. If you play for a league or play in professional tournaments, you know what I am talking about.
That’s why choosing a bowling ball is a complicated process which his why we have put together this guide. We’ll help you find the best bowling ball for your specific skill level. and maybe even the best bowling ball for a stroker! Make your next trip to the bowling alley a great!
Brief History of Bowling
The earliest form of bowling is thought to have originated approximately 5000 years ago. Egyptians are also associated with throwing games and target style games that dates back to 3200 years ago. In the middle ages, bowling was becoming a popular game, but modern bowling has only been around for the past 100 years. Technology has advanced as well and the best bowling balls make incorporate many of the advances in materials, machining, and balancing.
How do you Throw a Bowling Ball?
Bowling is a fun sport that people of all ages enjoy, with bowling alley's in almost every town. Although you won’t be burning as many calories as you would by running or lifting weights is it still better than sitting on the couch. It works the muscles of your hand building strength in the shoulders, arms, and wrist.
But how do you score a strike when you have no idea how to throw your bowling ball.
First, you will need to find a properly weighted ball that will feel natural in your hand.
How to Grip the Bowling Properly
For beginners, the conventional grip is most recommended. This is because it allows you to control the ball as you roll the ball in a straight line. You should insert the thumb all the way into the thumb hole while the middle and ring finger go into the respective holes up to the second knuckle.
The fingertip grip is usually for experienced bowlers. It involves inserting the thumb all the way while the middle and ring finger go up to the first knuckle.
Remember not to grip the ball too tightly or too loosely.
- Straighten your wrist
- The wrist should be lined up straight with your hand.
- Walk to the line where you will begin your approach
- Swing the ball back backward very gently
- Walk towards the start line and with a relaxed mind, make out an imaginary line on the lane
- Use the natural momentum of the bowling ball to swing it forward, nice and slow
- As it comes up from the swing, release it gradually while keeping it low near your ankle.
- You should finish with your hand in the handshake position.
What Type of Bowler are you?
There are three types of bowlers:
This is the casual bowler who visits the bowling lane once or twice a month with friends. If you don’t want to keep going through the different bowling balls at the house, you will want to choose the appropriate bowling ball for your needs.
You will need to look for a ball that is made of plastic (polyester). This is because it is cheaper and it is easy to grip and handle. You don’t want to spend too much when you are starting out if you never bowl more than thrice in a month.
You can also choose a bowling bowl that has a urethane coverstock. This material is more reactive and has more hook and spin potential.
If you play for a league, it is overwhelming since you have a wide variety of choices. You will need a bowling ball that will help you get better at bowling. For league players, you will want to choose a bowling ball based on your bowling speed.
If you bowl at high speeds, you will want highly reactive balls that have excellent traction to bowl on oily lanes. But if you bowl at slow speeds, a ball with medium performance made of reactive resin is more appropriate as it will bowl well in most oil patterns.
These are bowlers who participate in bowling league competitions a few times a week and compete in tournaments every other weekend.
Here you are looking to have different bowling balls to suit different bowling situations. Highly reactive balls like those with a particle coverstock come highly recommended.
You will also want to pick between low Radius of Gyration (RG) and high RG balls.
RG ratings range from 2.460” to 2.800.”
Low RG from 2.460 to 2.570 means the ball will have an early hook than a high RG ball from 2.680 to 2.800. High RG balls will give you more length. Medium RG is stated from 2.570 to 2.680.
Our Top Picks
1. Brunswick Tzone Deep Space Bowling Ball
Best Bowling Ball for Beginners
If you are looking to own your first bowling ball, Brunswick has their top pick for pinpoint accuracy for beginners. It is a 9lb ball with a high gloss polish.
Straight Line Bowling
As you begin bowling, you will be rolling the ball in a straight line, and this is the ball you want to satisfy those exact needs. It has low flare potential at 0.019 differential, with a high RG of 2.715 max. This bowling ball will offer you more length and is likely to roll in a straight line.
Brunswick has designed this ball with the intention to get beginners the real feel of the game so that you can advance from the stroking to other bowling forms.
With its low hook potential, this ball is a great choice if you encounter dry lanes. It does not have a high reaction which is what you will want when the lanes are extremely dry. It will act as a useful spare ball since it reacts the same no matter the lane conditions. It will give you more accuracy so that you can pick up the spares.
Express your Style
It is easy to see why this bowling ball is loved since it comes in assorted colors and patterns. From the Deep Space model that we have, to Arctic Blast, Gold Envy, Scarlet Shadow, Blue, Green, Pink, and a mix of colors. Now you can get into bowling in your terms.
2. Hammer Black Widow Legend Bowling Ball
Best Intermediate Bowling Ball
Taking after the company’s Black Widow with black and red pearl accents, this bowling bowl is top of the list for quality. It combines the best specs for professional bowling including a hybrid coverstock and Gas Mask Core.
For Medium to Heavy Oil Lanes
This ball has a factory polish finish with a 1000-grit Abralon finish beneath it. It also includes ceramix surface process, flex-resin additive, and carbon fiber outer-core. It is aggressive in that it will bite onto the lane and provide excellent traction useful for heavy oil lanes.
You will never experience a ball that loses speed halfway through the lanes such that it misses the pocket. But don’t expect it to perform well on lanes that are dry.
This ball comes with adult weights from 12-16lbs. The Gas Mask Core is attributed for the medium RG value of 2.5 at 300rpm and 0.058 differential on the 15-pounder. It will give you both length and hook which makes it a great pick for intermediate and tournament bowlers and lanes with heavy oil.
3. Storm Timeless
Best Tournament Bowling Ball
Storm Timeless is probably the best balls in the market today with its reactive coverstock. Jason Belmonte, a reigning three-time PBA player of the year, supervised the designing of this ball which makes it the most sought bowling ball for tournaments.
Rapid Acceleration Core
If you want to improve your gaming skills to the 200 average, you will want to consider the Storm Timeless. Built with a dual-drive core, this bowling ball generates faster revving action as the two energy blocks within each other in the core transmit great energy.
It gains a high-intensity drive that results in hitting the balls with tremendous energy. It also comes with adult weights to maintain its brute force in whichever weight ball you choose.
Hybrid R2S Coverstock
Timeless Storm is not one without innovative features. It has a hybrid reactive-resin coverstock that accounts for its power and velocity. R2S acts much like most successful bowling balls like the Frantic, Hy-Road, and IQ Tour. It has excellent consistency with reasonable friction for excellent pin action. Good in all oil conditions.
4. Brunswick Quantum Fire Pearl
Best Premium Bowling Ball
The Brunswick Quantum Fire Pearl is a ball that gives you power and speed. With 3.5 times more overstock, this bowling ball provides excellent pin action. It is loud you will hear it burst through the pins with high energy that produces faster pin reaction and quicker transfer of energy to the other pins. The reactive coverstock is excellent.
Why 3.5x more coverstock?
Quantum Fire Pearl has a design with thicker layers of urethane coverstocks. They are durable and offer tremendous energy through a process called coefficient of restitution. It produces high restitution to hit the balls with a high force that causes them to move faster.
When the urethane coverstock is combined with the symmetrical mushroom core, this ball garners effortless skidding while maintaining axis rotation. It ensures perfect length and superior backend reaction on medium oil lanes. The core design is excellent.
This ball can be drilled using the conventional drilling for symmetric cores. It allows you to see immediate results more so if you bowl in leagues and tournament. While it can be used in all oil conditions it is best suited to medium oil lanes.
Make this your strike ball today.
5. Pyramid Path Bowling Ball
Best Kids Bowling Ball
Available from 8lbs, this bowling ball is the perfect bowling ball for kids. It provides excellent control in young hands that have a love for the game. It will also cater to everyone else who has difficulty in throwing a heavy ball since you can choose from six other weights.
Straight Line Bowling
Kids will want to start with the classic stroking which is a straight line. This ball has low hook potential and low flare which results in straight rolling. It will form the basics of improving in skill because it is super easy to control and keep it from rolling into the gutter.
The polyester coverstock makes it an ideal pick when bowling in lanes where you don’t know the exact conditions of the lane and especially if it is a dry lane. This is because it has a consistent roll that you can control.
Kids will not be dealing with the natural curve of the ball because of the pancake core. It produces accurate results that will guide beginners on their precision skills.
With Pyramid Path bowling ball, kids will get to choose from different colors and patterns so they can express their style. It is such a wonderful way to begin bowling.
FAQ and Additional Information
How much does it cost to get your grip fitted?
After getting your bowling ball, the first thing you want to do is to get fitted for your grip at a professional pro shop. Being fitted for your grip is highly recommended if you are a professional bowler.
Drilling at a pro shop can be anywhere from $50 to $70. Remember that they use technicians who determine your exact pattern.
Choosing a Bowling Ball Weight
Bowling balls have different weights from 6 pounds to 16 pounds. The weight of your ball will depend on many factors. Most pro bowlers will go for a 15-pound ball for men while women go for 14-pound balls. For seniors and juniors, the 12-pound is a popular pick and for women who have difficulties controlling an enormous weight.
Choosing a Bowling Ball Material
Bowling balls have two main parts which are the coverstock and the core. The coverstock is the outer layer which you see on the ball. There are four coverstocks used in bowling balls. These coverstocks have different reactions to the surface. They dictate how well the ball is going to roll on the alley. High friction creates a high hook potential. The lane conditions you will be bowling in regularly also have an impact on the type of material you should choose.
These are the ideal bowling balls for beginners. They roll smooth and have low hook potential because of the low friction. You get all the control all you need while learning how to predict the movement of the ball.
Plastic coverstocks work well with dry lanes.
This coverstock is easy to control. It has high hook potential which makes it better at achieving great pin action. It also has a nice feel to the hand which allows it hook and deflect less. Urethane coverstocks are more durable than plastic.
This coverstock has the highest reaction, and therefore, a very high hook potential. They are sensitive to lane conditions but provide better spin action. Because of their high friction, they contort and spin as they roll down the lane. Most professional bowlers prefer this coverstock over others.
This overstock has the highest traction. It has a bumpy surface that allows it to grip and dig into the lanes especially those that are heavily oiled. Their high response provides an aggressive movement to allow for excellent spin action. These coverstocks are not an obvious pick except for advanced bowlers and bowling on very oily lanes.
Understanding the Core of the Bowling Ball
Referred to as the engine of the bowling ball, the core also known as the weight block also plays a vital role in bowling. There are a wide variety of shapes, but they fall into three major types.
These cores or weight blocks are typically found in low-end plastic, and entry-level urethane bowling balls. Their shape is quite similar to that of a pancake or a puddle, and their performance is very similar.
The core is designed to be on one side of the ball, while the other has a filler material. With a small pancake core, the ball is easy to control, that’s why beginners prefer them. Pancake cores cause the ball to roll in a straight line.
These are large cores that occupy a large chunk of the center of the bowling ball. The shapes can vary in the way they look, but they are symmetrical. They do not have distinct masses in the center which make them mostly two-piece bowling balls.
The most common types of symmetrical cores (weight blocks) are bulb cores. They have a medium flare which translates into balls that have more break to give more hook and curve.
Intermediate and experienced bowlers usually use these cores since they give a decent mid-ground where they can curve without you losing control of where they roll.
Tack flare potential values are from 0.01-0.08 differential range. Balls with the lowest differential of 0.008 and below are regarded to have symmetrical cores while all others are asymmetrical cores.
Asymmetrical cores have lots of bite and aggression which makes them hard to control. They come in lots of shapes and sizes but ultimately they perform similarly, and the core is at the center of the ball. Bowling balls with these types of cores require lots of practice to handle since they offer better chances at strikes.
What’s the Best Ball for Hook?
Analyzing the hook potential of a bowling game is all about the flare and the RG. More flare on a bowling ball means it is touching the surface more. This indicates it will hook faster than a bowling ball with low differential.
On the other hand, a ball with low RG rating, will hook and roll faster than a ball with a high RG rating.
The coverstock also plays a significant role in how fast the ball will pick its rolling pattern. If you have a glossy surface, the ball will have a smooth reaction which gives it length and a strong flip response.
What’s the Best Ball for Hook Beginners?
If you want to have the ball hook right away, you will want to look at a bowling ball with a reactive resin Coverstock. This material has excellent potential for hook and spins the same. Only that it is not very durable.
What’s the Best Ball for a Stroker?
A stroker is a bowler who bowls smoothly. It is the most basic form of bowling which beginners mostly use. Here, you are looking at plastic coverstock balls because they have low hook potential. Stokers typically will have little to no wrist movement, low to average rev rate on the ball and low to average ball speed.
1. The Path Rising bowling ball has a symmetric core and is finished with a 1500-grit polishing which adds to its clean look. The Path Rising is also available in variety of colors and finishes to suit your style. One of the most attractive features of this ball is its price. Coming in at under $100 it is the perfect choice for beginners who don’t want to invest too much money but want a quality bowling ball that can be used for a long time.
2. Our second choice the Storm IQ Tour bowling ball. The IQ is more expensive than the Path Rising and is intended for more evidenced players who are looking to spend a little more money for a more versatile ball. The Storm IQ comes with a 4000-grit factory finish and resin coverstock. One of the strengths of this ball is that is can be used by almost all players from Strokers, to Crankers and Tweeners with minor adjustments the IQ Storm and fit into any playing style.
What’s the Best Ball for Curving?
After you have learned how to bowl straight, then you must want to curve the ball to have better chances of strikes. Curving the ball means that you will hit the balls at an angle. This is what we call a hook shot.
The best ball for curving will be of average weight with high hook potential. That is, a ball with a reactive resin or urethane coverstock.
Best Bowling Brands
Bill Chrisman founded this company in 1985 for High Score Products and ball cleaners. By 1991, the company was producing their bowling balls which picked up in the market quite fast. In three years, Storm Bowling Balls had exerted influence and domination in the market. They are now an influential brand in designing high-end balls that cover all skill levels.
This company attributes itself to having shaped the bowling industry. The founding company opened its doors in 1845, but Brunswick later sat as president of the company and saw the potential of the bowling industry. In 1895, he managed to call the first American Bowling Congress (ABC). After six years, the first bowling tournament was held, and Brunswick supplied all the equipment.
From there, Brunswick revolutionized Bowling by innovating breakthroughs like the automatic pinsetter. Their bowling balls pioneered bowling, and although their quality was not that great in the early years, today their products compete effectively with other brands.
The Ebonite brand is under the parent company Ebonite International that oversees the production of bowling balls. They produce some of the best balls ranging from low to mid, and high performance. It has its location in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
They also have another line of bowling balls known as Hammer which is also very popular. They have acquired other bowling production companies including Columbia 300 and Dynothane Inc.
Other Brands Include:
- 900 Global
- Radical Bowling Technologies
Best Ball Cleaning Product?
To achieve optimal ball performance, you will need to perform maintenance on your bowling ball. This calls for using the right cleaning product.Here are three cleaners that are sure to get all that oil especially if you compete in overly oily lanes
Storm Reacta Clean
Monster Tac Remove All
MOTIV Power Gel Clean
Bowling is an enjoyable sport that is both a hobby and a competitive game. Your bowling ball is an investment in reaping better results and growing your skills.
We have investigated almost every aspect of bowling and have managed to identify the best bowling balls in the market. The Storm Timeless takes the top seat as a revolutionary ball for tournaments. League bowlers, kids, and beginners are not left out as we have picked a ball for you too.
Experience great pin action with one of our Top Picks Today.