What Is a Bowling Ball Made
To be able to say what most bowling balls are made
of, you would first have to determine what year you were
Over the past twenty years, bowling balls have been made
from a variety of materials. In the 1960's a hard plastic
was used. By the 1970's polyester balls had become
popular and are still widely used today. Many times when
you get a ball from the alley, it is a polyester ball.
Urethane was used to build bowling balls by the 1980's but it
was quite costly.
The first resin particles were added to urethane coverstocks
in the 1990s. The resin particle additive increased the
friction between the balls and the lane, and increased the hook
potential of the ball. Resin balls are stronger than
bowling balls made of other materials. The balls are
known for their sharper hooks and greater power, which gives
them greater strike potential.
The resin balls evolved into particle balls when
manufactures added ceramics and glass. The added textures
increased friction and gave the ball more grip in oil.
Bowling balls may seem simple to the common eye, but they
are much more than solid spheres with finger holes in
The circumference of the average bowling ball is usually
between 26.704 and 27.002 inches. The balls have varying
weights to accommodate the varying strengths of many
consumers. A bowling ball can weigh from 6 pounds to 16
Three holes encompass the common bowling ball; two are for
the fingers, and one is for the thumb. There may also be
a fourth, non-gripping hole (balance hole) in the bowling ball,
which is used to fine-tune the ball's reaction.
According to ABC/WIBC rules, a maximum of twelve holes are
allowed in the ball; five holes (one for each finger and thumb)
for gripping purposes, five small vent holes (one for each
gripping hole) to prevent popping at the release point, one
hole for balance purposes, and a small "mill" hole to check the
hardness of the coverstock just below the surface of the
Make sure you are following the rules (e.g. appropriate hole
size, distance between the holes) if you want to drill
additional holes in your ball.
The outer shell of the bowling ball is known as the
coverstock. The material of the coverstock greatly
determines how a ball will roll. In general, the harder
the coverstock, the straighter the ball will roll down the
Different types of bowling balls are made by different types
The Plastic (Polyester) Ball
The plastic ball is great for beginners and children that
are learning to bowl. The plastic balls do not allow for
much of a hook, but they do a good job at staying
straight. These balls are very durable, which can be
attributed to the composition of the plastic and the hard, low
friction nature of the polyester surface.
As the player improves and wants to move on to shooting
hooks and other tricks, they may wish to move to a different
ball or more of a performance ball. This is not always
the case, there are many professionals that benefit from
plastic bowling balls and continue to use them.
Depending on the weight of the ball and the design, a
plastic bowling ball can cost anywhere from $50 to $150.
If you are just beginning, you might want to consider
purchasing a used bowling ball until you have some
The Urethane Ball
The urethane material that is used is softer than plastic
and gives good traction on the lane. The urethane ball is
usually a graduated step from the plastic ball, as it allows
for more of a hook and maneuvering by the player.
Urethane balls are very sturdy and generally allow for a
great amount of control by the player. Urethane bowling
balls are more expensive and may be more difficult to
find. There are many dealers on the Internet and you can
also check with your local sporting good store or alley for a
dealer in your area. Still, depending on the weight and
design, the urethane ball usually starts at about $100.
The Particle Coverstock Ball
The texture of particle balls gives them incredible grip,
sharper hooks, and greater power. This type of ball has
good traction on the lane, allowing for hooks and different
The Particle Coverstock is made by several different
manufacturers and is not difficult to find. The ball is
easy to control and has been given great reviews by many
The Particle Coverstock gives the player the ability to
predict what their ball will do on the lane. This is a
good ball for no surprises and is excellent for your
score. The Particle Coverstock ball will set you back
anywhere from $100 to $200.
Custom Ball Drilling
After buying your new bowling ball, you will need to drill
holes in it in order to grip it. There are many pro shops
and companies on the Internet that will drill a particular grip
pattern for you.
With the vast difference in everyone's hand and spread, it
may be necessary for you to customize your bowling ball for
maximum comfort and the success of your game.
Make sure that you only allow a professional to drill your
bowling ball. This process can prove costly and can ruin
the ball if it is drilled inappropriately.
The best way to find someone that you can trust is to talk
to other bowlers or ask a professional at the bowling
alley. Word of mouth and a recommendation can ensure that
your bowling ball will come back a perfect fit.