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Unlock Your Bowling Potential: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Ball in 2024

bowling pin with a red ball

Table of Contents
– Introduction
– Bowling Ball Market Overview
– Key Considerations When Choosing a Bowling Ball
– Top Bowling Ball Picks for 2024
– Conclusion


Selecting the right bowling ball is crucial for optimizing your customers’ performance on the lanes. With so many options available, choosing the perfect ball can be overwhelming. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential factors to consider when picking a bowling ball and showcase our top recommendations for 2024.

Bowling Ball Market Overview

The global bowling balls market has been experiencing steady growth in recent years. In 2021, the market size was valued at approximately USD 1034.9 million. This figure demonstrates the significant demand for bowling balls worldwide, as the sport continues to attract enthusiasts and casual players alike.

Looking ahead, the bowling balls market is projected to reach USD 1264.9 million by 2029. This growth is expected to occur at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4% during the forecast period from 2023 to 2029. The consistent growth rate indicates a stable and promising future for the bowling balls industry, driven by factors such as increasing participation in the sport, rising disposable incomes, and the popularity of bowling as a leisure activity.

enjoying time together

Key players in the bowling balls market include Brunswick Bowling, Murrey International, Storm Products, QubicaAMF, US Bowling, Champion Sports, Ebonite, Dexter Shoe Company, and Strikeforce. These companies collectively hold a significant portion of the market, with the top five players accounting for approximately 38.4% of the global market share. The competitive landscape is characterized by product innovation, strategic partnerships, and a focus on delivering high-quality bowling balls to meet the diverse needs of bowlers.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Bowling Ball

Weight and Size

Selecting the appropriate weight and size is essential for comfort and control. As a general rule, the ball should weigh around 10% of the player’s body weight, up to the maximum of 16 pounds. However, the ideal weight ultimately depends on the strength and comfort level. Ensure the ball fits the hand properly, allowing for a relaxed grip without strain.

The coverstock, or outer shell of the bowling ball, comes in several materials that greatly impact performance. Plastic/polyester is an affordable option that offers a smooth surface for straight shots and spare shooting. Urethane provides more friction and hook potential than plastic, allowing for greater control. Reactive resin coverstocks, including solid, pearl, and hybrid varieties, deliver the most friction and hook potential to attack heavily oiled lanes, but require more skill to control. Proactive or particle coverstocks add microscopic material pieces to dig into the lane for traction on oily conditions. Choosing the right coverstock depends on the player’s bowling style, skill level, and lane conditions.

girl playing bowling

Core Type

The core, or weight block, affects the ball’s motion and hook potential. The main core types are:

– Pancake: Symmetrical and provides a smooth, controllable reaction. Pancake cores are shaped like flattened spheres and have an extremely high RG, resulting in minimal track flare potential. This core delivers a predictable, arcing ball motion ideal for straight shots and spare shooting.

– Symmetrical: Offers a balanced reaction and is suitable for most bowling styles. Symmetrical cores have a shape that can be cut in half vertically to yield two identical pieces. These cores provide a moderate RG and differential for a smooth, controllable backend reaction that matches up well with a variety of bowling styles and lane conditions.

– Asymmetrical: Provides more angular motion and is ideal for advanced bowlers seeking maximum hook potential. Asymmetrical cores have an uneven shape with different RG measurements on each axis, resulting in higher differential and intermediate differential values. These dynamic cores create significant imbalance and flare potential for an aggressive, angular backend reaction best suited to experienced bowlers on heavy oil conditions.

Select a core type that complements the player’s bowling style and desired ball reaction. Work with your local pro shop to determine the ideal core and coverstock combination for your unique game and typical lane conditions. Understanding the core’s influence on ball motion empowers you to build an arsenal that maximizes your scoring potential.

hit the pin

Coverstock Material

The coverstock, or the outer surface of the ball, significantly impacts its reaction on the lane. The main types of coverstocks are:

– Plastic/Polyester: Ideal for straight shots and spare shooting. Durable and affordable. Plastic coverstocks have a smooth surface that creates minimal friction with the lane, resulting in a predictable ball motion with limited hook potential.

– Urethane: Provides more friction and hook potential than plastic. Suitable for medium oil conditions. Urethane coverstocks are more porous than plastic, allowing the ball to grip the lane surface better for increased hook and improved pin carry. Urethane is a great option for bowlers transitioning from plastic to reactive resin balls.

– Reactive Resin: Offers the most hook potential and is designed for heavy oil conditions. Available in solid, pearl, or hybrid finishes. Reactive resin coverstocks have microscopic pores that create significant friction with the lane, resulting in tremendous hook potential and strong backend reaction.

  • Solid reactive coverstocks provide the earliest and smoothest reaction, ideal for heavy oil.
  • Pearl reactive coverstocks have mica additives for a delayed, angular backend reaction on medium to light oil.
  • Hybrid reactive coverstocks combine the midlane read of solid and backend snap of pearl for a versatile ball motion on various conditions.

Consider the bowling style and typical lane conditions when choosing a coverstock. Matching the right coverstock to the game and environment is crucial for optimizing ball reaction and maximizing scoring potential.

colorful bowling ball

Drilling and Fit

Proper drilling is crucial for comfort, control, and ball reaction. Work with a professional to determine the ideal layout based on your bowling style, ball speed, and rev rate. The drilling angle, pin-to-PAP distance, and the angle between the pin-to-PAP line and the vertical axis line (VAL) significantly impact ball motion.

Smaller drilling angles relative to the VAL angle promote an earlier, smoother roll, while larger angles create more angular backend reaction. Pin placement affects flare potential, with shorter pin-to-PAP distances increasing track flare. An experienced pro shop professional can utilize the dual angle layout technique to design precise ball motion by optimizing these variables for your game.

Ensure the finger holes are drilled to provide a comfortable, secure fit without sacrificing feel or release. Proper fit is essential to prevent grip pressure, hand pain, and injury. Oval finger inserts accommodate the natural shape of fingers and reduce grip pressure compared to traditional round holes. Fingertip and semi-fingertip grips promote a clean release and versatility.

For the thumbhole, a snug fit with minimal reverse pitch and the use of tape, rather than an oversized thumbhole, can help minimize grip pressure while maintaining a consistent release. Utilizing interchangeable thumbs and removable finger inserts allows fine-tuning the fit and feel. Consult your pro shop professional to establish and maintain a proper fit tailored to your hand’s shape, size, and comfort preferences.

holding the bowling ball

Top Bowling Ball Picks for 2024

1. Storm Phaze 4

The Storm Phaze 4 features the innovative RAD4 Core and GI-20 Solid Reactive coverstock, providing exceptional traction in heavy oil conditions. Its angular backend motion makes it ideal for bowlers with higher rev rates.

2. Brunswick Kingpin Max

Designed for medium to heavy oil, the Brunswick Kingpin Max utilizes the DynamiCore outer core technology for increased hitting power. The ECA-XR coverstock offers a strong mid-lane and backend reaction, suitable for a variety of bowling styles.

3. Motiv Venom Shock

The Motiv Venom Shock combines the Gear APG Core with the Turmoil MFS Reactive coverstock, delivering a smooth, continuous backend reaction. It’s an excellent choice for bowlers seeking control and versatility on medium to heavy oil patterns.

4. Hammer Black Widow Ghost

Featuring the Aggression Solid coverstock and Gas Mask Core, the Hammer Black Widow Ghost provides exceptional traction and flare potential in heavy oil conditions. Its angular backend motion is well-suited for bowlers with higher ball speed and rev rates.

blue bowling ball


Investing in the right bowling ball is essential for elevating the game. By considering factors such as weight, coverstock, core type, drilling, and brand reputation, you can find the perfect ball to suit your unique bowling style. With the top picks for 2024, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any lane condition and unlock the players’ full potential on the lanes.

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