Buying a Bowling Ball

So now you are bowling more often, joined a league or just enjoy bowling for entertainment. You want to improve and you want to purchase a bowling ball. Maybe you have a ball and have been bowling in a league for awhile and are now ready to move up to newer better equipment. I remember when I first started trying to pick and buy a ball it was crazy! There are so many options. We will try to give you a little guidance to hopefully help in your decision.

Where do I start looking?

When you start looking you will soon find out that there are many options for buying bowling balls. Personally, I recommend especially for your first bowling ball to start with your pro shop owner in your local bowling center. The pro shop operators are very knowledgeable in what they are doing. Second, I would actually ask them to watch you throw the ball a couple of time to gauge your personal style and skill level. In the pro shops there are usually a lot of different types of bowling balls for all skill levels. Another huge value of the pro shop operator is their knowledge of your bowling center. They will know the typical oil pattern and lane conditions for your bowling alley.

Buying a ball online and cost?

I just detailed what I recommend for getting your first ball especially. What other options are there? Obviously, the big one the internet! So this is where it can get overwhelming with so many options. There are many bowling ball sites, amazon, eBay, etc. I will be doing reviews of these websites in up coming articles that should help.

Here questions buying online you will have especially for beginners and even some more advanced bowlers:

  • Where do I start?
  • How expensive are bowling balls?
  • Should I purchase new or used?
  • What should I start with?
  • I have to pay for drilling?
  • I have no idea how I want the ball drilled?
  • There are so many brands?
  • etc.? etc.? etc.?
  • Recommended Ball of The Day!

The more you look into buying a ball online the questions never end. Again, keep it simple when buying your first ball use your pro shop first it will take away a lot of stress and believe me I know! lol! Another big thing to keep in mind is the cost of drilling a ball? If you go online and see a ball you saw in the pro shop for cheaper remember the cost of drilling is not included. Drilling is not cheap usually around $40 – $60 dollars per ball. There are some sites that will drill for you at a cost but if you are new you will not know your drilling specs anyway.

Buying a ball online does have many benefits though. Yes if you know what your doing you can save money. When looking bowling balls typically run from $50.00 to $250.00 depending on what you are purchasing (remember the drilling cost). Inserts for your finger and thumb can range between $5.00 – $30.00 per insert. Sometimes they have auctions at eBay for example where you can bid on a ball and save money if you have a budget you need to keep to it. There are also many more options of bowling balls and every brand to choose from. Time saving you can buy a ball without having to go to the pro shop and you can drill it when you are ready or have it drilled before it gets there if you trust the online company you are dealing with. I will be recommending a few options to hopefully help condense your search.

If you insist on buying online I do recommend Bowling.Com they have a fantastic ball selector tool to help with your selection.

What the heck is the coverstock?


Urethane            Reactive                  Plastic

The coverstock is the outer shell of the bowling ball. It is one of the main factors in the hook potential of a ball. When you go online you will have many options to choose from and the different type of coverstocks can help or hurt depending on your skill level and the lane condition you are bowling on. If you are new I will have future articles on lane conditions and different oil patterns.

Just examples of the main coverstocks:

  • Plastic (usually used for spares)
  • Urethane (good beginner ball and also good for many sport pattern conditions)
  • Solid Reactive (all the reactive bowling balls have many uses for beginners and mainly what the pros use, although urethane is making a comeback for the pros)
  • Pearl Reactive
  • Hybrid Reactive

Again, new bowlers I advise to ask your pro shop operator to make it easier. No matter how advanced you get it is still super helpful to use a pro shop operator or a coach who know your game really well. You never stop learning when it comes to bowling which makes it fun, challenging, and can be frustrating at times lol the more advanced you get.

Asymmetrical vs Symmetrical Core

Like I said earlier there can be a lot to purchasing a bowling ball. The core is the inside of the ball. An Asymmetrical core creates a more aggressive movement. Symmetrical core creates a more consistent and usually smoother overall on any conditions.

Symmetrical core can be good for beginners in my opinion as well.

Final Thoughts (drilling)

When you are first purchasing a ball have it drilled in person with a pro shop operator. When you get more advanced you will learn there are many drilling layouts and different inserts. Also, a big point you will run across, is do I get a standard drill (such as how the house bowling balls are drilled) or get it drilled more spread out which is using fingertips? If you are going to purchase a ball and spend money drill it fingertip with your pro shop operator. It will be weird at first but in the long run it is much better for improving you bowling game.

I hope this information has been informative? I would like to hear your comments on what you think? Any advice for purchasing a ball especially for beginners that you may have that I did not cover would be great?

Thanks, Tony

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