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Bowling Ball Terms

BackendBack To Top ^
Backend is an area of the lane closest to the pins (last 15 feet). It is the area of the lane that is not oiled. Oil moves to the Backend due to bowling activity. When this happens, it is referred to as "no backends" or "carrydown". Lanes in which the a ball hooks a lot in the last 20 feet are referred to as "strong backend".
CoreBack To Top ^
The center weight within a bowling ball.
CoverstockBack To Top ^
Coverstock is the outer shell of a ball. Understanding what each one does will help you choose the right ball. There are four basic types of Coverstocks on the market today: plastic/polyester, urethane, reactive, and particle. Each uses a different production technology.Polyester/Plastic: The type of ball that most recreational bowlers will recognize is the polyester bowling ball, which is commonly referred to as a “plastic” bowling ball. Polyester bowling balls have been available since the 1960s. They have a low cost compared to the other types of bowling balls and they are very durable, which is why they are used as “house” balls on the racks of most bowling centers. The durability comes from the hard, low
friction nature of the polyester cover. This low friction nature causes the “plastic” ball to skid more and maintain a straighter trajectory. “Plastic” balls are primarily used by beginning bowlers; however, many experienced and professional bowlers use them for spare shots and for very dry lane
Urethane: In the late 1970s, bowling manufacturers experimented with coverstocks softer than polyester in order to create more hook potential. The result of these experiments was a polyurethane coverstock, or urethane for short. Urethane has a higher friction surface than polyester, so it will hook more. It can be easily sanded or polished to control its hook potential. Urethane is the preferred coverstock for beginning hook bowlers. It is also the dry lane choice for many experienced bowlers.

Reactive Resin: In the early 1990s, ball manufacturer started adding resin particles to their urethane coverstocks. The resin made the ball tackier than plain urethane which increased its hook potential. A side effect of the resin is that it makes the ball hydroplane on the oil more than plain urethane. The combination of the increased skid on oil and stronger hooking ability on dry boards gives the resin ball a bigger backend reaction for more striking power than prior ball types. Reactive resin is the primary coverstock for most experienced bowlers on most lane conditions.

Particle: Experienced bowlers preferred the smooth reaction and controllability of urethane, but they could not refuse the power provided by reactive resin balls. The ball manufacturers response to this situation was to add textured particles such as ceramics and glass to the resin enhanced polyurethane balls. The added texture gave the ball more grip in the oil for a smooth, controllable hook style, while maintaining the powerful backend of reactive resin. The hook potential for most particle bowling balls is higher than all of the other types of coverstocks. This extremely high hook potential means that most particle balls are for use on oily lane conditions only. However, ball makers are constantly tinkering with the quantity and size of the particles used, so particle balls are becoming more versatile across many types of lane conditioning.

Differential RG (DRG)Back To Top ^
  • This is the difference between the minimum and maximum RG axis in a ball. This property determines the track flare potential. The maximum allowable differential RG is 0.080 inches. The more the differential RG the more potential for track flare. Track flare increases the friction between the ball and the lane.
  • The difference in the Radius of Gyration or RG on the x-axis and the y-axis. RG differential indicates the amount of flare potential of a bowling ball.
DurometerBack To Top ^
This is a gauge for measuring the hardness of a ball. ABC requires a minimum hardness of 72 durometer D. PBA has a minimum hardness specification of 75.
Hook PotentialBack To Top ^
Degree to which the properties designed into a bowling ball and in its potential to traverse towards during its path down the lane.
LengthBack To Top ^
Length is an evaluation of how far a ball will travel before it begins to hook. The higher the number, the further down the lane it goes before it hooks. Length does not include skid produced by lane conditioner, additional fine sanding, or the use of "liquid sandpaper" polishes.
Radius Of GyrationBack To Top ^
This is a measurement of the effective weight distribution in a ball as it relates to the moment of inertia. It essentially is an indication of the resistance to rotation motion. It is equal to the square root of the moment of inertia divided by the weight.
Track FlareBack To Top ^
Track flare is the migration of the ball track from the bowler's initial axis (the axis upon release) to the final axis (the axis at the moment of impact with the pins), thus a new ball surface touches the lane upon every revolution. Increased track flare gains greater rotational energy and hitting power. Decreased
track flare creates greater ball skid. No track flare will have a ball rolling on an oily surface each revolution.
Weight BlockBack To Top ^
The inner portion of a bowling ball that influences ball reaction, based on its density
and position.

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