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Ball Review


{ } Modifying the BallSurface: Pro Ideas

IF YOU’VE EVER wanted to see what a “No Holes Barred” ball test session looks like, you now have the opportunity. Bowlers Journal interactive, the online com- plement to Bowlers Journal International, now includes video from recent test sessions. Look for BJi in your email around mid-month. I’m also told that BJI’s webmaster has been working diligently to update the

ball review archives on If you’re looking to compare and contrast balls in your arsenal, or if you’re in the market to fill a perceived hole in that arsenal, there’s no better research vehicle than those archives. Now, let’s conclude our series of ball-related Q&As with three noted pros...

Do you modify your ball surfaces regularly, or use a ball with one surface only?

Mike DeVaney: “My ball surfaces are always in a state of modification.” Chris Barnes: “I try to keep the balls that roll good with the same surface on them, as much as possible. However, in today’s world of international travel, I’m not able to take multiple versions of the same ball with me, so I change them much more often to suit the conditions I’m on at the time.” Scott Norton: “For the same reason I like the pin below my fingers, I gener- ally prefer 1000 to 2000 [grit sanding] on the ball. Depending on the de- mands of the condition, I like to keep a fresh surface on the ball each time I start a new set.”

Each month, bowlers journal interactive will reprint the BJ ball review by Joe Cerar. This issue also includes video demonstrations featuring one or more of the tested balls.


THE TESTING This month, ball testing was performed at Classic Lanes and Olympic Lanes in Milwaukee. We were able to test on both AMF SPL and Brunswick Anvilane synthetic lane surfaces. Our test patterns included the USBC White and the PBA Viper. We also bowled on fresh and bro- ken-down typical house shots at both centers. My test staff included Scott Stolz and Matt Duty. Our rev rates range from 300 to 450, with ball speeds between 16- and 19-mph. All three of us can change our tilts and axis rotations to modify roll characteristics.

HOOK POTENTIAL 35-45: Balls with lower total hook ranges, best suited for lighter oil concentrations. Players with slower speeds or higher rev rates may also prefer balls in this range for medium oil ap- plications. 45-51: Balls with medium hook ability, best suited for the vast majority of “typical house

shots” and some lower-volume Sport patterns. This hook range should be represented by the “centerpiece” ball in most arsenals. 51-60+: Balls with greater total hook, designed for heavier oil volumes. Players with higher speeds or lower rev rates, who need added lane traction, may also prefer balls in this range.

LENGTH RATINGS 8-12: Earlier rolling balls that read the lane sooner. These products generally come factory- sanded with lower grit surfaces, and match up well with speed-dominant styles and those bowling on longer patterns. 12-15: Medium-length balls that produce easier length through the midlane. Good for most house shots and medium-volume Sport patterns. 15-19+: Balls off ering extra length for those bowling on lighter oil concentrations. Also ben- efi cial for slower speed players, or those with higher rev rates needing added push downlane.

BREAKPOINT SHAPE 10-13: Slower-response balls that read the friction areas more gradually. This range may in- clude balls with a urethane or mild reactive cover, designed for a smooth arc to the pocket. Can also help those with higher rev rates control motion and match up well from outside angles of attack. 13-15: Balls rated for slightly stronger and quicker reactions when encountering friction ar- eas (as when the ball leaves the oil pattern). This range off ers a balance of control and back- end angularity. 15-18+: Balls that respond more quickly and aggressively to friction areas. This range can help those with less hand action create more angularity near the pocket. Also preferred when playing deeper inside angles, which generally require more entry angle for above-average pin carry.

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