What Are Bowling Balls Made of?
What material is used to make a bowling ball?
What are the essential elements you should know!
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Table of Contents
What Are Bowling Balls Made of
Today, bowling balls are composed of a Coverstock (outer layer) and the Weight Block (inner part).
What you and I can see when we look at a bowling ball is the coverstock or the outer shell of the ball.
The coverstock is one of the most important parts of the ball for bowlers as it’s the part that touches the bowling lane and offers hook potential.
The coverstock can be made of:
- Reactive Resin
- Particle (Proactive)
What we don’t see is what’s inside the bowling ball.
Under the coverstock, you have the Weight Block.
There are two types of weight blocks that you can find:
- High Mass
- Low Mass
Let’s look at the Coverstock and Weight Block in further detail.
The Coverstock or the outer shell of a bowling ball can be made of different types of material such as plastic, urethane, reactive resin, or particles.
A plastic coverstock is made of plastic materials and has a very smooth finish.
Most people are somewhat familiar with a plastic coverstock as it’s typically used in recreational bowling alleys as “house balls”.
The plastic material does not offer much friction on the surface of the lane and so the bowling ball is likely to travel in a straight line.
The plastic coverstock is the material of choice for beginners learning to throw straight balls and who are not focused on learning or throwing hooks.
It’s also cheaper than the other materials making it a perfect purchase for beginners who want to invest a little to have their own bowling balls.
Intermediate and advanced players will use a plastic coverstock bowling ball to shoot spares as the bowling ball trajectory is much more predictable.
The urethane coverstock provides more friction than plastic coverstock thereby allowing for higher hook potential.
The urethane material is also more durable than plastic.
Since the urethane material offers more friction, it offers a better pin action as the ball will deflect less.
Beginners who are looking to learn how to throw hooks should consider getting a urethane coverstock.
In a bowler’s natural progression, urethane is the natural next step after plastic due to its higher hook potential.
The reactive resin material offers more friction than plastic or urethane coverstock.
Within this category of coverstock, you have:
- Solid reactive coverstock having the greatest amount of microscopic pores (good for mid-lane reaction)
- Pearl reactive coverstock that includes mica additives for better reaction on dry surfaces (good for back-end reaction)
- Hybrid reactive coverstock that combines solid and pearl
On the other hand, it is actually less durable than either of them.
The reactive resin coverstock material is intended for intermediate to advanced bowlers who are looking for more hook potential and pin action.
Reactive resin bowling balls are highly sensitive to the bowling alley lane conditions allowing the bowler to adjust his or her game as a consequence.
On the other than, reactive resin is more difficult to control and may amplify the bowler’s errors.
The particle or proactive coverstock is the coverstock material that provides maximum friction.
This material includes microscopic silica particles that favors reaction on heavy oil volumes.
The surface of this ball is not as smooth as plastic or the other materials but actually feels bumpy.
It is designed this way so that it can stick to the lane in very oily conditions.
Intermediate and professional bowlers will have particle balls in case they are confronted with heavily oiled lanes.
The Weight Block is what’s on the inside of a bowling ball and can be made of High Mass or Low Mass.
The High Mass Weight Block has the shape of a pancake and is typically placed close to the outer shell of the ball.
With the weight distribution it offers, it does not allow the bowling ball to get into a heavy roll.
For that reason, it promotes more length down the lane.
The Low Mass Weight Block is a weight mass placed more towards the middle or center of the bowling ball.
They can be designed with different shapes and with different densities aimed at achieving heavier rolls.
Since this type of mass promotes heavier rolls, it offers the bowling ball with better hook potential.
What Were Bowling Balls Made of In The Past
We’ve answered the question of what are bowling balls made of today.
We have seen the level of technology and design that goes into making the modern bowling ball.
This begs the question, what were bowling balls originally made up of in the past?
The game of bowling goes back thousands of years where it was played as lawn bowling and pin bowling.
With that said, until approximately 1905, bowling balls were made of lingam vitae (hardwood).
Then, from 1905 onward, rubber was used as coverstock for bowling balls until the introduction of plastic in 1959.
Then, in the 1980s, urethane coverstocks were developed thereby rendering rubber balls obsolete.
In the early 1990s, the reactive resin was developed where additives were added to the urethane surface to achieve more friction and improve traction.
In the late 1990s, particle balls were developed to provide even more traction to bowling balls suitable for heavily oiled conditions.
What is a bowling ball made of?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings to better understand what’s a bowling ball made of.
What Are Bowling Balls Made of
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Terms Related to how bowling balls are made
Bowling ball coverstock
Bowling ball design
Bowling ball manufacturers
Bowling ball material
Custom bowling balls
Particle bowling ball
Reactive resin bowling ball
Resin bowling balls
Types of bowling balls
Urethane vs reactive resin
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How are bowling balls made
How to hook a bowling ball