How to Drill a Bowling Ball?

If you are a professional bowling player then it vital to match the holes with your hands and therefore it’s important for any bowling bowler. Today we are going to see how to drill a bowling ball.

How to Drill a Bowling Ball

Before you drill the ball obviously what you got to do is measure your hands so that you can find out the proper finger hole size. As we have seen, with different hole configuration and depths, balls behave in a different way. Probably the best option is to go to a professional to drill your brand new bowling ball but you can do it by yourself! In this article, we will learn in some steps, how to drill a bowling ball.

How to Prepare the Ball?

This stage is all about choosing the right ball and making sure what is it made of. As you know, bowling balls can be made reactive resin, urethane or plastics. Plastic balls are recommended for the beginners as it costs the lowest. Each of the balls has different features and characteristics. They offer a different amount of friction, control and power. If you have the proper opportunity to test all the balls before selecting the final one, do it. After drilling the ball it is only usable for you.  

Choose a Hole Configuration

The amount of power and control over the bowling ball depends on the different finger hole configurations. Choosing the right configuration will help you to perform better and improve your game gradually. Drilling the ball is important because it allows the ball to achieve the conventional grip. By inserting your thumbs and fingers into the ball, you will feel more confident about the ball control. 

  • For the beginners and causal players, we would like to suggest the conventional bowling drilling because it is easier to control than others. In this style of drilling your fingers and thumbs can go up to the second knuckle of the joint.
  • A fingertip grip is comparatively harder configuration to control but it will allow you to have more power spin and lift. In this method your thumbs won’t be used but your fingers inserted into the first knuckle joint.
  • A semi-fingertip will provide you a combined benefit package. It offers more power and spin than the conventional grip and, it also easier to use than the fingertip grip. Like, the fingertip grip, thumb in a semi-fingertip is also inserted into the ball. The only difference is, a semi fingertip allows the bowler to insert his finger between first and second knuckle joint.
  • There is another an effective but less commonly used method that is called Sarge Easter. But it has some remarkable advantages. It offers improved axis rotation and a more comfortable grip. It used to turn the ball later.

How Will You Measure the Span?

First, you have to measure the distance from thumb to where you will use your two fingers. The two fingers may vary according to people’s different choices. (Some prefer middle and ring finger while some prefer forefinger and middle finger.) There are different methods of measuring the span.

  • Conventional grip is mostly used for the beginners. You have to simply put your thumb and other fingers into the hole as you feel comfortable. Since conventional grip makes you feel comfortable but remember, it cannot generate any kind of curve or hook. On the other hand, if you choose a fingertip grip, then you have to measure the span to the crease closer to your fingertip.
  • In a different situation, where it is not possible to have an adjustable bowling ball for measuring the grip, you have another way to make it done. This is not quite same but comparable. What you have to do is just pick an undrilled ball simply and place your finger on it. After placing all fingers mark those place where you feel comfortable.
  • You can also use a compass or calipers to measure your span. While you measure with a compass or calipers, don’t forget to keep your thumbs out and fingers together. And finally, reduce the measurement by ¼ for a fingertip grip or about 1/8 of an inch. If you want to calculate the total depth of the holes, you need to measure the distance of your span from the edge.

How to Decide on an Angle ?

After you noted down your measurements and distances between holes, now you are ready for deciding an angle. For making your performance better and bowling comfortably, having an angle is vital. You must have to fit your hand property for achieving a good hook and the desired result. For example, if you are not conscious enough to decide an angle, then it will create an angle forward.

After that eventually, it will offer more lift, and you will have less control over it since your finger will remain inside for the very last moment. This is totally an individual decision. Don’t bother to look into what others are doing. What you are comfortable with, and according to your strength as a bowler, make your decision. 

How to Drill a Bowling Ball for Maximum Hook?

There is no rocket science in drilling the ball. If you follow the total guide line you will find it ideal. Keep the whole process simple but cautious. Don’t drill too deep or too shallow. Find the right drill bit and the drill machine. The main and the very basic thing about hook is to release the ball at the bottom of the swing. 

When you are focusing on the release you have to make sure that you are under the ball and that creates a good leverage. You can follow another simple but powerful trick. Basically, you have to stand three or four feet behind from the foul line and you take a swing step and then finally you release the ball. And obviously you do it from the very bottom of it. It works very effectively because it eliminates all the approach and focuses primarily on the release.

How to Drill a Bowling Ball?

Now, you are about to start your drilling since you have all the measurements. Before you start, finally, you need to have some tools. For keeping the ball steady, you need a clamp to hold it. And obviously, you need a bowling drill. You have to be very cautious here because a normal, cheap drill can damage your ball. Find a drill with the right drill bits, and finally, you get your job done.

We will look into the process in some steps.

Clamp the Ball in Place

For avoiding any kind of accidents and for getting a good result make that the ball is into the clamp and doesn’t move even a bit while drilling. If it moves during drilling, you may have to accept some unwanted result. The holes might be placed in a wrong place or came out uneven. It will definitely frustrate you and so your performance.

Mark the Ball

Take an erasable marker and mark the hole configuration at the very center of the spot where you are planning to drill. You need to have your span measurement to spot each of the holes properly.

There is a critical thing to remember when you drill your ball. There is a place called ‘pin’. At the time of manufacturing, it leaves holes. It is more than one in number, and you should be very careful about each of the pins. Try to drill your holes at least 1 inch far from the pin. By any case if you drill it through the pin it can destroy your ball and as well as its warranty. There is not much to worry about the pin. Because the color of the pin area is always different than the rest of the ball. Therefore easily find out the pin area.

If you are an advance ball driller, you can use the pin to determine the properties of the ball’s core and locate the right place for drill the finger holes. It depends on the ball’s quality and varies from ball to ball. So, before trying this method, we recommend you to consult with a professional bowling ball driller. 

Now, you almost know all the formalities regarding ball marking. We would like to request you to be more and more cautious because once you have drilled your bowling ball, it is permanent. So, do check the span measurement again if it is necessary.

Select Your Bits

As we all know, for the right hole we need right-sized drill bits. If drill bits don’t match with your hole requirement, then it might feel uncomfortable to use. We would like to recommend you to use a sizing ball. It will provide you with the proper measurements of your fingers and thumbs. In any case, if you don’t afford it to have, then you can try different sizes of bits in a block of wood or a piece of rubber. And then, decide what suits you the most in your thumb and fingers. 

Insert the First Bit and Drill Your Thumb Hole

After finding out the proper bowling drill bit for your finger holes; now, you are ready to drill. (N.B: Never use an ordinary drill to drill your bowling ball. It may destroy your dream ball forever. )

Start drilling the ball with the thumb hole slowly. You have to maintain your desired angle and notice the hole depth so often.

Drill the Finger Holes and Sand the Holes

Switch the drill bit to another hole spot. And drill the ball with the same style you did for the thumb hole. Maintain the angle and check the depth of the hole. And finally, after completion of your drilling, you need to pour the holes with some sanding attachment as they react more friendly and easily.

How Much Does It Cost to Drill a Bowling Ball?

The service charge varies from ball to ball. It highly depends on the span and the cover stock. Drilling the ball is strictly recommended for the professional and intermediate level player. For basic drilling, it costs in between $30 to $50.

Frequently Asked Question

If My Ball is Already Drilled, is It Possible to Re-drill the Ball?

we would like to suggest you to go to a professional bowling ball driller and show the ball physically. There is no certain answer to be very honest. If the ball is in condition of re-drilling, then they will inform you. For more smooth movement you can go for storm urethane bowling balls.


Without drilling your bowling ball, you cannot expect it to be more controlled and powerful. All the professional bowling players and the experts of this game suggest us having holes in the ball. Holes make it easy to grab, to control and thus it obviously enhance your performance. If you are not confident enough to drill your bowling ball then take time and consult with a professional driller. Don’t hurry, because once the ball is drilled, it’s forever.  

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