What Are Bowling Balls Made Of?

You probably already know that bowling ball is not the same as a volleyball or a soccer ball. It’s quite different. And if you think the bowling ball is just a glorified marble then think again. From the core to the finger holes, everything about this ball is engineered to improve your odds of bowling strike every time. So, how a bowling ball is designed to help you and actually what are bowling balls made of?

Many people think that the bowling balls are made of in a solid construction, but most of the bowling balls are made two pieces. There has some small stuff that can make a big difference. For example, some core is shaped in a different manner, and it’s enough to make a difference. And eventually, you do not know even. So, let’s see, what are bowling balls made of?

​Advanced level bowlers usually seek for aggressive cover stocks. But there is a possibility that the most aggressive bowling balls might be hard to control in hooking. So, you should not judge a bowling ball by its aggression.

​Bowling is treated as a fun indoor game. It is a great option for people to pass-time with friends and family. Ten-pins is the most popular type of bowling where there are a number of different types of bowling those have been playing for year around the world.  
Likewise all other sports, bowling game has some rules and regulations, and those are expected to be known if you are a bowling player. For example, if you knock down all the pins with one bowled ball, then it will be called a strike. If it takes two balls to be bowled, then it is spare, and if there is a gap between pins, then it is a split. So, these are some common rules during bowling games.

It was around 5000 BC; this game had existed in ancient Egypt. The form of bowling was different at that time. They were used to throw stones at various objects to knock them over. Over time the form of bowling has been changed. From ten-pin bowling to five pin-bowling, duck pin bowling, candle pin bowling etc. Moreover, nowadays, lawn bowling and bocce are two different forms of bowling that are extremely popular.

There is a long bowling history for German culture. The peasants used to use a wooden club called kegel to declare themselves free of sin. They stuck that club into the earth and tried to knock that down by a rolling stone. And whoever succeeded was considered as free of sin. Most commonly it was a secular practice, but over time, general people also started enjoying it.

Martin Luther brought the new idea of nine pins and called it kegel. The stone ball was replaced with a wooden ball. As the game moved to indoor from outdoor, it also spread over the neighboring countries. While it started spreading over several nations some variations were about to come like, British lawn to Italian bocce.

Bowling became popular at the time of the renaissance in the old world. Wealthy European aristocrats used to wear bowling greens. Models and fashion icons wore bowling shoes and attires in public.  

It is being said that propagation of bowling in the US is introduced by the Dutch immigrants. They are mostly responsible for nine-pin setting especially.

After American independence bowling became one of the most popular games in the United States. As long as it was free from gambling and extortion; it was the most dominant game at that time. Moreover, when nine-pin bowling game was banned the ten-pin bowling was continued to thrive as well.

Under the leadership of the American Bowling Congress (ABC) bowling continued its popularity. Bowling got a leap in its reputation after the advent of the automatic pin-setting machine. According to the ABC, there are almost 50 million bowlers all along with the United States. From ancient civilization to our era, bowling game still holds its popularity and dominance.

You cannot neglect some risks of bowling games while it’s a relaxing and fun sport. For example, bowling ball, cover stocks vary in quality and weights etc. Unless you choose the right-weight ball for you it can hamper you arm and shoulder. Take necessary preventive measures and stretch enough before you start playing. Good luck.

Types of Bowling balls

For avoiding arm and shoulder injury moreover for better performance, choosing the right bowling ball is necessary. You have to be careful and little tricky while choosing the bowling ball because there are different kinds of bowling balls available. Picking the right ball for you is associated with the weight of your body, throwing style etc. Don’t forget, getting the right ball can dramatically improve your bowling performance. Go through this article and try to match the perfect ball for you.  

Cover stock types:

Plastic a.k.a polyester

This is the type of cover stock is most common and popular. It is considered as entry-level cover stock since it offers a smooth finish. You do not need to be pro at bowling to have control over it. Due to its less porous material, it is harder and does not provide a lot of hook potential. This kind of balls is preferable for beginners. Rubber bowling balls are legal too.


It has the ability of a hook potential along with ease of control. Urethane is popular for its durability and the power of creating friction between the ball and the lane surface. It is a good choice for the first time bowling ball shoppers. 

Polyurethane bowling ball offers more hooks in comparison with plastic balls.

Reactive resin

If you went past some days playing bowling ball and created a decent ability to control the ball, then Reactive resin cover stock is a good option for you. It offers better pin action and a huge hook potential along with more friction. This type of cover stock is classified into three types further: reactive pearl, hybrid and solid reactive resin.

Here is an interesting thing, as they are named Reactive resin; they are truly too reactive to the condition applied to them. If you have full control over the ball, then you can control it. If the condition is poor, then it will also react according to it. So, eventually, you cannot blame it for your performance. Brunswick mineralite bowling ball is made of rubber.

Particle a.k.a proactive

This cover stock is perfect for heavy oiled lanes because it can create more friction than others. If you are an expert bowler, then this ball is for you. Particle or proactive bowling balls tend to dig, so if you are not expert enough to use then this can be tough to control.

Weight block types


This type of ball has low hook potential at the breaking point. It offers low flare potential and low intermediate differential. It features two piece bowling balls. This ball is more preferable for drier lanes or for low speed throwing since it offers smoother arc motion. It is beneficial for those who struggle to hit the pin which they target and don’t have the full control on their hooks.


For the greater weight distribution almost every drilled ball is considered asymmetrical. It offers more angular motion and they are heavier than others. Hammer black widow is one of the best bowling ball for spares.

In spite of having higher intermediate differential, this type of balls responds faster to friction at breakpoints because of its asymmetrical cores. They create higher amount of revolution as well as hooks. But to remember, how much you get out of these bowling balls depend upon the cover stock material and lane condition. If the lane is heavily oiled then you will get more aggressive hooking balls. In case of drier lanes your ball may take more distance to offer a decent hook. 

Pancake type or high-mass

This type of cover stocks is designed to resist the ball from getting into a heavy oil roll. Pancake or high-mass type bowling balls make one end of the ball heavier than other. This eventually caused for low hook potential. These balls are also classified as symmetrical balls.

Bowling Ball Weight

This is one of the most important things for choosing the right ball for someone. Choosing the right weight ball is directly associated with your performance, moreover your arm and shoulder health.

There are varieties in weights of a bowling ball. It starts at 6 pounds and ends in 16 pounds. There are several formulas to choose the right weight ball. One of them is a simple thumb rule. It states that, you have to divide your total body weight by 11 and should pick a ball 1/2 pound less than the obtained number. For example, you weigh 120 pounds (120/11=10.90) and you can choose a bowling ball between 9 to 10 pounds.

Remember, if you choose a ball too light then it will be tough to bring enough momentum and eventually you will be unable to hit the pins as you want. If it is too heavy then it will be straining your finger and will become tough to lift.

So, as we think that the bowling ball’s weight is highly dependent on your arm strength and your bowling style. If you are comfortable with 15-pound ball, then pick it, no problem. One particular ball may not fit you over your lifetime. It may change over time and according to your playing style. As you like to play with a heavier ball maybe your friend doesn’t. It varies from person to person. So, don’t worry. Enjoy bowling!


Bowling Ball and Pin

You can tweak the ball motion by changing the drilling location. For example, Pin Up vs. Pin Down. Here is a general formula. It works for majority of the bowlers when they change drilling location. You can avoid unwanted skid and friction by bowling ball polish.

Pin down under the finger holes = gradual shape hook (it happens earlier in the transition)

Pin up above the finger holes= comparatively sharper hooks (it happens later in transition)

Pin Down Drilling

This type of drilling causes for less entry angle and has an effect of promoting total hook.

Helpful for

  • ​Higher ball speeds
  • ​Lower rev players
  • ​Bowling on a heavy oiled pattern
  • ​Looking for a more gradual hook
  • ​Bowling on a longer length patterns

Pin Down Drilling

​This type of pin drilling offers more entry angle in effect of promoting less total hook

​Helpful for

  • ​Slower ball speeds
  • ​Looking for a sharper hook
  • ​Bowling on or shorter length patterns
  • ​Higher rev players
  • ​Bowling on a lighter oiled pattern

Bonus Tips for How to Choose a Bowling Ball

​If you are a professional expert bowler then this part is not for you because you already know how to choose it for you. Below suggestions are for beginners and who is about to begin in near future. There are a number of bowling ball dimensions.

  • ​Hooking is always vital for bowling games. If you find any ball that can create more friction and hooks well then go for it. It can improve and win games for you.
  • ​As we have mentioned earlier, don’t pick a ball that makes you uncomfortable. You may find a heavy ball attractive but it does not fit you then don’t go for it. Bowling balls are not for attractive cover stocks and nice logos
  • ​Look into the ball price and try to match your preferable brand according to your budget
  • ​We would like to suggest you choose a ball which weighs at least 14 pounds. Because, if the ball is too light then it will eventually fail to create enough momentum. For women, choose at least 12-13 pounds ball.
  • ​Cover stocks are vital for your performance. They are made of plastic/Urethane and Reactive resin. Choose cover stocks according to your lane condition. As Reactive resin is good for heavily oiled lane where Urethane is popular for its special friction
  • ​If your lane is mild oiled or dried then a stiff cover stock is suggested. Don’t forget to examine the lane condition before making the final purchase decision. For more heavily oiled lane go for hardcover stock as much as possible.
  • ​Don’t get confused with the bowling ball size. It will be familiar and more comfortable over the time and practice.
  • ​Here is a safer option if you still feel uncomfortable. You can go to your nearest bowling ball shop and buy a pre-drilled bowling ball. But it will cost you some money.
  • ​There is no certain answer of how long do bowling balls last. It varies according to your using capability; materials etc. there are a number of bowling ball brand and bowling ball manufacturers.

How Much Does a Bowling Ball Cost?

Be smart to match your criterion according to your budget. Generally price of bowling balls varies due to it materials and finishing. You will find a lot of bowling balls designs.

A Budget Between $40 to $100

​In this budget you can only find a plastic made bowling ball. They don’t offer hooks or spin shoots. If you are a beginner, you can go for it. Don’t hesitate.

A Budget Between $75-$150

After starting bowling for some weeks and you are thinking of changing your plastic ball. That’s the budget you can make for. You will find mid class ball which offers Reactive resin in them. We suggest this ball for occasional player who enjoys bowling along with his family and friends.

A budget between $150-$250

​This is professionals’ budget. If you take this game so seriously beyond fun and time pass you can make a budget between $150 to $250. You will find bowling balls that offer you more hook potentials and spin shots. You can make your competitors amazed by your pin falls in one stroke.


To be frank, it is not easy to pick the right ball easily. We have tried heart and soul to help you finding your right ball with a right price. And we believe, if you go through this article seriously, you will not make a wrong decision. Good luck!

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