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Buying Your First Bowling Ball

buying your first bowling ballSo you decided it is time to get your own brand new customized bowling ball. Buying your first bowling ball is something that you will always remember. It is also an experience not to take lightly. But not everyone needs to go out and buy the latest and greatest technologically advanced bowling ball out there. The bowling ball you select will be based on a number of factors but none of them should be based on what the hottest ball technology currently is.

Weight is everything
The weight of the ball you choose will have a great impact on your game and depend on what you are comfortable for you to handle. Men will generally have a bowling ball from 14 to 16 pounds. Women will use weights starting from 10 pounds and up. But don’t let egos dictate what ball weight you get. It’s better to go with a lighter ball if you maintain better control than to have a heavier ball without control or that will wear down your arm quickly. It’s all about control and consistency. I personally use a 15 pound ball and it suites me and my style better than some guys who use 16 pounders. The flip side to that is I have seen women use 16 lbs bowling balls and not get fatigued at all. It’s all about what you can handle and not what you want to project you can handle. Besides, no one will know the weight of the ball unless you tell them. Even if they pick it up, it will be hard to tell. So go with what works for you.

What’s your style?
If you have a strong forearm then you probably would be well suited to a wide hooking ball. Wide hooks require a lot of power and a high back swing. But if you are more inclined to lower back swings or less forearm strength, like me, then you want a ball with not as much hooking power. While a wide hooking ball makes for an awesome looking strike, it is harder to control. And that is the most important thing to consider – control and consistency. If you watch professional PBA bowler Walter Ray Williams Jr., you will see that he doesn’t have a wide hook but he is extremely consistent in the pocket and has a lot of control.

So how do you know if a bowling ball has the ability to do wide hooks? Ball manufacturers use something called ‘differential of RG’ or just ‘differential’ to give a numeric measurement to represent the hooking potential of a bowling ball. The higher the number the higher the hooking potential or ‘flare’ as it is technically known. So for example let’s look at a plastic ball used for spare shots. Since plastic balls are generally the same material from throughout the ball and doesn’t have a core necessarily, it has a differential of 0.00. But a bowling ball with a specialized core could have a differential of 0.060 and would be considered to have a high flare rating.

Control over the ball is key
There’s that word again – control. If you have no control over a specific type of ball then it isn’t the right ball for you. Control and precision is what is necessary to score high marks in bowling and not power exclusively. You still need power but it isn’t the first and foremost thing. You can’t rely on power to make that strike if you totally miss the pins altogether.

Does it fit your budget?
Now you may have no restriction on how much you want to spend on a ball. But that shouldn’t mean that you get the most expensive bowling ball on the market nor should you get the cheapest. You still want to find the right ball for you and that may be the second most expensive ball (just kidding). But seriously, the price tag should be factored in for not only not going overboard on your ball purchase but to also not be disappointed in the bowling ball’s performance if it isn’t suited to your style.

Where to buy your first ball
So if you are ready for your first great bowling ball and want a great deal, you’ve got to check out BowlingBall.com. They offer free shipping on every order. They even offer ball drilling to your specification. While you are visiting BowlingBall.com, check out their line of bowling bags because you are going to need one to protect that new investment. Here’s to your bowling success!



  1. Edward says:

    I appreciate the article but I find it lacking. I was already aware that cores exist and weight is a variable but I really need to understand how the core’s have an effect, balls that cure right/left or left/right etc.., how do I control a curving ball. How important is the core and the materials.

    1. PerfectBowling.com says:

      Those are really great questions and the topic of bowling ball cores and their affect really deserve an exclusive article to cover those details. This article was more of a guide to the general characteristics to consider for most new to intermediate bowlers.

  2. Eileen says:

    How much would abowling ball cost please

    1. PerfectBowling.com says:

      I would recommend budgeting for anywhere from $100 to $200

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