First, I would like to discuss some of the materials balls were/are made of.
1. Rubber Balls- They no longer make these anymore because the lanes are no longer made of wood. They came in a hard or soft shell.You could probably get one at a yard sale, but most bowlers want to keep up with technology changes which helps them score higher, so today they prefer polyester or urethane bowling balls.
2. Polyester Balls-These balls have varying degrees of Hardness. Softer balls will start hooking sooner on the lane, and the harder surfaced balls will travel a bit farther down the lane before they begin to hook.
3. Urethane Balls- As time passed, the makers of these bowling balls realized that it made more sense to make a ball out of the same material that the lanes were made from. This material is much stronger and the balls hit the pocket with more power, but at the same time can be more difficult to control.
There are basically three parts of a bowling ball:
2. CORE: The core of a bowling ball is a liquid polymer resin blend which is poured in and around the weight block in this second mold. The molds are all the same size, but the concentration of the materials in this liquid is what allows the weights of the bowling balls to vary. This core takes several days to completely dry. (Look at your bowling ball if you have one and find the little dot which is the PIN. It shows you where the top of the core is). After the core is dried, the ball is taken out of this mold and put into a third mold.
3. SHELL: The shell of the ball is made of a liquid urethane which is pumped into this third mold. This liquid can come in a variety of colors and some even add scents like lemon, and blueberry! The liquid only takes about 5 minutes to harden and then the ball is removed from the mold and ground smooth with a lathe machine. A hole is then drilled to mark the position of the weight block (Where the PIN is), and this area is filled in with a colored resin (usually yellow or white). It is also put on a machine that finds the “Center of Gravity” and is indented slightly with a “punch” tool. After 24 hours, the ball is completely dried and hardened enough to have the company logo engraved which is filled in with a colored paste.
Lastly, the ball goes through spinners with hot, soapy water and polishing rollers. The completed ball is placed in a plastic bag, boxed up, and shipped out to bowling center pro shops all over the country. Some of these companies can make 5,000 balls each day!
They have a video online if you are interested in seeing what these molds and weight blocks look like. Just type in "How a bowling ball is made".
Most bowling balls have three holes that are drilled at the pro shop for a custom fit when you purchase a ball. There was also a fourth hole drilled for balance, but recently this fourth hole was declared illegal in US competition by the USBC-United States Bowling Congress. If your ball has a fourth hole, you might need to get this weight hole filled in with a resin material at the pro shop. Just check with your league president about this.
Join me next week when I’ll be discussing “How Do You Release A Bowling Ball"?
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.