In this era of social media, communal activities are diminishing rapidly. Everyone seems to have a hard time keeping eyes off the smartphone. But there was a time when even the nerds would come to the arcade to play video games. Among indoor games, bowling used to be one of the most popular games. People would gather around along with their friends in the bowling club and they had all sorts of fun like ridiculing the floundering players, getting awestruck by the professional one and whatnot. This article is all about choosing the best bowling ball for hooking if you are planning to revisit the good old times and have some fun in the bowling club instead of getting trounced.
Apart from choosing the best bowling ball for hooking, keep in mind that there are lots of other issues and techniques you have to learn for a perfect score in the bowling arena if you are a novice. Anyway, bowling has a rather rich history and it’s suspected that this game originated in ancient Egypt around 5,000 years ago. Over the years, the game has evolved along with the bowling ball itself. Computer-aided design is adopted for more innovative and effective bowling balls for hooking.
Modern bowling balls adopt a two-piece construction method pioneered by manufacturer Faball Inc. in 1990. In this construction, the ball has two distinct parts: the core and the coverstock. These two parts have different materials with different materials densities. The bowling lanes are sometimes treated with oil to protect them and hence, the balls are designed to perform well on various types of surfaces.
The coverstock materials are vital for the bowling ball’s performance. There are also issues like the radius of gyration, grit, and polish, ball’s coefficient of restitution, etc. and some of these topics will be elaborated in the following sections.
Best Bowling Ball For Hooking
1. Brunswick Kingpin Max Bowling Ball
These bowling balls offer great continuation and hook. It basically breaks into hook motion in the middle of the lane and hits the pins with great force and speed.
Specifications: it is believed to be the most technologically advanced bowling ball from Brunswick featuring asymmetrical kingpin RG core (ultra-low). The ball has exceptional-x-enhanced composite adhesion coverstock. The radius of gyration is 2.483” and the differential is around 0.055”. The intermediate differential is 0.020”. The coverstock comes with a 1000-grit factory finishing.
- A good amount of energy transfer to the pins
- Increased speed
- Good hooking potential
- Tends to break into the hook in the middle
2. Hammer Rip’d Solid Bowling Ball
Hammer Rip’d Solid Bowling ball performs exceptionally in a heavily oiled lane. The ball has great mid-lane traction and delivers a tremendous blow to the pins along with high hooking potential.
Specifications: the coverstock of this ball is carbon fiber infused aggression solid CFI and the core is asymmetric type Rip’d which is the combination of Scandal and Gauntlet core shapes. It weighs 14 pounds and has an RG of 2.50”. The mass bias is 0.014 and the differential would be 0.052”. This bowling ball can be the variation of three different colors: blue, black and orange. It will cost you $189.72. The factory finishing is 2000-grit with Abralon pad.
- Aggressive hooking reaction
- Great performance on oily lanes
- Durable coverstock
- Not suitable for dry lanes
3. Motiv Forge
Motiv Forge bowling ball is one of the toughest symmetrical bowling balls in the market. The ball has low RG and high differential which helps to speed up the ball quickly. It is designed to perform on a medium to a heavily oiled surface and both right-handed and left-handed players can bowl with it.
Specification: the weight of this ball is 16 pounds. The Coercion HFS coverstock comes with 3000-grit LSS factory polish. The ball features a Detonator core which offers control and great hooking potentials. The flare potential is 5”+.
- Huge hooking potential
- Great pin hitting power
- Speed up quickly
- Not for dry lane
- Recommended for experts
4. Brunswick Rhino Bowling Ball
Brunswick Rhino Bowling Ball has reactive resin coverstock and this item is recommended for those who want to try reactive resin ball for the first time. Brunswick is a leading brand in the bowling ball industry.
Specifications: the reactive coverstock is made from R-16 resin. The core is light bulb-shaped and can be treated as a symmetrical core in case of drilling finger holes. This bowling ball is suitable for dry or medium oiled lanes and R-16 resin coverstock is less sensitive to oil. The weight range varies from 12 to 16 pounds.
- Excellent coverstock finishing and great looking bowling ball
- Very good for beginners
- Not very durable
5. Pyramid Path Bowling Ball
Pyramid Path Bowling Ball is another superb bowling ball for beginners. This ball features pyramid technology and multiple colored coverstocks. This ball is not very reactive and tends to skid but it’s perfect for someone who’s just learning the fundamentals.
Specifications: the coverstock is of polyester and it’s for a straight shot. The core is of pancaked shape and the bowling ball comes in undrilled condition. This ball is for a straight shot and the perfect scale score is 5.0. The price varies from $49.99-$74.99. The ball has 2 years of warranty.
- Straight shot
- Excellent for beginners
- Not for an oily bowling lane
- Low hooking probability
6. Brunswick Tzone Deep Space Bowling Ball
Brunswick Tzone Deep Space Bowling Ball is another great novice player-friendly product with added hook potentials. For this reason, this ball performs well on oily surfaces and if you can manage, you may get a late hook. This bowling ball has gained a lot of popularity among women for its vibrant and colorful look.
Specifications: the core of this ball is bullet type. The coverstock is of polyester and has crown factory polish finishing. This bowling ball has a reaction shape strength of 99. The weight ranges from 6,8-15 pounds and core shape changes with the weight which adds hooking potential. The price ranges from $46.95 to $64.95.
- Stylish and bright finishing
- Performs on the oily surface
- Not for advanced players
7. Ebonite Maxim Bowling Ball
Ebonite Maxim Bowling Ball is quite eye-catching because of it’s blue and purple color exterior along with very light flecks of silver. This polyester bowling ball is for straight shots and suitable for beginners who prefer bowling in style.
Specifications: this bowling ball has a pancake core and polyester coverstock. The ball weighs 10 pounds. The reaction of the ball is straight and the dry surface is ideal for it. It would cost around $52.95 to $53.95
- Good for beginners
- Not for oily lane
8. Storm Timeless Bowling Ball
Storm Timeless Bowling Ball is a high-performance bowling ball professional player. Innovative and cutting-edge designs make this ball unique and it sets new industry standards. The ball incorporates aromatherapy fragrances (pomegranate).
Specifications: the core of this ball incorporates a dual-drive type core where a weighted block of specific shape is strategically placed inside another weighted block that has a special geometric shape. Because of its unique core, the overall speed of the ball gets increased on the lane. The core is symmetric and lightweight. The coverstock is composed of R2S which is used in other high-end bowling balls and it comes with 1000 grit factory finishing. The flare potential would be 1”-2” (low).
- High hooking potential and great reactivity
- The unique core design makes it hit the pins harder.
- Professional grade bowling ball
- Quite problematic to control for beginners
9. Maxim Bowling Ball
This is another elegant looking Ebonite Maxim Bowling Ball that has a green and deep blue colored outer shell. This polyester bowling ball is for straight shots and suitable for beginners who prefer bowling in style.
Specifications: this bowling ball has a pancake core and polyester coverstock. The ball weighs 10 pounds. The reaction of the ball is straight and the dry surface is ideal for it. It would cost around $52.95 to $53.95.
- Vibrant exterior
- Good for beginners
- Not for oily lane
- Too light for professionals
10. Pyramid Path Rising Bowling Ball
Pyramid Path Rising Bowling Ball is a less expensive professional-grade bowling ball featuring pyramid technology. This technology enables players of any style to achieve peak performance on low or medium oiled lanes.
Specifications: the core of the ball is New Era 139 symmetric which offers flexible ball motion on a wide variety of lanes. The reactive pearl coverstock has 1500-grit polishing and so the ball’s reaction is sharp. Other specifications are perfect scale: 181.30, radius of gyration: 2.54, differential: 0.032, and flare potential: 3”-4” (medium).
- Good hooking potential
- Great for intermediate players
- Performs on a different type of bowling lanes
- Difficult to control for beginners
Key Features to Consider When Selecting the Best Bowling Ball For Hooking
Bowling Ball Materials and Construction
As mentioned earlier, a bowling ball has two main parts, the coverstock, and the core or the weight block. The coverstock is the outer shell of the ball that you see, and it has a high impact on hook probability, seeing that it comes to contact with the lane surface.
In the modern manufacturing process, three types of plastics are used as coverstock material. Polyester, the least expensive, produces the smallest amount of hook on the back third of the lane because it is relatively unaffected by varying amounts of oil on the lane surface. For the middle price range category, urethane balls offer more hooking action than polyester balls. But they are more durable and require less maintenance than reactive urethane balls. The most expensive and the best bowling balls for hooking utilize reactive urethane (resin) which provide the highest hooking ability and transfer more power to the pins on impact. Different manufacturers have patented formulas of materials by blending various resins with urethane.
As for the core materials, very dense types of plastic or ceramic material doped with heavy substances like bismuth graphite or barium are used. The ceramic materials can be of two types: fired and millable. The fired ceramic core produces harder-hitting balls since almost no energy is absorbed by the ceramic part of the core. But this type of core can’t be altered during finger hole drilling. The millable ceramics are easier to drill but the core absorbs energy upon impact with the pins.
The manufacturing process starts with making the core. The coverstock material encapsulated the whole core. After that, the bowling ball is sent to lathe to achieve the desired shape and it’s sanded and polished for the right texture. Finally, finger holes are drilled after the bowl is purchased according to the customer’s specifications.
Coverstock Surface Finish
Once you have chosen the coverstock material, the next big thing for the best bowling ball for hooking is the surface finishing of the coverstock. Most bowling balls come with a basic factory polish which can be inadequate for your skill and surface condition of the bowling lane.
There are virtually endless combinations of sanding and polishing which include different grit steps and materials. So, you can easily customize the surface condition of your bowling ball. With the modification of the coverstock surface, you can create more or less friction so that you can control when and how the bowling ball starts hooking at the backend.
Special pads are available to increase or decrease the grit and polish of the bowling ball. The smoother surface has low friction and low hook ability but it will transfer more energy to the pins. On the other hand, the sanded and rough surface has high friction and high hook ability but it will lose most of the energy on the lane due to high friction. It will also tend to curve early in the lane. So, you have to treat the surface of the coverstock rather carefully for optimum hook ability.
Although it may require to alter the surface condition of the coverstock, It’s highly recommended that you buy a bowling ball with the correct grit rating rather than modifying too much afterward.
Factors Affecting Coverstock Performance
Since different types of materials are used for the coverstock, obviously it’s one of the key factors determining the coverstock performance. Plastic balls have a smooth surface and less friction which makes them ideal for beginners. These balls have a good grip and control.
Urethane coverstock is tougher than plastic. The friction is also greater and so it deflects less and thus, it has high hooking ability and great control.
For the highest hooking potential, the reactive resin coverstock is recommended. But the surface is fragile compared to the other two materials. This coverstock has high friction and they are sensitive to lane condition.
Apart from the materials, the oil absorption rate and the surface of the lane also affect the performance of the coverstock. The rough coverstock tends to absorb oil from the lane where plastic shells are immune to it.
The denser and heavier portion of the ball that lies beneath the coverstock is the core. The shape and weight can vary from ball to ball. Some bowling balls have heavier cores compared to others. Also, the shape of the cores has many innovative designs. The standard pancake-shaped core will give you the standard bowling experience and it is suitable for novice bowlers.
For more advanced players, the symmetrical or asymmetrical cores where finger holes can be drilled, are available. These types of bowling balls’ core can have different shapes like lightbulb, spherical, elliptical and combination of them. Sometimes, the main core is supplemented by adding a collar or weight block or embedding separate counterweight in the interior of the ball. The computer-aided designing processes are adopted by manufacturers and they are constantly trying to create a more improved design for the shape of the core for better performance.
Factors Affecting Core Performance
The weight of the core determines how long the ball will travel down the lane. Also, bowling balls with a heavier core and shape of a pancake tends to roll less. So, they have low hook potentials and predictable behavior. A low mass core with different shapes and densities allows the bowling ball a heavy roll, which escalates the hooking potentials.
The different geometrical shapes provide different radii and axes of gyration to the bowling balls. The radius of gyration of a ball dictates how quickly the ball starts spinning as it comes to a roll. A ball with a high radius of gyration starts spinning at a slower pace. On the other hand, the low radius of gyration makes the ball spin quickly and essentially the ball has a wider hook.
The drilled shape of the core alters the radius of gyration. You can modify two balls of different geometry to give them the same radius of gyration by drilling appropriate holes in the core. Besides, the features like intermediate differential, total differential, and low and high radius of gyration axes orientation in relation to the positive axis point and the static imbalances of the ball affect the core performance.
The standard weight for adult bowling balls should be within 12 to 15 pounds. For females, the balls close to 12 pounds are preferable. The best weight for teenagers would be between 10 to 12 pounds. You should do some practice runs in the local bowling club to find the ideal weight for your style and control. If the ball is too heavy for you, you may fail to utilize the full potential and if it’s too light, it might swerve off.
Understand the Condition of Lanes
Some of the bowling balls are custom made for different bowling lane conditions. For the dry bowling lanes, pearl and other stiff covered balls are suitable as they have low friction coverstock. In the case of medium or heavily oiled lanes, poly-urethane coverstocks offer more gripping and control.
Finger Hole Positions/ Custom Holes
The custom finger hole positions will regulate the amount of curve and your techniques as well. You should consult local experts to help you with the drilling of holes and placements. The bowling ball with symmetrical core offers more versatility about the positions of the finger holes. These finger holes have to be drilled carefully to fit the ball in your hand. If the grip is too loose, you might lose control when bowling.
Look and Style
Although aesthetics might not be crucial for your performance, a dorky-looking bowling ball is not good for your self-esteem. A handsome looking bowling ball will boost up your confidence level. There are unique designs of coverstocks like flowing color patterns in some hybrid coverstocks and you can choose from them what you like. High-gloss finishings are preferable as they will remain shiny for a long time.
The price range for the bowling balls varies from under $50 to around $300. Of Course, the quality comes with expenses but you have to remember that those extravagant balls are not appropriate for every skill level. If you are a beginner, the cheap plastic bowling balls are for you. As you gain expertise along the way, you can go for more costly items.
Practical experiences and honest customer reviews are always invaluable resources and will help you to choose the right bowling ball for your expertise level. There are lots of technical aspects you have to consider before buying which can be pretty difficult sometimes. Also, different manufacturers may use different lingo in their literature and it can be troublesome to compare two balls from different manufacturers. Online reviews might be helpful in such situations.
Frequently Ask Questions on Best Bowling Ball For Hooking
What is a bowling ball hook potential chart?
Since different manufacturers adopt different methods to describe the hooking potential of their products which can create difficulties when comparing two different products. To clear away this confusion, some third party websites have created unbiased charts that utilize mathematical formulas along with manufacturers’ current scale to compare different bowling balls for their hooking potentials in a single chart.
What is flare potential on a bowling ball?
The flare potential of a certain bowling ball indicates the maximum amount the ball can migrate while going down the lane. The high flare balls are for oily lanes and low flare balls suit the dry lane.
How to hook a bowling ball
First of all, you have to choose the right bowling ball and customize them if needed. After that, you have to master the proper grip, swing, and spin of the bowling ball.
How to add a hook to my bowling ball?
After purchasing the standard equipment from the market, seasoned players usually modify the coverstock and as-drilled mass of the core for better hooking.
What Coverstock hooks the most?
In general, the rough reactive resin coverstock has high hooking potential. But it doesn’t entirely depend on the coverstock, lane conditions have to be considered. The reactive resin coverstock picks up oil as it rolls over the oily lane and breaks off into a hooking motion afterward.
Are heavier bowling balls better?
The ball should be comfortable for you to handle it. Theoretically, a heavier ball will store more energy and then transfers it to the pins when it hits them. But if it’s too heavy for you, you will lose control. So, the weight of the ball depends on your capability.
Can I clean my bowling ball with Windex?
It depends on the type of the coverstock your bowling ball has. It is recommended to use a custom degreaser and microfiber to wipe the ball clean.
Apart from the finger holes and eye-catching colors, the bowling balls look simple—deceptively so, but they are much more than solid spheres. And with time the sport has become so sophisticated that knowledge of engineering and physics is likely to prove more helpful in throwing strikes than just casually doing curls with a dumbbell. But despite these minute details, this game illustrates manliness and each year; 65 million average Americans would fling heavy bowling balls down the bowling lane at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. This writing hopefully will help you in your bowling endeavor.