Choosing a bowling ball, like many other types of sport equipment, can be somewhat confusing — especially for beginning or novice bowlers. However, there are a few things to consider that will make choosing the right ball easier. First, you should decide how often you plan to use it and how much you are willing to spend.
Bowling balls are constructed of one of four basic types of material, and each is designed for a different purpose. The type most commonly purchased and used by beginning bowlers is plastic, though the balls are actually constructed of polyester. Plastic balls are the least expensive type, very durable, and the same construction as most in-house balls at bowling alleys. A plastic ball generally stays on the course it is thrown and remains straight as it skids down the alley. It works well for kids and those learning the sport, but more experienced bowlers prefer a differently constructed ball.
The other types of bowling balls are reactive resin, particle, and urethane. Each type suits different needs, but anyone learning to throw a hook will be better satisfied with one of these over plastic. One important consideration when choosing a material is lane conditions. Dry lanes are those that are not oiled, and a urethane bowling ball will react fairly well to these conditions and can be polished to better control the hook. However, on oiled lanes, a reactive resin or particle ball will react better than urethane.
Along with the construction of the ball, the weight is another important factor. Most people should select a ball that is approximately 10% of their total body weight. However, certain physical conditions may affect the need for less or more weight. A good way to determine the proper weight of a bowling ball is to try several different weights on in-house balls and then add about 1 pound (453.59 grams) to the best weight ball. The reason for adding weight is because a ball with custom drilled finger holes will make the ball feel slightly lighter.
Selecting the proper bowling ball isn't difficult, especially with help from a pro-shop. Remember to buy a bag to house your ball for transportation, and if you are planning to bowl regularly to develop and perfect your release and your game, it's worthwhile to invest in a pair of comfortable bowling shoes and avoid repeated rental charges.