What Are Bowling Balls Made Of

What are bowling balls made of?

Bowling is a popular indoor sport enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. The sport involves rolling a heavy ball down a narrow lane to knock down as many pins as possible. Bowling balls are an essential piece of equipment in the sport, and their composition plays a critical role in the performance of a bowler.

Bowling balls are typically made of a combination of materials, each serving a specific purpose. These materials include the core, coverstock, and weight blocks, which work together to provide the desired ball motion and speed. This article will explore the various materials used in making bowling balls and their functions. Understanding these materials is crucial for selecting the right ball for your playing style and achieving optimal performance on the lanes.

The Core

The core of a bowling ball is the central part of the ball that affects its motion and stability as it rolls down the lane. It is typically made of high-density material and is responsible for the ball’s weight and balance. The shape and size of the core play a significant role in the ball’s performance.

Bowling ball cores can be divided into two main categories: symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical cores are evenly shaped and are designed to produce a predictable and smooth roll. On the other hand, asymmetrical cores have an irregular shape and are engineered to create a more dynamic and versatile ball motion.
The materials used for the core of a bowling ball can vary, but some of the most common materials include polyurethane and resin.

Polyurethane cores are softer and more flexible than other materials, which makes them great for creating a high hook potential. Resin cores, on the other hand, are stiffer and provide more stability and control.

Overall, the core of a bowling ball is a critical component that affects the ball’s performance and can make a significant difference in a bowler’s game. When selecting a ball, it’s essential to consider the type of core and material used to ensure the ball matches your playing style and preferences.

The Coverstock

The coverstock is the outermost layer of the bowling ball that makes contact with the lane. It is responsible for the ball’s friction and grip, determining its motion and hook potential. The coverstock also protects the ball’s core from damage.

Bowling ball coverstocks can be made of various materials, including polyester, resin, urethane, etc. Each material has unique properties that affect the ball’s performance.

Polyester coverstocks are the most basic and affordable option, providing minimal hook potential and a straighter ball motion. They are ideal for beginner bowlers or those looking for a spare ball.

Resin coverstocks, also known as reactive coverstocks, are designed to increase the ball’s hook potential and provide greater angularity down the lane. They are typically more expensive than polyester balls and are preferred by more experienced bowlers.

Urethane coverstocks balance polyester and resin coverstocks, offering moderate hook potential and a smoother ball motion. They are popular among bowlers who want more control over their ball’s motion.

Weight Blocks

Weight blocks are internal components located within the core of a bowling ball. They are designed to affect the ball’s center of gravity and overall weight distribution, which can significantly impact its motion and hook potential.

The function of weight blocks in bowling balls is to control the ball’s RG (radius of gyration) and differential, which are measurements of the ball’s mass distribution. A higher RG produces a ball with a later hook, while a lower RG creates an earlier hook. Differential measures the difference in RG between the ball’s x and y-axis, creating an asymmetrical ball motion.

There are two main types of weight blocks: high mass and low mass. High-mass weight blocks are larger and heavier, producing more overall ball weight and stability. They are typically used in heavier oil conditions or for bowlers with slower ball speeds. On the other hand, low-mass weight blocks are smaller and lighter, providing faster ball speeds and greater angularity down the lane. They are ideal for bowlers with faster ball speeds or in dry lane conditions.

The materials used for weight blocks vary, but some common materials include ceramic and tungsten. Ceramic weight blocks are dense and heavy, producing more overall ball weight and stability. Tungsten weight blocks are also heavy but have a smaller profile, allowing them to be placed strategically within the ball’s core.


In conclusion, bowling balls are made of materials that affect their weight, balance, motion and hook potential. The core, coverstock and weight blocks are all critical components that can significantly impact the ball’s performance.

Different materials, such as polyurethane, resin, urethane, polyester, ceramic, and tungsten, are used for the various components of a bowling ball, each with unique properties that affect the ball’s motion and hook potential.

Choosing the right materials for your bowling ball is essential to ensure that it matches your playing style and lane conditions. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced bowler, selecting a ball that suits your needs and preferences can significantly impact your game.

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