Many of the tips on this web site describe the influences of the bowler’s style and the dynamics of the bowling ball’s core, pin positions, CG positions, and balance holes. Their order of influence in the ball reaction equation, from most to least, is as follows:
1. Bowler’s style and lane condition
2. Ball Choice (RG, differential)
3. Pin Position
4. Mass Bias location (for asymmetric balls only)
5. Balance hole size, depth, and location
6. CG location
7. Ending static weights (side weight, finger/thumb weight, top/bottom weight)
Numbers 2 through 7 can be chosen and manipulated by the ball-driller. Number 1, the style and lane condition, has to be taken as a constant. I know all of the pro shop operators are squirming in their seats, clicking their mouse, shaking their head, ready to jump through the screen. Why? Because I have not spent much time on the surface of the ball.
The surface of the ball and its interaction with the oil and lane surface IS NUMBER 1 in the factors that can be manipulated by the ball-driller. Too much surface texture and the ball will lose energy prematurely, too little and the ball will conserve energy too long. Both are equally undesirable. All of the time spent choosing the correct ball and dynamic layout is completely wasted unless the surface texture creates the correct breakpoint. The factory surface texture of a ball is not always going to be the correct one for you and the lane condition you are bowling on. You can sand or scuff a polished ball, you can polish a sanded ball. Can you sand a pearl ball? Absolutely. Can you polish a particle ball? Yessirree! And you can change it back to its original state and start over again. Whatever it takes to get the proper release of energy. You will need to refresh the surface texture periodically to keep it reacting consistently.
I can’t tell you how many ball reviews I’ve read that state “I threw the ball 3 games and it reacted horribly. I got rid of it. What a piece of junk.” There is no way on God’s green Earth that a determination can be made in 3 games. This person needs to work with their pro shop operator to fine-tune the surface texture. There is a myriad of choices for surface texture, from 80 grit (yes I know individuals who have used this much surface) to 5000 grit polishes and hook-reducing waxes, that will allow the ball to read the lane correctly. Unless, of course, a huge mistake in ball choice was made (like buying a polyester ball for medium to heavy oil, a particle ball for light to medium oil, my grandfather and his 12 MPH ball speed wanting a low RG, high flare ball).
Surface composition (polyester, urethane, reactive, particle) and texture allow the inner core to express itself on the lane, much like a tire provides the potential for motion for a car’s engine. There are several different tires available, from studded snow tires to the smooth racing slicks. Each provides a different amount of traction and friction. Put the wrong set of tires on a race car and you will not be competitive, potentially even dangerous. Work with your local IBPSIA/Striking Effects Pro Shop to fine-tune that surface texture. It could turn that dud into a stud!