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Bowling Equipment

Page history last edited by rcvaughn@uark.edu 14 years, 10 months ago

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Writer 1: Ryan Vaughn

Writer 2: Brook Perry

Bowling Equipment


Bowling Ball





Early forms of bowling used stone or wooden balls. Our tenpin bowling balls were originally made of a hard wood called Lignum Vitae.  [1] Eventually, the ball came to be made of a hard rubber, then plastic and epoxy.



Not all bowling balls are created equally either.  The inner core of the ball can often have different weights arranged in unique ways so that the ball hooks more or less depending on the ball and the way it is delivered.[2]  Regulation bowling balls cannot be heavier than 16 pounds, but they can be as light as you want. Adult sized bowling balls start at the weight of 10 pounds and then go up to 16 pounds. Children's bowling balls start at a light weight of 6 pounds then go up to 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 15, and 16. The holes are also smaller to fit a children's fingers.[3]



In addition to different weights controlling hook, speed and spin, there are materials added to the mixture to help these different attributes. There are four different types of materials added to a base mixture of a bowling ball. These materials are urethane, reactive resin, particle, and plastic. Urethane balls are the softest out of all of these. They drag on the floor and create a hook away from the gutter. These balls can be sanded and modified to the degree of the hook that you want. The second type of bowling ball, reactive resin, are a lot like the urethane balls. They tend to be sticky from the resin and get an even better grip on the lane. These balls also travel at very fast speeds because they skid across oiled wood lanes.



If you want a ball that will grip the lane even more so than the previous two, you need to get a particle ball. These have the same mixture as reactive resin, but with glass added. This creates a "grit" in the bowling ball and contributes to gripping the lane. This ball is the choice of most professional bowlers because they have more control over their hook and spin with this ball. Finally the last type of bowling ball is a plastic one. These are the cheapest to manufacture, so they are the most popular. These balls have a longer lifetime than any other type and can handle more wear and tear because they are made from polyester. These balls are the hardest to control because they skid across and do not roll on an oiled lane. Professional bowlers prefer not to use them.[4]








Pins were originally made of wood.  Today, while they are still made of wood (specifically maple) they are covered in a thin layer of plastic and a gloss.

They must be precisely 15 inches tall and 15 inches in diameter at the fattest point.  They also have to weigh less than 4 pounds a piece.[5]






Bowling lanes are 60 feet from the foul line to the headpin and 42 inches wide with a gutter on either side.  The approach is 15 feet long behind the foul line.[6]







Oddly enough, bowling shoes are not all created equally either.  Right handed bowlers' left shoes are made to slide on the approach and so have a hard leather or vinyl sole.  The right shoe for right handed bowlers will have a rubber sole to help brake their forward momentum. [7] In order to have a good fit, when getting a pair of bowling shoes, you need to get them in a size 1/2 larger than your normal shoes.[8]







Another piece of equipment used are bowling gloves. They are not used typically in recreational bowling. Competitive and professional bowlers are more likely to use these during their game. Gloves are used for more grip on the ball and support for your hand. There is metal in the glove in the back or the front of your wrist, so that your wrist is not straining as much when you are throwing the ball.[9]


  1. http://www.tenpinbowling.org/view.php?page=the_game.history
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_ball#References
  3. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-bowling-balls.htm
  4. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-bowling-balls.htm
  5. http://www.pba.com/resources/basics/bowling101.asp
  6. http://www.pba.com/resources/basics/bowling101.asp
  7. http://www.pba.com/resources/basics/bowling101.asp
  8. http://www.wikihow.com/Bowl-Your-Best-Game-Ever
  9. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCK/is_2_21/ai_101497216/

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