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How To Select The Right Bowling Ball Flare Potential


If you wish to determine how to select the right bowling ball flare potential, there are a few factors to consider:

1. What is flare potential
2. Lane Oil conditions
3. Choosing a bowling ball

Understanding how to select the right bowling ball flare potential begins with learning about flare potential.

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The core of any bowling ball creates mass distributions inside the bowling ball which are used as key measurements in identifying bowling ball motion traveling on the lane.  The ball flare potential is simply the maximum amount a bowling ball can migrate while traveling down the lane and is a derivative of the RG and the differential of RG (radius of gyration) ratings of a given ball. The combination of all three elements of a bowling ball, the RG, the differential, and the flare potential are all keys in choosing the right bowling ball to match best with the lane conditions you most frequently encounter.

Flare potential can be used as an indicator for which bowling balls are best suited, as example, to oily lane conditions, for dry lane conditions, or which balls are suited for medium oil conditions.  Flare ratings are published routinely by the manufacturer's in addition to the RG ratings.

The radius of gyration is an account of the location of the mass inside a given bowling ball and relates whether the ball mass is concentrated toward the center of the ball (low RG), toward the coverstock of the ball (high RG), or between the two points (medium RG). Typically, the RG rating can also influence flare potential as will the differential of RG. Low RG balls can have low flare potential ratings unless the differential of RG is a very high rating.

High differential ratings can indicate that a given ball will migrate as it travels down the lane and thereby the flare pattern on the surface of the ball becomes a noticeable “bow-tie” effect and can have the potential to flare as much as six inches or more in the track area of the bowling ball thereby creating the highest hook potential possible.

Medium flare potential balls will result in a lesser "bow-tie" pattern than high flare balls and will create a 3" - 5" flare on the ball surface.  Low flare balls will show perhaps a 1"- 3" flare pattern on the ball surface.

A good strategy relating to the flare potential is how sharply do you wish for the ball to hook on the back end of the lane?

As an example, if the lane conditions you regularly encounter have a high volume of oil on the front end of the lane oiled to perhaps 39 feet distance, then a low RG ball with short skid-length potential coupled with a high flare potential rating is a smart choice.  On long and heavy oil conditions from 40 feet to forty four feet distance, choosing a ball with a low RG rating and a medium or low flare potential rating will keep the ball matched-up well with the longer oil pattern.

If lane conditions have medium oil, then choosing a ball with medium flare potential will match well.  As you might expect, medium-dry to dry lanes which have little oil on the front end and tend to encourage an earlier hooking motion than desired require a  bowling ball with a high RG rating to prevent too early of a roll pattern and a medium or low flare potential to avoid an over-dramatic hooking motion down the lane and might well be the best choice.

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