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Buying Your First Bowling Ball

By; Originally Posted: 9/21/2016; Updated: 2/17/2021

It's hard to describe the feeling of having your first bowling ball drilled. Having your hand measured, hearing the drill press, smelling the smell that emanates when the holes are drilled. If you're reading this article, you're considering buying your first bowling ball. You'll soon experience the feeling of getting your first ball. Our goal is to help set you up for success in the purchase and fit of your new bowling ball.

Determine Which Type Of Ball Fits The Style Of Bowler You Wish To Be

There are two types of bowlers, those who throw the ball straight and those who throw a hook. If you've ever watched professional bowling, you'll have noticed that all of them throw the ball with some sort of hook. Some of them will hook the ball more than others, but they all throw a hook. The reason for this is because the best percentage of carry (knocking down all of the pins) comes from throwing a hook. Your ball needs to enter the pocket (between the 1 & 3 pins for righties, 1 & 2 pins for lefties) at an angle in order to have the maximum strike percentage with the way the pins are arranged. Almost all bowlers who end up taking the sport seriously will learn to throw a hook. If you foresee yourself wanting to improve and compete on a high level, we recommend starting with an entry level reactive ball. This style of bowling ball will aid you in learning to throw a hook as the coverstock (the outer surface of the ball) is designed to grip the lane. A bowling ball like the Pyramid Path Rising would be the perfect choice. It won't be uncontrollable for you, but it will allow you to see progress in your release.

If you're a bowler who likes to throw the ball straight, a plastic or polyester bowling ball will be the best option for you. Plastic coverstocks will grip the lane the least of any cover material which will make the ball have the least hook potential. The Pyramid Path line of bowling balls would fit the bill wonderfully.

Decide On The Bowling Ball Weight

Since you don't already have your own bowling ball, you've most likely been using a house ball that you find at the bowling alley. You probably even have a specific weight that's most comfortable for you. Whatever that weight is, you need to increase it by 1 to 2 pounds when you have a ball drilled for your hand.​ But, why? Well, the ball you've been using isn't custom fit for your hand. The hole sizes are most likely too large or too small and this causes you to squeeze to hang onto the ball. When you squeeze, you cause excess tension on your joints and tendons which makes the ball feel heavier. When the ball is fit for your hand, you won't need to squeeze, so you'll be able to use a heavier ball. A heavier ball will generally knock down more pins, so this is a good thing. 15 pounds is the most popular weight for men and 14 for women, but everyone is different! You'll have to decide what's best for you.

The Perfect Fit

Another key to success is having a proper fit on your bowling ball. Fit includes the sizing of the finger and thumb holes, span (the distance between the finger holes and thumb hole) and pitches (the angle the holes are drilled at). It is very important to make sure that your new bowling ball is drilled specifically for your hand.

There are two main types of bowling ball fit: conventional grip and fingertip grip.

Conventional grip is where your thumb is inserted all the way to the base and your fingers are inserted in to the 2nd joint/crease. Conventional grip is great for children, bowlers with a weak grip and those who throw a straight ball. 

Fingertip grip is the grip most used by high caliber bowlers (by a huge margin). If you plan on learning to throw a hook, this is the grip for you. With a fingertip grip your thumb is still inserted all the way to the base, but your fingers are only inserted in to the 1st joint/crease. This allows you to lift with your fingers which is a key to making the bowling ball hook. Most bowlers that use a finger tip grip will also use finger inserts. We recommend that you do use finger inserts as it is easier on your fingers and allows you to create more lift.

Two-handed bowling and no-thumb bowling are increasing in popularity, however we recommend that you have your ball drilled as if you were going to bowl with your thumb. Even if you plan to bowl without your thumb or with two hands, it's a good idea as many bowlers end up using their thumb. The vast majority of pro bowlers still use their thumb.

We hope that this article has helped you with understanding your options when buying your first bowling ball. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact us at You can reach us by phone at (888) 265-2695 or by e-mail at [email protected]. We also offer a professional custom drilling service and would love to drill your new ball for you.


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