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Bowling Pro Shop Terms

If you are new to the game or on the verge of drilling your first high tech bowling ball and if you wish to learn more about specific bowling pro shop terms you may hear around the bowling center, then there are a few select terms you should understand the reference to and how they apply to bowling balls.

There are several terms you will surely hear when discussing bowling balls in and around your local pro shop; here are 22 such terms to help you familiarize yourself with bowling pro shop terminology:

1. Actual Span: Distance from edge of thumb hole nearest to center, to edge of finger holes nearest to center, including all inserts and/or grips.

2. Axis of rotation: Imaginary line, perpendicular to the track, along which a bowling ball rotates during its path down the lane.

3. Axis tilt: Angle between axis of rotation and the horizontal plane - caused by the bowler at the release, represents an angle of the axis rotation above a horizontal line through the middle of the ball.

4. Balance hole: A hole placed in the ball (usually on the bowler’s vertical axis line to bring a ball back into ABC legal specifications.

5. Bridge: Distance between the finger holes.

6. Center of gravity: The point in a body or system around which the whole mass is concentrated any may be assumed to act. The point on the surface of the bowling ball where the static balance is zero in all directions on a do-do scale - usually marked by a logo.

7. Center line: Vertical line between the fingers and through the middle of the thumb.

8. Cut span/cut-to-cut span: Distance from edge of thumb hole nearest to center, to edge of finger holes nearest to center, excluding all inserts and/or grips.

9. Degree of oval: Degree of oval of a hole will be to the center line measured on a horizontal line from the center of the thumb hole.

10. Dropped ring finger: A fit in which the ring finger span is intentionally shortened to be less than the middle finger span.

11. Dynamic imbalance: Measure of weight in an object in motion.

12. Flare: Refers to the bowling ball changing its axis of rotation while seeking its preferred spin axis during its path down the lane. The result is several distinct oil rings being visible around the ball.

13. Imbalance: Displacement of the center of gravity from the geometric center of a bowling ball.

14. Lateral pitches: Right and left components of hole angle in any drilled bowling ball.

15. Mass Bias: Weight in a particular area of the ball.

16. Midplane/Vertical Axis Line: A line perpendicular to the midline that passes through the bowler’s positive axis point and the negative axis point when extended completely around the ball. Separates top of ball from bottom of ball on the bowler’s axis of rotation.

17. Pin: A small round discoloration on a bowling ball that marks the top of the weight block.

18. Positive axis point (PAP): Point on the surface of the ball that is the end of the bowlers axis of rotation, on the positive side of the ball.

19. Preferred spin axis: The axis about which the bowling ball wants to rotate.

20. Radius of gyration (Rg): An account of the distribution of the mass in an object.

21. Track: Area of bowling ball that makes contact with the surface during its path down the lane. Because of revolving motion, this area is usually in the form of a ring or rings around the ball.


22. Weight block:
Traditionally, the dense part(s) of material found in the interior of a bowling ball.

The pro shop terms refer to bowling balls and are taken into consideration by the pro shop professional when planning to drill a bowling ball.




There are many more terms you will hear around the pro shop but these are several terms which are commonplace to pro shop operators.

If you are trying to progress in the game, it is important to understand some bowling lingo and how it relates to your equipment.
If you have questions about pro shop terms, consult your favorite pro shop professional soon to discuss.