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Guidelines For Bowling Ball Surface Maintenance

By:, 8/1/16

Any bowler who invests good money in modern bowling ball equipment may wish to observe some general guidelines for bowling ball surface maintenance.

Bowling ball surface maintenance need not be a complicated chore but rather a simple process to follow after you have bowled several games with each new bowling ball you purchase.

Protect your investment in your equipment. Coverstock maintenance is an integral part of restoring a good ball reaction as you expect when you first drill a new ball.

It is recommended by manufacturers and by pro shops to follow a bowling ball surface maintenance schedule.

Here is a simple outline to guide you when to perform surface maintenance to your bowling ball equipment:

1. Re-polish shiny bowling balls and scuff dull bowling balls after ten games (10) of bowling.​

2. Scuff and re-polish shiny bowling balls after 30 games (30) of bowling.

3. Full resurface is needed (and finger inserts should be replaced) after 60 games (60) of bowling.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the next interval of 60 games of bowling (60).

Next, here are some useful combinations of grit pads which may be used to prepare the coverstock of your bowling balls:  

500-grit: This reaction causes the ball to read the lane extremely early. This generally works best only on extremely heavy patterns. Speed dominant players who tend to bowl with a direct line to the pocket can use this grit pad to gain sufficient traction on the lane surface.

360, 1000-grit: This reaction applies a 1000 grit pad over an initial treatment with a 360 grit pad which gives the ball more length than 500 alone while still generating friction in heavier oil. This works well on heavy patterns with fresh back-ends.

500, 2000-grit:  This combination produces a very good benchmark reaction as the ball has enough topography (surface exposure) to still generate friction in medium to light oil, but not enough to cause the ball to read the lane too early. This finish delays the hook transition which allows for a strong entry angle.

500, 4000-grit:  This combination of grit pads works extremely well on multiple patterns. This choice of pads yields easy length of your ball through the heads, a subtle but noticeable mid-lane reaction, and an enormous amount of friction at the end of the pattern. This finish can generate some of the strongest entry angles possible on fresh patterns but care must be taken on long oil patterns or when the oil carries down the lane to avoid the ball skidding too far.

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

*Clean your ball coverstock with a ball cleaner after each use.

*If there is a visible track on your ball, ask your pro shop to refinish the ball to remove the track and restore the ball to its original factory finish.

*If your ball has more than 50 games on it, you may be able to increase mid-lane and backend hooking action by removing oil from the coverstock. Remove the oil from the ball by cleaning it with cleaner or rejuvenating substance or visit your pro shop to have it done professionally.

There are multiple methods to refinish your coverstocks, all of which will yield slightly different results.

If you choose to make surface adjustments yourself using your own grit pads, research has shown that the lowest grit should be applied with more pressure, but for a shorter duration.

The higher grits should be applied with less pressure, but for a longer time. These techniques are recommended to get the desired amount of skid.

Bowling ball surface maintenance is more important today when using modern bowling ball coverstock than many years ago when coverstock selections were limited. When you invest in new equipment, it becomes your responsibility to follow a reasonable surface maintenance routine to preserve the type of ball reaction you need on local lane conditions at centers where you bowl. Consult with your favorite pro shop professionals if you have questions about caring for your bowling ball surfaces.


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