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Ninety Pro Shops Weigh in and Select Roto Grip Cell Solid as the Ball of the Year – January 2009 – No Holes Barred

WHO KNOWS MORE about the ins and outs of today’s autos — an individual car owner or an experienced mechanic who works on many of the different makes and models? By the same reasoning, who knows more about bowling balls — an individual ball owner or an experienced pro shop operator who works on most of the balls available today?

The answer should be obvious, and that is the main reason I decided to change the Ball of the Year voting procedure. This year, I sent a B.o.t.Y. ballot to more than 100 U.S. pro shops and more than 50 international pro shops, instead of last year’s voting by the readers. Again, most knowledgeable pro shop guys really know bowling balls. We (pro shops) have a more intimate understanding of the nuances of all these balls — the good and bad, if you will. We also know which balls garnered the highest customer satisfaction rating for the wide range of bowler styles present in today’s game. We also know which balls display above-average longevity, durability and overall performance on the evergrowing spectrum of lane conditions. We also know which balls perform as promised and which balls have “legs” (extended shelf life). Two such examples are the Bowlers Journal International 2007 Ball of the Year, Storm’s T Road Solid, and the 2006 winner, the venerable Hammer Black Widow solid.

I know we all have our personal favorites — and, yes, even brand biases — but the reality is that pro shop operators have thrown more balls, drilled many more, and communicated with countless customers about which balls they like or don’t like and why. Having the luxury and privilege to throw every new ball, I’ve learned that each ball manufacturer hits the occasional home run, strokes some singles, doubles or triples, but also can strike out swinging. But, truly, they all have a pretty darn high batting average (at least since I began testing in 2006). If they played for the Yankees, their salaries would tower over A-Rod’s paltry paycheck.