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Plastic Vs. Urethane Bowling Balls

Understanding the differences between plastic vs. urethane bowling balls will help beginners or newcomers to the game choose which type of bowling ball to purchase when visiting or a local pro shop. Knowing the difference in plastic vs. urethane bowling balls will also help the more experienced range of bowlers averaging 140 or less in the ball selection process.
it is most important, however, to have a new bowling ball fit properly. Having a reliable and experienced ball driller is key to fitting the bowler's hand and help in choosing between a conventional grip or a full, finger-tip grip.

Over the past several decades, a number of coverstocks have been developed by manufacturers ranging from rubber material, to plastic or polyester material, to the first urethane materials, to reactive resin, to sub-categories of reactive resin, to particle materials, and even a brief introduction of epoxy material coverstocks. Let's address the differences in this article, between plastic vs. urethane bowling balls.

Plastic balls or more properly, polyester coverstock bowling balls, replaced the rubber ball in the 1970's in popularity and was the dominant ball during the decade. Although the industry provided successful rubber bowling balls well into the 1970's such as the Johnny Petraglia LT-48 ball made by Brunswick, essentially from about 1971 forward the polyester bowling balls were predominantly used on the PBA Tour, and because of the success on Tour were chosen by more and more amateur bowlers all throughout the 1970's and beyond.

Polyester balls are the least aggressive of all modern day coverstocks available in the market. Plastic balls react least aggressively of all coverstocks in medium, medium-heavy, and heavy oil lane conditions on the front end, in the mid-lane and on dry back end of the lane. Plastic balls are good when a bowler needs the ball to go straight up-the boards of the lane, for spare shooting, or perhaps even for extremely dry lane conditions.

Plastic balls favor slow ball speed players for both strike and spare ball deliveries. Plastic balls will not hook as soon as urethane balls because of the lesser amount of friction generated on the lane surface with a stiff coverstock made of polyester materials. Polyester or plastic bowling balls are factory finished with a polished and shiny surface which further indicates the longest skid potential and least amount of back end ball reaction of all choices of bowling balls in today's market.

Urethane coverstock bowling balls were first introduced in the market circa 1980 by AMF and were known as the AMF Angle ball. Hammer soon jumped into the game introducing the Hammer black urethane ball and the development boom in bowling balls began to really take off.

The urethane ball has greater angle of entry into the pocket and covers more boards on a given lane condition than does a plastic ball. Urethane is the base material used on other classifications of more aggressive coverstocks such as reactive resin, hybrid, and particle coverstocks but additional additives are included in the formations of advanced urethane products. What the industry generally refers to these days as "urethane bowling balls" is recognized as entry level urethane products which provide very controllable skid distance on the front end of the lanes, although typically not as much skid distance as plastic balls, and also provide a mild degree of hook potential on the back end of the lane. Overall, the urethane coverstock will hook a greater amount than will a plastic coverstock and transfer a greater amount of energy into the pins than will plastic bowling balls.

Bowlers trying to learn how to hook a bowling ball or bowlers who have already developed a hook release but wish to see a controllable amount of hook might consider a urethane ball. Bowlers who roll the ball very straight down the lane may also consider a urethane ball vs. a plastic ball if the lanes are oily and plastic balls skid too far and do not provide enough traction on the lane. Of course, on dry lanes, the plastic ball will provide the greatest amount of skid, less traction, and not react quite as soon as will a urethane ball.

Both plastic balls and urethane balls are good choices for bowlers who are learning the game and both selections can provide enough hook potential with the proper release techniques so the ball path down the lane can be easily controlled. always recommends consulting a local pro shop expert or a certified bowling instructor if you have any questions in mind about choosing between plastic or urethane bowling balls.


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