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Bowling Ball Coverstock Choices, Originally Posted: 10/5/2012; Updated: 9/2/2021

If you want to learn about bowling ball coverstock choices available in the market today, then examine these six varieties of coverstocks and select one that suits your needs.

A little knowledge about bowling ball coverstock choices can go a long way in choosing the right bowling ball to match with the given lane conditions you are targeting.

Since Rubber and Epoxy coverstocks are no longer in production, let's identify only the relevant coverstocks in today's market to simplify your selection process.

Plastic - Polyester balls are the least aggressive of all modern day coverstocks available in the market. Plastic balls are good when a bowler needs the ball to go straight up-the-boards of the lane, for spare shooting, particularly the corner pin spares, or perhaps even for extremely dry lane conditions.

Urethane - The regular 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 for other classifications of coverstocks such as reactive resin, hybrid, and particle coverstocks.

Urethane balls match well on dry lanes or on medium/dry lanes if you are looking to control the ball reaction in the mid-lane. Urethane balls also have a controllable reaction from the break point to the pocket.

Reactive Resin - Reactive Resin bowling balls triggered the movement to highly aggressive coverstocks. Reactive coverstocks are composed of similar materials used in regular urethane formations, however, they are blended with different additives. Some reactive coverstocks provide the "tacky" feeling which translates into additional traction and usually a strong back end reaction on the lane.

Sub-categories of reactive coverstocks are the solid coverstock, the pearl coverstock, and the hybrid coverstock, all of which are reactive coverstock bowling balls. Reactive coverstocks provide the widest range of ball motion capabilities and are the most frequently opted coverstocks by consumers.

Solid Reactive - Solid Reactive coverstocks have the greatest amount of microscopic reactive pores on the ball surface compared to other reactive coverstocks. The solid coverstock comes in a polished finish, sanded finishes, and with a rubbing compound buffed finish so the degree of surface friction can be controlled within the sub-category of solid reactive bowling balls.

Pearl Reactive - Pearl Reactive coverstocks have the addition of mica material blended into the reactive coverstock material. The inclusion of mica roughens out the microscopic pores causing the ball reaction on dry lanes to be extended in length.
Reactive pearl balls have the ability to react quickly to high friction back-end of the lane. The mica adds some sparkle to the bowling ball's surface appearance.

Hybrid Reactive - Hybrid Reactive coverstocks are a combination of solid and pearl reactive covers with the purpose of taking advantage of the benefits of both type coverstocks. Hybrid coverstocks offer the mid-lane reaction of a solid coverstock and the back end reaction of a pearl coverstock. Hybrid coverstocks offer the versatility of friction match-ups on the lane surface. Hybrid coverstocks are now being manufactered to provide a range in coverstock aggressiveness and are a popular option for the serious players today.

Particle - Particle coverstocks are no longer manufactured, but here is some information about the older balls. Particle coverstock classifications are similar to the makeup of reactive resin balls with the big difference being an addition of microscopic pieces of material in the coverstock blended to reach through the oily lane conditioner and make responsive contact with the lane surface.

Unless there is fairly heavy oil on the front end of the lane, particle coverstocks will create too much surface friction causing the ball to use energy early and conserve too little on the back end and for impact with the pins. Particle coverstocks display noticeable silica particles reflecting from a bright light, as in the case of a camera flash. Particle coverstocks have actually been discontinued but only due to the new, improved modern coverstocks available. Modern coverstock surfaces can be altered to prepare a variety of surface textures with the purpose of controlling bowling ball length and hook potential on a variety of oil conditions.

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