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Bowling Ball Facts For New Bowlers, Originally Posted: 8/3/2013; Updated: 4/3/2023

If you are new to the game and are seeking to learn about bowling balls before you purchase your first new ball, there are several facts about bowling balls which will help you get an idea about the actual size, weight requirements, and overall specifications required by the USBC.

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) is the governing body of the sport of bowling and provides the rules and regulations for the game. The USBC also provides equipment specifications by which manufacturers of bowling products, such as bowling balls, must adhere to before coming to market.

Here are a few key specifications for bowling ball equipment specifications:

A bowling ball must be constructed of solid material without liquids or voids in the center.

Any materials added to or included in the coverstock shall be equally distributed throughout the entire coverstock of the ball.

Altering a ball in any way so as to increase its weight or cause it to be off balance outside specifications is prohibited.

The surface of a ball shall be free of depressions or grooves other than holes used for gripping purposes.

The weight of a ball shall not exceed 16 pounds. There is no minimum weight.

The circumference of a bowling ball 13 lbs. or greater is 26.7" minimum, 27.002" maximum.

The diameter of a bowling ball 13 lbs. or greater is a minimum of 8.5" and a maximum of 8.595".

The Roundness of a 13 lb. ball or greater is .01" tolerance.

5 holes maximum are allowed for gripping purposes, all for the same hand.

There are no color restrictions for a bowling ball so long as all additives in the coverstock are distributed throughout the entire coverstock of the ball.

If you have additional questions about bowling balls, the guidelines for specifications, or what is or is not permitted related to drilling gripping holes in a bowling ball, consult with your local Pro Shop professional.

It helps to know the rules of the game and be aware of the specifications all bowling balls must adhere to before they are permitted for use in sanctioned league or tournament competition.

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