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Bowling Ball Surface Adjustments During Competition

Learning about bowling ball surface adjustments during competition is important and useful information. If you wish to give yourself the best chances of scoring well during competition, whether in leagues or in tournament, know the rules provided by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) pertaining to bowling ball surface adjustments during competition.

Since there are various brands of polishes, cleaners, and surface altering abrasives cleared for use in competition by the USBC, let's examine what is permitted regarding preparation of your bowling ball surfaces before, during and after USBC certified league and tournament competition.

During competition, bowlers may apply bowling ball cleaners and polishes by hand in the bowling area only; they cannot be applied outside of the bowling area (i.e. in the pro shop, locker room or equipment paddock) or with the use of a ball spinner. Cleaners and polishes used during competition must contain no solids or abrasives and be found on the list of acceptable Commercial Ball Cleaners/Polishes.

During competition, bowlers also may use bowling ball cleaning and polishing machines, such as the Lustre King or Storm Surface Factory, provided they do not use any of the surface-altering abrasive options those machines may offer.

Abrasive pads, such as sandpaper, Abralon or Scotch Brite, only may be used before or after competition, and any alterations made using these materials must be made to the entire surface of a bowling ball. Bowlers are not allowed to alter specific areas of a bowling ball's surface (i.e. the track area, flare lines, etc) without altering the rest of the ball's surface in the same fashion.

Cleaners and polishes containing solids or abrasives may be used before or after competition provided the substances are included on the list of acceptable Products Containing Solids or Abrasives.

Individual leagues and tournaments reserve the right to place additional restrictions on when and how bowling ball surface adjustments can be made.

For instance, during the televised finals of U.S. Women's Open and Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour events, ball representatives can sometimes be seen altering the surfaces of players' bowling balls between matches. During those events, each television game is considered a separate round of competition, so bowlers are allowed to alter the surfaces of their bowling balls between each of those one-game rounds. This is not the case during league play where all games in a series are considered part of the same round.

USBC encourages bowlers to consult league officers or tournament officials before making surface adjustments to their bowling balls.

Cleaning bowling balls yourself is easier now than ever. Simply purchasing personal squeeze bottles of ball cleaner available in pro shops, or very inexpensively here at our site, will provide the right agents to clean ball surface by hand.

We recommend purchasing a microfiber towel, like our own exclusive Logo Suede Microfiber Bowling Towel, a liquid ball cleaner such as the Monster Tac Remove All Ball Cleaner 4oz in a 4 ounce squeeze bottle, so you can keep the surface of your ball clean and ready for use the next time you are on the lanes.

Microfiber towels are great for wiping away lane oil off of your ball surface during your session on the lanes because they absorb seven times the amount of moisture as do linen towels and they assist in cleaning your ball of dirt or possible rubber markings from the pit cushions in the pinsetters or from the ball return units, and for applying cleaners and polishes by hand. We hope this information helps you remain competitive.

While you are visiting our site today, please check out the vast menu of bowling consumer products we offer at great prices, with free shipping, free insurance, and no hidden handling charges. has become the No. 1 “e-tailer” of choice for bowling equipment by the consumers of America. Ordering is an easy process by following simple online instructions. Thank you.

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