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Understanding Bowling Ball Balance Holes, Originally Posted: 9/4/14; Updated: 4/13/21

**2021 Update: Per USBC Official Rules, balance holes in bowling balls are now considered illegal and must be plugged in order to be used in USBC sanctioned events. For more info, please click here. **

Understanding bowling ball balance holes is a step in learning options your ball driller has when selecting a drilling layout.
Here are a few bullet points about a balance hole:

A balance hole is an extra hole (weight hole) in a ball which ensures the ball remains within United State Bowling Congress (USBC) specifications and guidelines for imbalance (static balance).

The maximum allowable diameter is 1-1/4" for USBC sanctioned play.
Balance holes in bowling balls are non-gripping holes drilled into the ball.
Balance holes adjust the static weight of a given ball and create dynamic influence.
The effect of static weights is extremely minimal on the ball's reaction.

The key influence of a balance hole lies in the effects that it has on the ball while it is in motion.
The location of a balance hole with regard to the distance from the pin is the primary tool for altering the dynamics of the ball's core.

The USBC states that a bowling ball may have no more than one (1) ounce of side weight after the holes are drilled.
If a ball is over one (1) ounce (we recommend 3/4 ounce) then there is a guide pro shop professionals use to help determine what size drill bit you should use, and how deep a balance hole should be drilled to restore the ball to specification limits.

Use of a balance hole would be the final factor important in achieving a desired ball reaction.
The drilling technique when using a balance hole consists of the layout and the balance hole size and location of the hole.

Drilling a balance hole can help to control the degree of transition your ball makes in the mid-lane and at the break point down the lane.

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