For highly competitive bowlers who want to fully ball down to the least aggressive ball possible without sacrificing hitting power it may make sense to use urethane but these days there is a new type of bowling ball on the market that may make even more sense to you.
A Plastic Ball With a High Performance Core.
If you were to throw a plastic ball with a core you would probably tell your bowling friends that it felt like the weakest reactive resin ball you’ve ever thrown – they simply don’t look or feel like urethane even if they hook about the same amount as urethane equipment does.
If you’ve never thrown a urethane bowling ball you should know that categorically urethane balls hook the earliest of all bowling equipment on the market but they don’t hook very much.
See this post for a list and review of all urethane balls for sale today.
They will read friction before any other style of ball but they won’t overreact to it – instead they will slowly and continuously hook from the friction start point all the way to the pin deck.
With a polyester ball however they will slide through oil regardless of how heavy it is and then when it touches the dry boards outside and down-lane it will start to hook toward the pocket.
For resin balls this is kind of like a skid-flip ball shape, with a plastic with core ball however its more like a skid-push style roll. They will skid through the oil and then slowly start to hook pushing through the pins with drive due to the high performance core they possess.
In contrast most plastic balls use a pancake core that does nothing or drive or pin carry. This is one reason they are used for spares.
For a plastic ball with a core however the small down-lane movement is coupled with a strong drive through the pins that can’t be matched by balls using a pancake weight block.
These days the vast majority of balls made are made from some form of particle resin with a number of included additives to alter the shape of hook. These balls use fancy cores that help in getting the bal to drive through the pins rather than deflect off of them.
Next in popularity are the urethane balls which are meant to read the friction and start hooking the soonest but not actually hook very much.
These balls do great when you want to throw a ball and have a predictable spot on the lanes where the hook begins and know that the ball won’t over hook in most situations.
If however you don’t want the ball to hook earl;y then that’s where the plastic ball with modern core comes along. They are the least common style ball on the market if you ask me but for high rev bowlers or for any bowler faced with a burn condition the top-of-the-line core placed inside of a polyester shell is a godsend.
Right no there are only a few options on the market.
Below I’ll discuss each one in more detail but to summarize I’ll give you the list of currently sold balls (as of 2019) that fit this description.
- The Track Spare + (Plus) – This ball uses a normal run-of-the-mill plastic coverstock and couples it with a really aggressive asymmetrical core that gives this ball movement down-lane and drive through the pocket… even when you get it into a skid through the oil line or get a little fast with your release. http://www.trackbowling.com/products/balls/polyester/spare
- The Hammer Widow Spare – Hammer’s plastic offering is another polyester shell surrounding an outstandingly aggressive asymmetrical “Gas Mask” core. The plastic coverstock gives it the length and low hook and the core gives it it’s drive through the pins. The ball doesn’t skid through the dry back end but rather starts to hook through it. https://hammerbowling.com/products/widow-spare
- Lane 1 XXXL Buzzsaw – Lane 1 is practically a defunct company now and as such this ball won’t be found new on any shelf anytime soon. If you do see a used version of it somewhere you should know it’s a high performance spare ball unlike the normal plastic ball in your bag. You may not want to throw it at 10-pins but for dried out patterns at the end of a block this plastic ball will skid over the dry mids and actually drive through the pocket unlike typical spare balls on the market.
- The Hammer True Blood – This is a plastic ball with a higher performance symmetric core for the late soft hook and drive. This ball is not currently in production however so you may only be able to find it on used racks and perhaps on eBay. https://www.bowlingball.com/products/bowling-balls/hammer/10776/true-blood.html
- The Hammer Taboo Spare Ball – Another discontinued plastic ball with an asymmetric core. The core is the high mass bias gas mask core making it very similar to the the newer Widow Spare mentioned above.
As I find information of alternatives to these high performance plastic balls I’ll information to this list and to this post.