Bowling is played by throwing a heavy ball into pins positioned on either side of the alley. The game is won by the one who can knock down all of the pins with the ball. “Bowling balls” refers to the player’s heavy balls. This post will study what bowling balls are made of and how they’ve changed through time.

Three holes in the typical construction of bowling balls let the player hold the ball more securely. The player tosses the ball after controlling it with his middle, ring, and thumb fingers. So, what are bowling balls made of? To answer the question accurately and thoroughly, we’ll need some background information.

Depending on the sort of pins they strike, the balls come in a variety of sizes. There are two types of balls based on mass: high mass and low mass.


It’s a sport that’s been around for a long time, with lawn bowling and pin bowling both having their particular history. There is some debate about how long bowling has been around, but a recent burial exhumation revealed a set of stone pins said to have been used for a type of bowling, dating back more than 5,000 years.

Rubber bowling was initially manufactured in 1905. Brunswick’s “mystery rubber compound” bowling ball, introduced in 1914, swept rubber balls worldwide by storm, but the Evertrue had created a name for itself.

YMCAs around the United States were sent Mineralite bowling balls so that potential customers could try out the new technological innovation. Brunswick spent a lot of money advertising its Mineralize bowling ball to make sure it was the talk of the burgeoning bowling world.

A few bowling balls have been used over time, but plastic/polyester remains the most widely used. It’s also an attractive area to start if you’re wondering what current bowling balls are constructed of.

What Are Bowling Balls made of
What Are Bowling Balls made of? 2

Different Types Of Bowling Balls

  • Ten Pin Bowling
  • Five Pin Bowling
  • Duckpin Bowling
  • Candlepin Bowling

Ten Pin Bowling

The modern bowling ball has gone through several modifications and shapes, and our prior research focused on ten-pin bowling balls as a whole.

The bulk of bowling alleys in the United States and across the globe provide ten-pin bowling, with bowling balls made of various cover stocks (plastic, urethane, reactive resin, particle) and perforated with three distinct finger holes for the thumb, middle finger, and ring finger.

The contemporary ten-pin bowling lane’s cover-stock composition material serves as a friction generator and as the basis for the lane’s various oil patterns. It protects the bowling ball’s core by acting as a buffer (more on what the center of the bowling ball does, and is, later).

Reactive resin cover stock technology is utilized to make most bowling balls used in professional ten-pin bowling. In addition to the more traditional metal bowling balls, you’ll find plastic, urethane, and particle bowling balls at most bowling alleys across the country and the world.

Five Pin Bowling

Five-pin bowling still maintains a significant presence across Canada, with lanes for the game dotting the landscape in all but the most remote regions. A rubber/synthetic hybrid is commonly used in five-pin bowling balls, with a ratio of four to one or higher. Most of these bowling balls are made without finger holes and are roughly the size of an adult hand.

To address the concerns of bowling customers who found the traditional ten-pin game excessively stressful and requiring too much physical commitment, the game of five-pin bowling was developed in Toronto in 1909.

Five-pin bowling balls have only one absolute rule: metal cannot be used in the composition of the bowling ball. This has led to using ten-pin bowling ball cover-stock and synthetic composition parts in sure current five-pin bowling balls. Rubber bowling balls, on the other hand, will always be known as this country’s specialty.

Duckpin Bowling

When it comes to weight and size, duckpin bowling balls are identical to five-pin bowling ball characteristics. A comparable rubber/synthetic hybrid material is used, and it’s generally devoid of finger holes.

For this reason, a lot of bowling balls designed for ten-pin setups end up in five-pin arrangements in North America and vice versa. However, the number of duckpin bowling alleys has decreased significantly since the sport’s peak in the early 20th century in numerous Northeastern United States states.

To be legal, duckpin and five-pin bowling balls must have a diameter of 4.75 to 5.25 inches and a weight of 3 to 12 ounces. Duckpin bowling balls, smaller than a regular ten-pin bowling ball but more significant than a softball, are about a regulation softball.

Candlepin Bowling

There’s a unique form of bowling called Candlepin Bowling, where the bowling ball is lighter than each of the alley’s ten candle-like pins! Candlepin bowling balls can be constructed of wood, rubber, plastic, or these materials and are prevalent in the Northeastern United States and the Canadian coastal provinces.

Compared to duckpin/five-pin bowling balls, candlepin bowling balls have a smaller diameter (4.5 inches) and can weigh up to 2 pounds 7 ounces less. These, on the other hand, are often devoid of any finger openings.

There are two things you’ll notice if you ever go candlepin bowling. Candlepin bowling balls are 2 pounds 8 ounces heavier than a standard bowling ball. This causes the ball to deflect violently off the pins.

Two essential parts of which bowling balls are made are coverstock and core.

Types Of Coverstock

As with a player needing maximum strength while playing, the coverstock in a ball is critical since it affects the entire game. As a result, the player must pick a ball based on the material of its cover. The ball’s coverstock is what determines how far it will roll. When the ball is thrown on an oily lane, the coverstock’s nature is to cut the oil to produce resistance, whereas, on a dry lane, it creates friction to make a perfect hook to strike all the pins.

The type of ball or coverstock causes friction between the bowling ball and the lane used when rolling down the alley. There is more hook potential if there is greater friction between the ball and the lane surface. It also depends on the type of coverstock and how much friction is generated.

Bowling balls are made of four different types of coverstock:

  • Plastic
  • Particle (Proactive)
  • Urethane
  • Reactive Resin

Plastic Coverstock

The polyester ball often referred to as a plastic ball, is the first one you’ll encounter on your bowling adventure. These are the most affordable balls, and they’re also the most suited to bowlers who use a straight arm action rather than one with a curve or spin.

They’ve been around since the 1960s, when rubber bowling balls became more popular as a material for bowling balls. Polyester bowling balls slide more and have less friction on the lane surface than their synthetic counterparts. As a result, they can travel to the pins with a more direct path. Even while the “house” balls at your local bowling alley are likely to be plastic, there is a significant difference between using those and purchasing a set of your own.

In the first place, you get a custom-made ball that’s been drilled to suit your hand perfectly. This way, you can pick a style you want rather than having to deal with alley balls that are frequently dented and worn out.

Particle (Proactive) Coverstock

Advanced players mainly utilize particle or proactive coverstock balls to enhance their performance. It has a high coefficient of friction. This is because they have a lumpy and rough surface. Despite this, proactive coverstock may be thought of as a “snow tire with chains.” It is even capable of digging into severely greased roads and fields. This is highly recommended for all intermediate and advanced players.


Plastic balls are excellent for beginners, to be sure, but there comes the point when bowlers should go on to the next level of competition. Most of the time, this is the case with urethane bowling balls, which are an excellent choice for intermediate bowlers. These balls were created in the decade after the popularity of plastic balls, and one of its primary goals was to increase the hooking ability of the ball.

A more specific example is that urethane will have higher friction on the lane surface, and this response will cause it to hook. So, beginner bowlers learning how to hook will want to have a urethane ball in their arsenal of bowling equipment. Don’t throw away the plastic ball, though, since it’s the straightest sort of ball available, and you’ll want to retain it for when you need a spare ball and want to throw a straight shot on occasion.

Reactive Resin

Bowling ball manufacturers have always strived to innovate to create a coverstock that hooks better, as we saw with the switch from polyester to urethane in the 1970s. The tale continues with the final major bowling ball category. As with urethane balls, this emerged around twenty

years after its introduction to the marketplace with an identical goal: to increase the ball’s hook, especially when there is a lot of oil on the lanes.

This is accomplished by incorporating resin particles into urethane balls, which improves the ball’s ability to hold the lane and hook more easily. It also works well on drier lanes, providing you with many striking potentials no matter what the weather is like. Competitive bowlers and pros commonly utilize reactive resin or resin balls, also known as resin balls. This last kind has several subclasses because of the wide range of particle sizes and dosages.

Reactive resin balls are now more flexible than ever before, meeting the demands of even the most seasoned bowlers.

Types Of Bowling Ball Cores

When creating a thick plastic or ceramic material, heavy elements such as bismuth graphite are added to the resin to make the bowling ball’s core. Recognize that bowling balls are more than mere cubes of varying sizes. Bowling ball cores are available in a variety of forms and sizes.

We’ll categorize them into three groups here:

  • Symmetrical cores
  • Asymmetrical cores
  • Pancake cores

Symmetrical cores

Symmetrical cores are the next design option. These are big cores with a low intermediate differential and large. Symmetrical cores emerged as a replacement for pancake cores in the development of high-performance balls. It is possible to generate more finger holes while using symmetrical cores. They also have a higher chance of becoming a good hook.

Asymmetrical cores

The intermediate differential in asymmetrical cores is significant. They can be cylinders or

semi-circles, for example. Because of this, they have a lot more friction than symmetrical cores, which are better for smooth motions. However, one disadvantage is that finger hole forms may quickly alter their balance and quality.

Pancake cores

As its name implies, a pancake appears to be made of pancakes. If not a disc or hockey puck, then something in between. Most urethane and reactive resin balls have them. They rest on a single part of the ball and serve primarily to counterbalance the lost mass during the drilling process. This is a relatively common core. This is because it is the most dependable, as gamers have shown time and time again.


So, what are bowling balls made of? However, the solution is not so cut and clear. From simple wood and rubber spheres with minimal technological relevance, bowling balls have developed into machines that have been chemically and physically tinkered with repeatedly to optimize efficiency and efficacy.

Contemporary bowling balls can do a lot more than what we see from the outside. If you really want to understand them, you have to look under the surface to see what is inside. There’s a lot more to a modern bowling ball than meets the eye.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are modern bowling balls made of?

Many different materials are used to make bowling balls in modern days, but plastic and polyester are the most popular. This is because plastic bowling balls are more pleasant to use as spares, delivering straight-line strikes. Because of their lower coefficient of friction, these balls ran into many issues in the 1970s.

Why are bowling balls so heavy?

It will have a more excellent range of movement. The weight of 15 lbs. is presently used in the design and engineering of bowling balls. They do this so that your unique strength will reduce. Suppose you go from a 14 to a 16 or vice versa. This is understandable, given the increased popularity of 15-pound balls in recent years.

Are bowling balls made of cement?

Hydraulic cement (Portland cement) must make up most of the ball’s composition (at least 60%). No ready-to-use or pre-mixed concrete is permitted.

Does speed matter in bowling?

A faster shot provides more pin action, but the shot has less time to react to the lane, which results in less hook. On the other hand, a slower shot will hook more often, but it will cost you some pin action in the process.

Can I bowl with a cracked bowling ball?

While a broken bridge is alright, as long as the ball isn’t in there, you want to steer clear of a cracked bridge altogether. The bowling alley’s rear end, as well as other players on your pair, will be inconvenienced as the cover begins to fall apart.