Current Perspective on USBC Extra Hole,
Static Weight Rule Change

Nov 23, 2018                       Version 1

What I see so far with the new static weight rule and the elimination of extra holes:

Static Weights:  The new rule on static weight allowing 3 ounces of imbalance does not affect ball reaction, except with spare balls, where the addition of 3 ounces of negative weight may help the ball go straighter.  As I wrote in the May, 2009 issue of BTM, there is no difference from 1 ounce to 3 ounces of imbalance in ball motion with new modern equipment having powerful weight blocks.  This makes it much easier to do layouts on balls with asymmetrical weight blocks where the mb (psa) is positioned to the right or left significantly.  It also saves a lot of time weighing balls and reduces the need for pin-out or pin-in balls whether they have asymmetrical or symmetrical weight blocks.  It is nice to not have to drill an extra hole for static weight purposes.  This part of the rule change is good!

Extra Holes:  It saves a lot of time not having to drill extra holes, but greatly reduced the ability to fine tune balls with symmetrical weight blocks.  The D’Terminator was used to spin balls after drilling, before and after the drilling of an extra hole, and one could easily see the change ball reaction.  Most holes we drilled were under 3/4 inch.  You could change the drilling angle 15 to 20 degree’s with a 3 to 3.5 inch hole, giving most bowlers the same advantage with these symmetrical weight block balls as they would have with an asymmetrical one.  We could watch bowlers and make a decision to make a ball stronger or weaker.  With smaller holes, you cannot make a symmetrical ball stronger than an asymmetrical one from what I can see.   It is a good thing the USBC allowed us to use the 3 ounce static weight rules as long as there is no extra hole starting in August.  There was a real layout problem before that, as bowlers did not want an extra hole that they would have to pay to plug later, and we could not drill asymmetrical balls the way they needed to be done in most cases.

I will readily admit that a 1.25 inch extra hole at 3.5 inches deep certainly would make a much bigger difference.  It would have been much better if the USBC would have put a limit on extra hole size.  This could have been somewhere between 3/4 and 7/8 of an inch.  This would save most all of my customers the need to plug those holes.  The current rule at 1.25 inches was too big.  They still would have time to change this.

No-thumbers/two handers do not seem to have any reduced performance without extra holes, as their rev rate is so high it does not matter.  If they use their thumb for spares, they will have to have a dedicated ball.  It does eliminate the ability to drill a ball with three finger holes, and the mark on the griping side eliminates them throwing it from the other side of the fingers.

Spare shooting where a person would take a finger out of one of the holes (usually the big finger) is now illegal, so they might just barely tip it in the top of the hole.  I’m not sure about legality here.

Here are some notes on what I see so far:

  1. Eliminating extra holes is still not practical or wise. There should have been a limit on hole size instead. There are so many ways around this, including the drilling an extra hole deep into the weight block and using plug (which is a much lower density-especially plug that hardens in 15 minutes) to fill the hole.  Also, it leaves open the potential to filling the hole with light weight plug, or Styrofoam and plugging over top. Customers will be forced to pay to plug all of these holes eventually.
  2. This rule will not hurt the top bowlers but will hurt the middle and better bowlers, the heart of bowling. Extra holes benefit the player with 175 to 210 averages more than they do top players.
  3. The PSO’s still have the responsibility to balance balls and make sure they are legal, although most anything will pass now.  I guess the scale companies are basically out of business!
  4. Symmetrical Weight Block Balls: Extra holes are used to fine tune the ball reaction and match it to the bowler to adjust ball motion.  A hole on the axis smooths out the reaction, a high hole gets us length and makes it weaker, and a low hole (P-3) lowers the RG a little and gives more hit to some players.  Usually, less than ½ ounce of weight, and the use a smaller hole, 3 inches deep, is all that is required.
  5. Asymmetrical balls: An extra hole was usually needed just to balance static weights, which allows PSO’s to adjust layouts for a bowlers positive axis point, rev rate, axis rotation and tilt.  Elimination of extra holes in these balls really wouldn’t matter with the new static weight rule.
  6. No-thumbers (most two handers) are turning up in greater numbers and getting better. No-thumbers can hold the ball with their hand cocked to one side or the other, and/or put fingers in deeper and get totally different reactions on the same ball…on purpose!  Try doing that if your thumb is in the ball!
  7. Extra holes were not just used to INCREASE differential. Many senior bowlers, women, and kids with very slow ball speeds, need reaction controlling holes.  This adjustment could be made after the ball was drilled.  Now the customer is stuck with what he’s got, with surface adjustments being the only option.
  8. Who is going to enforce the no x- hole rule in leagues? I would not want to be a league Secretary or President.  Why would a proprietor bother to enforce such rules?  The first State Tournament with this rule could be a nightmare.  What reason do league bowlers, that are not bowling tournaments, have to maintain a USBC membership that is of no value to them?
  9. Thank you to the USBC for doing this: (My suggestion from last spring) “If the new rule actually does take effect, they should start it Aug 1, 2018, that you can have no x-hole with the 3 ounce rule, or x-hole with the old rule, with no x-hole by Aug 1, 2020.  That gives bowlers and PSO’s a lot more time to correct and plug holes, and reduces a possible lag in ball sales”.


Rob Bailey, Rob Bailey’s Pro-Shop, LLC

Sun Prairie, WI  53590


6909 Briar Lane
Sun Prairie, WI 53590


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