A. There is nothing wrong with comparing costs, but make sure to compare apples to apples. The “cheapest price” could actually be more expensive in the long run. Top line balls are expensive and a poor layout or fitting can turn a $20 or $30 savings into a $50 or $60 expense, or worse yet, the entire cost of the ball!
Here are some questions and observations you need to ask or make when purchasing a ball:
- How much time is spent measuring my hand for the proper fit?
- Is the ball layout done professionally or by guess?
- Am I getting a first quality ball or a second or just what’s left in inventory?
- Does the pin and weights match my needs?
- Is the work guaranteed if I need adjustments later, and for how long?
- Is the ball properly scaled before and after drilling to make sure it complies with USBC specifications?
- Are extra holes drilled to maximize performance when balancing is done?
- What is my positive Axis Point?
- Can the ball driller accurately duplicate thumb ovals?
- Are the finger grips and thumb slugs available at the shop the best for my game?
- What about equipment warranties?
- Does the ball driller know how to measure for the modern grip or are they stuck in the ‘70’s with over-stretched spans and outdated pitches?
- Can any 2 or more balls be drilled to fit the same? If you check the spans and pitches, are they the same?
- Is the PSA or MB properly located and determined before drilling on asymetrical balls, and after drilling on symetrical balls by use of a D’ Terminator?
At Rob Bailey’s Pro-Shop we do these things and more. The price you pay at our shop may as good or better as anywhere else, but what if it does cost a little more? It’s certainly up to you to decide on value versus cost. I would suggest that you buy a ball based on the total value of performance, price, comfort, and service, both before and after the sale. After all, why do you purchase new equipment? If it is to improve your bowling, how many pins per game are you willing to sacrifice for not having the best fit and layout?
Q. What is the most expensive ball I can buy?
A. The one that isn’t drilled right and does not work!
Q. What about purchasing a ball over the internet?
A. We are happy to drill them for you. However, be aware that many balls sold this way may not be first rate, or may not have the pins and weights you want. Do not be fooled by “Pro Pin” claims. These are balls with the pins out too far for most drillings. If you do purchase this way, be sure and pay the extra fee for insurance to protect you if a balls cracks during drilling. Remember, no two ball are made alike for pin, weight, color, size or surface imperfections. Also, in many cases, by the time you order the ball, pay for the shipping and the extra drilling insurance, your final cost after it is drilled is really no different than if you just went to the Pro-Shop to begin with!
Q. I like to get a new ball at the USBC tournament every year. Is this a good idea?
A. It’s okay if they can match your drilling specifications exactly. Most of the time, however, this is not the case. Customers have to bring them in to get replugged and redrilled later. Also, pricing at these shops is usually no different than your local shops.
Q. I like top line balls that are on special, rather than paying for the newest, latest, and greatest. Is this a good idea?
A. In most cases it’s a great idea. We, along with other shops carry many balls in this category. This allows you to have a high performance ball at 60 – 75% of the original retail price. If there’s a deal at the USBC, it’s on discontinued or soon to be discontinued equipment. Ask for our specials. They’ll change often and are available in limited quantities. This is your best way to increase your total value and get that good deal you are looking for.
Q. What if my grip on a ball that you drilled just doesn’t feel right even weeks or months after I had it drilled?
A. Bring it back and we’ll evaluate and change it if necessary at no charge to you. Most bowlers have a range of spans and grip layouts that can be correct and comfortable. Any Pro-Shop that claims they can drill the perfect grip the first time every time is not being truthful. Remember, every ball driller has their opinion about how a ball should be drilled. Sometimes we let the opinion of the customer influence our work. Many bowlers can pick up almost any ball that fits their fingers and throw it okay for awhile. We drill grips that allow you to throw well for as many games as possible at the greatest comfort. We guarantee our work!
Q. My span and grip felt great for years, but I think I need it changed. Do you remeasure for spans and grips periodically?
A. Yes. Hands change over time and new idea’s and drilling techniques can improve your fit. We recommend that these adjustments be made when needed.
Q. Do you recommend a spare ball?
A. Yes, most of the time we do. Some bowlers can throw their strike ball effectively at all spares. The advantages of a spare ball is that it hooks less and takes the lane out of play to some degree, along with saving a lot of wear and tear on your much more expensive, high end balls. Many customers use a spare ball one pound lighter than their other equipment.
Q. Will I lose carry with a lighter ball?
A. In most cases, no. We sell very few 16# balls, and now quite a few 14’s. Some of the highest scores from the area come from 14# balls, although you’d never know it unless you ask what weight of ball they are throwing.