Exploring Bowling Ball Redrilling: Costs, Advantages, and Maintenance Tips

Ever wondered if you can give your old bowling ball a new lease on life? You’re not alone. Plenty of bowlers are curious about the possibility of redrilling a bowling ball. It’s a topic that’s sparked many a debate in bowling alleys across the country.

Redrilling a bowling ball isn’t just about making new holes. It’s about understanding the complex dynamics of the ball, how it interacts with the lanes, and how it can be reshaped to suit your unique bowling style.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of bowling ball redrilling, debunking myths and providing you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a bowling newbie, you’re sure to find this discussion enlightening.

Key Takeaways

  • Redrilling a bowling ball involves more than just making new holes; it’s a complex process that requires understanding of the ball dynamics and can significantly influence its performance.
  • Bowling ball drilling is linked to the ball’s balance, symmetrical axes, players’ bowling style, and the ball’s material composition. Different drilling techniques can also impact the ball’s performance.
  • Redrilling a bowling ball can change its weight and balance, thereby affecting its hook and flare potential. While it can sometimes improve performance, it can also disrupt the ball’s balance.
  • Redrilling necessities can emerge from changes in grip style, alteration in ball’s performance, changes in hand size, or correction of initial drilling mistakes.
  • You can redrill a bowling ball multiple times, but with each redrill, the ball’s core integrity reduces. Therefore, it is generally recommended to redrill a bowling ball only once or twice.
  • The costs for redrilling a bowling ball include material costs (plugging compounds, drill bits), labor costs, and additional expenses for custom grips and surface refinishing, ranging from around $150 to over $300.
  • The decision to either redrill an old ball or buy a new one largely depends on individual requirements, including, costs considerations, performance expectations, and comfort level with the existing ball.
  • Maintaining a bowling ball through regular cleaning, avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures, attention to surface maintenance, rotating the oil line and controlling humidity ensures long-lasting performance and durability.

Understanding Bowling Ball Drilling

To begin comprehending bowling ball drilling, consider that it’s more than making holes in a ball. Indeed, it’s about how the ball spins, how it interacts with the lane, and how it can be adapted to fit unique bowling styles.

In the broader sense, bowling ball drilling relates to the bowling ball’s balance and symmetry. A bowling ball has three axes: the X-axis (the length of the ball), the Y-axis (the width), and the Z-axis (the height). For optimal performance, these axes must be balanced. Unbalance might result in a ball that veers off its course or loses speed prematurely.

Drilling a bowling ball also caters to your style of play. For straight shooters, the ball’s driller positions the holes to promote a straight path, while for spin or hook bowlers, the drilling pattern encourages the ball to spin and hook.

Furthermore, the size of the holes plays a part. Diligence in drilling, with precision on size-dependent finger and thumb holes, certainly enhances your grip, leading to better control and accuracy.

Different drilling techniques also impact ball performance. The conventional drilling, for instance, positions the holes parallel to each other, facilitating a secure three-finger grip. Semi fingertip and fingertip styles have the finger holes drilled at an angle, increasing the ball’s rotation on release.

Historically, Vector Layout System provided comprehensive instructions to the ball drillers. This system detailed the preparation procedures, including suitable angles and distances to achieve the required drilling results on a particular bowling ball type.

Revisiting old methodologies, like Dual Angle Layout System, could furnish additional insights. This system predominantly focuses on the bowling ball’s coring aspect and identifies the appropriate drilling angles for the ball.

Beyond the immediate aspects, the material composition, which varies by manufacturing brand and ball type, often influences the drilling process.

Remember, understanding bowling ball drilling isn’t just a practical matter. It’s integral to developing versatile bowling skills and to making the most out of every bowling session.

Can You Redrill a Bowling Ball?

Yes, you certainly can redrill a bowling ball. In fact, in some situations, redrilling a bowling ball becomes crucial. But it’s not a simple task that just involves making new holes. It’s a complex process that requires precision and expertise.

The decision to redrill often stems from various reasons. It might be a change in your grip style, necessitating a different hole pattern. Altering the ball’s performance is another reason, for instance, if you want the ball to hook more. You might also need to redrill if your hand size changes over time or if you need to correct initial drilling mistakes.

Redrilling a bowling ball isn’t merely an act of plugging old holes and drilling new ones. A hindrance it faces lies in the ball’s core design. Considering the ball retains its original drilled core when plugged, a new drilling can potentially destroy the balance of the ball. Therefore, redrilling requires a skilled professional.

At times, redrilling does alter the performance of the ball, though not always in a negative way. Since redrilling adjusts the ball’s weight and balance, it can shift the ball’s hook potential, flare potential, and RG values (radius of gyration). To put it in perspective, an increased differential RG causes the ball to hook more. This alteration might provide unexpected advantages, depending on your bowling style.

There are limitations to how many times a bowling ball can be redrilled. With each subsequent drilling and plugging, the ball’s integrity reduces. Over time, repeated drilling weakens the core, leading to the risk of the ball cracking. Hence, professionals generally recommend redrilling a bowling ball only once or twice.

If you’ve decided to redrill your bowling ball, consider seeking help from a professional ball driller. They’ve got experience dealing with different ball materials and varying weight distributions; they’re knowledgeable in maintaining ball balance while correcting grip or improving performance. After all, if redrilling is necessary, it’s worth doing right.

How to Redrill a Bowling Ball

Professional drillers follow a step-by-step process in redrilling a bowling ball. Errors can hamper the performance potential of the ball, so, precision plays a crucial role in the process. Let’s delve into the sequence of steps.

  1. Plugging the Existing Holes – The initial task involves filling the pre-existing holes. Specialized bowling ball plug material, which hardens and matches the ball’s hardness, is used for this purpose. In over 24 hours, the plug solidifies, paving the way for the redrilling process.
  2. Marking the New Layout – Importantly, the new layout markings guide the redrilling process. An understanding of your bowling style, desired ball reaction, and grip style will factor in these layout decisions. To avoid structural damage to the ball, these markings should stray away from the previous hole areas.
  3. Drilling the New Holes – Drilling machinery, set to specific measurements, creates new holes based on the marked layout. Primarily, there are three holes for your fingers. Thumb hole receives attention first, followed by the other two finger holes.
  4. Final Adjustments and Finishing – After the main drilling job, it’s time to ensure the grip is perfect for your hand and style. Attention to minor details, like finger hole depths and distances between holes, gets vital. Finishing also includes polishing and cleaning the ball so it’s ready to go!

One of the pivotal factors when redrilling your bowling ball relates to the limitation in the number of times it can undergo the process. Multiple redrillings can lead to core damage, resulting in irreparable loss of performance. Thus, for a well-executed redrilling job, seeking the help of professional drillers proves quintessential.

Costs Related to Redrilling a Bowling Ball

Delving deeper into the topic of redrilling, there exist some monetary aspects to consider before you proceed. Generally, redrilling a bowling ball attracts certain charges related to the materials used, labor involved, and the expertise required for precision.

Starting with material costs, plugging compounds are key. Professional ball drillers use these to fill and mend the existing holes. Depending on the quality, such compounds range from $20 to $60 per small quantity. However, it’s worth noting that the quantity required depends on the size of the holes being plugged.

Besides the compounds, the process involves redrilling with specialized drill bits. These bits differ in terms of quality, resulting in a price range from $30 to $75. Coupled with the size of the holes and the make of the bowling ball, the number of bits required can vary.

Moving to labor costs, expertise is key. Drilling professionals often charge based on the complexity of the task, making redrilling an endeavor that can cost between $50 and $100.

Further, additional services such as custom grips, finger inserts, and surface refinishing come at extra costs. Grip and insert adjustments generally fall into the price bracket of $10 to $30, while ball surface refinishing can add another $20 to $40 to your bill.

Lastly, one needs to consider the cost of a perfect fit. Some professionals charge extra for custom fitting, ensuring an optimal grip for enhanced performance. Custom fitting could, therefore, add another $20 to $50 to your overall cost.

So, in totality, redrilling a bowling ball can accrue costs from somewhere around $150 to over $300, conditional to your specific needs and preferences. France ProShop, for instance, charges €170, approximately $190, for redrilling which includes plugging, drilling, and a custom grip. Conversely, prices at certain popular bowling chains, such as Brunswick or AMF, can escalate to $250 or more for similar services.

Always remember, a focussed investment in your bowling ball can significantly contribute to bettering your game. Consult with professional retailers and service providers to make an informed decision. In doing so, you’ll be able to balance desired performance enhancements with these considerations of cost.

Comparison: Redrilling vs. Buying a New Bowling Ball

Comparing the cost and benefits of redrilling a bowling ball with buying a new one creates a better understanding of your options. As already discussed, redrilling can range from $150 to $300 approximately. The price considers factors like plugging materials, specialized drill bits, labor, and additional services like custom grips and surface refinishing.

On the other hand, purchasing a new bowling ball might cost anywhere between $50 and $250, depending on the brand, ball composition, and the weight class. Higher-end bowling balls, made of reactive resin or particle coverstocks, often cost upwards of $200, usually excluding drilling costs.

The primary advantage of redrilling presents itself in retaining the familiar feel and performance of an existing bowling ball with minor modifications to optimize your throw. It provides an opportunity to tailor the ball to your evolving play style, a particular lane condition, or drill it according to an upgraded technique.

Purchasing a new bowling ball, conversely, offers benefits such as exploring different types of balls like urethane, reactive resin, or particle balls. Trying out various coverstocks enables you to adapt to different lane conditions and experimenting with weights and drilling patterns. When playing regularly on varied lanes, owning multiple balls becomes a strategic advantage.

Thus, the decision between redrilling and buying a new bowling ball depends on your individual requirement, whether it’s for adjusting to changed hand specifications, experiential learning through experimenting with diverse balls, or simply maintaining a comfortable setup at a reasonable cost.

Tips for Maintaining a Bowling Ball

Maintaining a bowling ball can be quite an endeavor, but embracing the right methods ensures long-lasting performance and durability. Here are some expert tips:

Clean the Ball Regularly: Dirt, oil, and grime often stick onto the ball’s surface, affecting its performance. Therefore, clean it after every game. Use a specialized bowling ball cleaner for better results, it’s specifically designed to eliminate oil and grime without damaging the surface material.

Refrain from Exposing to Extreme Conditions: Exposure to high temperatures can deform your bowling ball. On the other hand, extremely cold temperatures can lead to the ball’s contraction. Always store your bowling ball in a room-temperature environment, preferably in a bowling bag, for optimum protection.

Pay Attention to the Surface Maintenance: A bowling ball’s reaction on the lane dramatically depends on the condition of the surface. Micro scuffs and scratches are pretty standard due to friction with the lane. However, you can swirl out these imperfections through resurfacing, which means removing a thin layer from the surface. Professional stores specializing in bowling accessories usually offer resurfacing services, which remove approximately 5-thousandths of an inch of the surface.

Rotate Oil Line: This method requires turning the oil line of the ball to the track of the bowler’s shot. Doing this amplifies the performance of the shot, but it needs an experienced eye for precision. Machine-based services are also available in the market for accurate rotations.

Control Humidity: High moisture levels can deteriorate your ball, resulting in slower shots and reduced impact on pins. Always aim for a relative humidity level of about 40-50% where you’re storing the ball.

In brief, maintain your bowling ball with meticulous cleaning, smart storing, surface upkeep, rotation adjustments, and controlling humidity. By following these essential tips, you’ll certainly uphold the top-notch features of your bowling ball for many outstanding games to come. So, whether you’re considering redrilling an old bowling ball or investing in a new one, sustaining its quality will always be a crucial factor for optimal performance.


So, you’ve taken a deep dive into the world of bowling ball drilling, understanding its impact on performance and balance. You’ve also explored the pros and cons of redrilling versus buying a new one. It’s clear that both options have their benefits, and the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and budget. You’re now equipped with expert tips to maintain your bowling ball, whether it’s an old one that’s been redrilled or a brand new one. Remember, regular cleaning, proper storage, resurfacing, rotating the oil line, and humidity control are key to preserving your ball’s performance and durability. Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to make an informed decision and take your bowling game to the next level.

What is the impact of bowling ball drilling?

The drilling of a bowling ball influences the ball’s balance, symmetry, and overall performance. Different drilling techniques can modify these factors, making the ball more suitable for various playing styles.

Which historical systems are significant in bowling ball drilling?

The Vector Layout System and the Dual Angle Layout System are two historical systems significant in the field of bowling ball drilling. Both have been extensively used to improve bowling ball performance.

Is it better to redrill a bowling ball or buy a new one?

The answer depends on individual needs and circumstances. Redrilling is usually cheaper, but a new ball might offer better performance. Factors to consider include the cost, your bowling style, and the condition of your current ball.

What are some tips for maintaining a bowling ball?

Regular cleaning, proper storage to prevent extreme conditions, surface maintenance through resurfacing, rotating the oil line, and controlling humidity levels are crucial practices for maintaining a bowling ball. These tips help in optimizing both performance and durability.

How does weather affect a bowling ball?

Extreme weather conditions can harm a bowling ball. Too much humidity can cause it to absorb moisture, affecting its performance. On the other hand, very cold temperatures can lead to cracking. Therefore, proper storage is essential.