You’ve got a new bowling ball at the pro shop, and you’re looking to get it drilled. The next thing you need to figure out is whether or not to get finger inserts installed as well. Aren’t those only for professionals?
Many pro bowlers who play with fingertip grip bowling balls use finger inserts. Those who choose finger inserts do so for the extra control over the ball they provide. This makes them a bit trickier to use properly for new bowlers, but not so for professionals.
Maybe you’re not overly familiar with finger inserts. You may be wondering what they’re made of or how they work. Perhaps you’re interested, but are unsure of the cost or how they’re installed. Can you do it yourself to save a few bucks? Read on to find out.
How Do Pros Hold a Bowling Ball?
Most of the time, professional bowlers avoid using the thumb holes and leave their thumb out. This gives them more control over how the ball spins when it leaves their hand. Pros know how these changes in spin can affect the trajectory of the ball and allow them to strike pins at angles that would be hard to achieve otherwise.
What Are Finger Inserts?
So, what are finger inserts? They are urethane (a type of plastic) tubes that are glued into the fingerholes of your ball. Finger inserts come in a variety of sizes. Sizes range from 17/32” to 29/32” for most manufacturers. The outside diameter of most are 31/32”, while larger sizes have an outside diameter of 1 1/32”.
Sizes of finger insert go up on a scale measured in tiny fractions of an inch, usually in increments of 1/64”, so you can find the exact fit you need. You can get your hand measured for the right size of insert when you get your ball drilled. You can also consult with a pro shop employee for more personalized information on proper sizing.
We recommend these bowling ball finger inserts by Vise Bowling Grips. They have overall great comfort, quality, and durability. Installation is also quite simple. Not much glue is required, just a few drops on the sides and the front is all that’s needed.
How Tight Should Finger Inserts Be?
So, you decided to get some inserts for your ball, but they don’t quite feel right. You can’t easily fit your fingers into the holes, which stop your fingers at the first knuckle. You know they’re tight but you aren’t sure if they’re supposed to be that tight.
Finger inserts should fit snugly, without causing pain, cramping, or other issues with functioning. They should improve your grip, not make it more difficult or precarious. To get the right size, you’ll want to measure as you would normally, then go up a size to account for heat, humidity, and fluctuations in finger size. They are usually available in both oval and flat-edge cuts.
A properly fitted insert is a great way to improve your fingertip grip ball. Getting the right fit is key to getting the most benefit out of yours. Definitely do your homework about the fit of different brands, as slight variations in style may be better for your bowling grip. Changing inserts regularly is a practice of some bowlers who want to maintain a snug-not-tight fit.
What Do Finger Inserts Do?
Finger inserts fit into larger holes drilled into your ball. They are made of a plastic that has a tacky surface. This texture allows for better grip on the ball, and more control as you release the ball. With finger inserts, you can get lift and turn on the ball in ways that are much more difficult with just drilled holes.
Inserts also help shield your fingers from some of the damage that can be done by holes alone. Some bowlers note that inserts cut down on skin tearing/breakdown as a result of long hours at the lanes.
How to Glue in Finger Inserts
What if your ball came with the finger inserts shipped separately, and you have to install your inserts yourself? Not to worry, gluing in finger inserts is relatively easy.
Tools you’ll need:
- Flathead screwdriver: Used to pry out old finger inserts and to aid in the installation of new ones.
- Glue: Holds inserts in place once they are properly oriented
We recommend using Turbo Zip Plus glue for your bowling ball finger inserts. It’s an industrial grade adhesive and will ensure your finger tips have exceptional adhesion to your bowling ball.
Installing your finger inserts is as simple as 1-2-3:
- Start gluing at the inside of the grip, using the screwdriver to pry back the inside edge of the insert you need to apply glue to. Pull the insert edge back a bit and drop a small amount of glue to the edge. Hold for a few seconds.
- Press the outside edge flush with the ball, then repeat the first step for the outside edge, gluing and holding for a few seconds.
- Now that both edges are flush with the ball, glue down at least the front edge (or both the front and back edges) of the insert
Repeat those three steps to get your other insert glued into place, and you’ll be ready to hit the lanes.
How Much Do Finger Inserts Cost?
There are a few different brands of finger insert you can get for your bowling ball, and each brand comes in a few varieties. While you can find some for pretty cheap prices, you may be getting what you’re paying for. Name-brand finger inserts are more expensive, but even so are still quite affordable.
Some brands of finger insert you might encounter are:
- Turbo: Turbo makes a few different models, all of which cost about $3-$5 from online sellers
- Vise: Vise finger inserts are a bit cheaper, with some sellers on eBay charging as little as $1 per insert, plus shipping. Generally, you can expect to pay about $3-$4 each.
- Ultimate Bowling: While this brand is on the cheaper side, coming in at $3.95 plus shipping for a 10-pack from Walmart,
What Do Bowlers Wear on Their Fingers?
Bowling balls can cause abrasions and other skin injuries with prolonged or strenuous use. Many bowlers use a flexible, protective tape called bowler’s tape to protect against wear and tear on their fingers. The last thing anybody wants is a bum finger right before a tournament. If you’re serious about bowling, snag up some finger tape while you’re at the shop picking out your finger inserts.
While maybe not necessary for new bowlers, finger inserts provide extra control over the bowling ball. Serious bowlers and pros that use a fingertip grip ball often install finger inserts into their balls to get better lift and rotation, and a more responsive ball.
They aren’t overly expensive either, meaning you won’t break the bank changing them out every now and then when they begin to wear down. They are easy to glue in yourself, and come in a variety of colors to match or accent your ball.