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Is a Urethane Bowling Ball Good For Dry Lanes?

Is a Urethane Bowling Ball Good For Dry Lanes

When it comes to choosing the best ball for you to bowl with you may think that you have it all figured out. You choose the material that is most appropriate for your skills level, for example, plastic is more common for beginner bowlers, urethane for intermediates and resin for experts. You also choose the correct weight. 

In fact, a urethane bowling ball is a better ball than resin for drier lanes, even for experts because it will not absorb as much oil, reducing the amount of friction that it creates and hence allowing you to maintain the speed and power from your throw. The dryness of the lane will slow down a resin ball a lot more than a urethane ball. 

This is the one thing that a lot of people neglect to consider when choosing the right bowling ball to use: the condition of the bowling lane. The ball that you should use depends both on you and the lane. This is because some materials used for bowling balls will give you a better throw on oily or more dry lanes.

What Bowling Ball Is Best For Use on Dry Lanes?

If a lane is referred to as “dry” then this means that there is less oil on the lane’s surface. This oil helps the bowling ball to slide across the surface of the lane with ease, creating very little friction. This means that for well-maintained lanes the ball that creates more friction will seem like a better choice.

However, it is very difficult to keep bowling lanes in a good and constant well-oiled state. And since most people in the country are right-handed this can result in the right-hand side of the bowling lane quickly becoming very dry due to overuse.

Even if you are left-handed chances are that the middle of the lane will still be very dry. So, you should still consider using a different type of bowling ball to allow yourself the best chance of gaining a very high score.

So, you will want to counteract this negative effect of the dry lane with the appropriate ball. You will want to maintain a decent level of friction between the lane and your ball, but not so much that it affects the ball’s speed and accuracy. So, what is the best bowling ball for use on dry bowling lanes?

The best bowling ball for dry lanes is one that has a slippery, or firm, surface. This can include ones made from a coverstock such as plastic or ones that are thoroughly polished. This will allow your bowling ball to roll down the lane whilst creating as little additional friction as possible. So, plastic is a preferable coverstock to urethane, and urethane is a preferable coverstock to resin.

Exactly which ball is best for the job will depend on exactly how dry the lane is. If the lane is only a little bit dry then you will be able to get away with using a urethane bowling ball as it creates a medium level of friction between the lane and the ball.

However, if the lane is very dry then it would be best to opt for a plastic ball as this coverstock offers the least amount of additional friction, compensating for the friction caused by the dry lane. 

What Is a Urethane Bowling Ball Good For?

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A urethane bowling ball, under normal circumstances and on a well-oiled lane, is perfect for intermediate to advanced players. Additionally, it is also a good choice to bowl with when the lane is medium-dry. When these are the conditions you will find that a urethane bowling ball offers you a really nice hook in addition to a lot more control than what you could expect from a plastic bowling ball.

If you are looking to improve your bowling game then consider going to a urethane when you upgrade from plastic, instead of jumping straight to a resin ball. This is because a urethane bowling ball will offer you less back-end violence as well as an abundance of sharpness. This will allow you to still carefully control the ball whilst learning until you are ready to handle a resin ball.

In addition to working well under dry lane conditions if you only have a very short shot then a urethane ball is also a good choice and one that is often used by professionals in such cases.

Other things that you can do to counteract a short oil shot are: use significantly more forward motion so that there is a less violent back-end reaction and pick a breakpoint not so far downlane but closer to the gutter. 

If you use these techniques along with a urethane bowling ball then you will be in with a much better chance of scoring the perfect throw.

Storm Bowling has created “Pitch Black”, a solid urethane ball that is part of their Thunder line. It’s an overall great ball for lighter and shorter oil conditions.

Does a Urethane Bowling Ball Absorb Oil?

Unlike plastic balls, urethane bowling balls will absorb oil to create friction between the ball and the lane, but only a very small amount. By using the oil on the lane they allow you a better throw. However, unlike resin bowling balls, which absorb a lot of oil to create a firm hold on the lane, urethane balls will mostly push the oil around to create this traction. 

For example, if you throw a resin ball down the lane and then follow it with a urethane ball you will notice a significant difference in their oil rings. The oil rings from the resin ball will disappear very quickly whereas they will remain for a while after you have thrown the urethane bowling ball. 

So, urethane bowling balls occupy the middle spot on the spectrum of oil absorption between plastic and resin. They are very good at creating enough hold when the lane is dry but will contribute more to your carry down than it will to creating hold.

If the lane is even the slightest bit dry then this will certainly work in your favor, but if it is very dry then consider using plastic.

Final Thoughts

Many people spend a lot of time and effort picking their perfect bowling ball. They choose the correct weight for them, the right materials and any additional design feature that they may like. However, one thing that a lot of people forget to consider before throwing their bowling ball is the condition of the lane. And this can have a serious effect on how you should play.

Depending on your skill level you will probably have a ball made from different coverstocks (plastic if you are a beginner, urethane if you are an intermediate player and resin if you are an expert). But just because these coverstocks are typically used by these types of bowlers it does not mean that they are the best bowling ball for the job.

Resin will absorb the most oil, meaning that it will create the most friction, with urethane creating less friction and plastic creating less friction again. So, with a dry lane, you want to create the appropriate amount of resistance. This means that if the lane is dry a resin ball will not offer you the best throw, instead, it would be better to opt for a urethane bowling ball.

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