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Why Are Bowling Balls Scented?

why are bowling balls scented

Whether you’re an old-time fan or a new player on the field, you might’ve encountered the scented bowling balls. These balls are typically found in the bag of bowling professionals and enthusiasts, not in your local bowling club.

Scented bowling balls became a thing in the early 2000s, and since then, some players cannot live without these products. The soothing scent, just like essential oils, helps a lot of players maintain their focus whenever they throw. And with the variety of scents available in the market right now, these scented balls are hard to miss. 

Scented bowling balls can retain their fragrance for an extended period. It can even last for years if the player is not that active. The scent is also often used as an indicator that your ball needs a little bit of resurfacing. How does the smell last long? And how does it affect your performance? Let’s find out! 

Why Are Most Storm Balls Scented? 

The effect of scented bowling balls is very similar to that of using an essential oil topically. Players who like these products find it calming and relaxing when they smell the fragrant ball before throwing. Bowling bowls usually come with scents like chocolate, grape, banana, cinnamon, cherry, plum, and even peppermint. 

Just like other products, some people aren’t a fan of scented bowling balls. Some players would often get distracted by the smell, which can backfire in their performance. This is especially true for players who have a hypersensitive sense of smell. It all boils down to the playing style and preferences of each player. 

Did you know that Storm has tons of different fragrances available for their bowling balls? This Storm bowling ball is widely popular due to its birthday cake fragrance!

The History of Scented Bowling Balls

These fragrant and colorful bowling bowls aren’t the thing before the early 2000s. Applying some kind of scent in the bowling ball is, after all, counterintuitive. With the way on how bowling works,  the smell will wear off immediately. Reapplying the scent is not a viable option since it will require reapplication every other game. 

But one day, the CEO of Storm Bowling Products, Bill Chrisman, had this crazy idea: manufacturing scented bowling balls. Christman had pitched this idea as a way to make his products more recognizable than the competitors.

He started working on this idea during the early spring of 2000. His hard work has paid off because his products became one of the most recognizable brands due to their fragrant feature. 

Are Scented Bowling Bowls Effective? 

There is no official study that links bowling ball smells and the players’ performances. Even Storm Bowling Products, the biggest manufacturer of scented bowling balls, doesn’t claim any performance improvement. After all, most people don’t consider the ball’s scent as a big part of a bowling game. 

However, a study made by Kangwon National University revealed that various fragrances could affect brain activity. Hence, certain scents can either soothe someone’s mood or make things more distracting.

The effect of the scent depends on how a person reacts to certain stimuli. This is the reason why tons of scent varieties exist in Storm Bowling’s list of products. 

How Long Can Scented Bowling Balls Last? 

It can take at least ten years before a scented bowling ball loses all its lovely smell. Considering how the balls are handled during the game, this length is pretty impressive. The scent will last longer if the ball is maintained correctly and cleaned regularly. 

Even pro players like to roll scented bowling balls down the alley. Since these balls are already scented, even the bowling bags smell nice. The pros make a lot of considerations when choosing their gears. Although the scent is not a deciding factor, it doesn’t hurt to add a bit of flair to their playtime. 

How Are Bowling Balls Scented? 

How on Earth can a bowling ball’s scent last for more than ten years? With regular usage, surely the scent will fade away quickly, right? This only works if the scent is in the outer coating of the ball. With a little bit of tinkering, the manufacturers found a way to imbue a long-lasting fragrant to this product.


The manufacturing process is an integral part of adding scent to bowling balls. Before we can understand how bowling balls are scented, we need to know how manufacturers make these giant marbles. 

The Process of Making a Scented Bowling Ball

In contrary to popular belief, bowling balls don’t have a perfectly round core. The mold used for this part has an asymmetrical shape, causing a curving movement. Manufacturers will pour a mixture of minerals and polyester resin into the mold, letting it dry until it is solid. 

Manufacturers use a second mold to get the final shape. The machine will pour a liquid polymer mixture into the mold, where it surrounds the core in the center, like a chocolate surprise.

It can take days before the second layer of the ball gets stable and hardened. In this stage, the product resembles that of the regular bowling ball, but without any polishing. 

This rough ball is ready for priming. But before that, the manufacturer adds their branding labels and designs to the primary sides. The next step is to apply the vinyl coating using the third mold. You can add the color and the pattern that you want during this step. Once successfully primed, the vinyl mixture will solidify into a nearly-finished product. 

Once coated, the ball is put into the oven to harden the exterior coating further. A shaving machine will cut any mold excess to make the ball completely spherical. For the final polishing, the manufacturer uses an automated sanding machine with continuous water flowing to immediately remove the dust. When completely polished, the driller will install the finger holes into the finished product. 

Adding The Smell 

For a scented bowling ball, you need to add another step: installing the scented rubber. Choose your desired scent and add it to a polyurethane, resin, or any rubber-material rial mixture.

In the case of Storm Bowling ball products, a 2-inch resin is the coating of choice. Manufacturers add this layer just before applying the vinyl coating and drilling the finger holes. 

Scented bowling balls only produce subtle smells due to the location of the resin coating. This is also the reason why the scent is stronger in the finger holes than the surface itself. An old scented ball can feel fresh and new with fresh resurfacing.  However, this scent revival will not last long as it used to be. 

Final Thoughts

Is a scented bowling ball really for increased concentration and focus? Or is it one of the greatest marketing schemes of all time?

Subtly pleasant: these are often the words used to describe scented bowling balls. And that’s not really a surprising thing, because these products are known to add scent on cars and even locker rooms.

The idea for this crazy marketing is to pull more customers by making the products more attractive. And it seems like this marketing stunt is effective since more people are getting interested in owning their own scented bowling balls.

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