Advice for the kegler looking to buy that new bowling ball

While eating at Arby’s last Wednesday evening, I glanced across the street and a familiar face caught my attention. Ben Hoyda was taking his bowling balls out of the trunk of his car at Heritage Lanes. I noticed that he had two different bags and must have had at least three bowling balls (one bag was bigger than the other) primed for use that evening.

It stirred memories of my last three bowling balls, which happens to be the grand total of ALL the bowling balls that I have ever owned. I doubt that Ben can remember all the bowling balls he has owned over a long and stellar career. Not me. My first was a Johnny Petraglia LT 48. I replaced it with an Ammo ball and later replaced that one with a Track. Basically I had a black one, a gray one and a purple one.

Exactly what qualities each ball was good for was beyond my grasp. I got a new one when the urge hit me and was mostly interested in getting a different color. You know, kind of like buying a new car!

Just in case one of my loyal readers is interested in getting a new bowling ball, I feel it is my duty to provide information for that task. Naturally I went to the Internet for help and landed at I was shocked at all the decisions one will have to make to get a ball. Whatever happened to “I’ll take the green one”?

Indeed there was color choices, nine to be exact, assuming you don’t want a multi-colored ball. But there were so many other things to decide. For example, what core type do you want, symmetric or asymmetric? You can choose from reactive resin, hybrid reactive, urethane, plastic, pearl reactive or solid reactive for a cover stock.

The finish on the ball could be high polish, polished, matte or sanded. Balls are made for certain types of oil conditions — anywhere from heavy to dry. If that was not enough confusion for the likes of me, I saw a category that was completely new.

Bowling balls are now made with a “smell” to them. Seriously, the category listed several choices of fragrances! Check out the list: apple crisp, aromatherapy — citrus, birthday cake, blackberry, blueberry tart, boysenberry, butter pecan, candy apple, caramel pecan, cherry, cider donut, cinnamon, fruit punch, ginger verbena, grape punch, lavender vanilla, mango tea, melon mint, orange chocolate, orange clove, paradise punch, pineapple splash, red velvet cake and wildberry cheesecake.

Finally, a bowling ball choice that I think I can dispense advice on. I don’t get cores or finishes, but my nose works. If indeed you want a fragrant ball — I assume you can get a traditional non-scented bowling ball — here’s what I would tell you.

Be careful that you don’t confuse taste with fragrance. Have you ever had a cider donut? It’s actually very good, but doesn’t have a lot of fragrance. Butter pecan ice cream is yummy, but you are not likely to spend a lot of time smelling it. On the other hand, a caramel pecan roll will likely smell as good as it tastes!

My choice would be lavender vanilla. Two great scents and yes, my wife does shop at Bath and Body Works!

Now I’m not sure what your preference in bowling balls would be. If you go to the website you can get a lot of information — perhaps too much. There are pictures, if that matters. I have bought a lot of products on visual affects alone. There is a ball pictured that got my attention.

The Pyramid Path Pink/Purple/Silver is cute. If any of that other stuff matters, you can talk to Ben. He surely knows a lot about bowling balls. If nothing else, maybe you need to go see your pro shop expert!

The Rocket League is still wrapping up its season and thus not only gets top billing in this week’s honor roll — it gets the ONLY billing!

Rocket: David Jones 621, Martin Klingshirn 602, Jerry Swander 591, Jon Distel 582, Mike Distel 571, Will Rennels 568, Dean Distel 564, Samantha Wiley 513 and Randina Muhammad 468.

The Salute to the Champions column will be coming soon. For you golf fans out there, I will be switching soon. Relax and go hit the links.

Al Stephenson is the bowling columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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