Learn the Best surface strategies in bowling

Changing Surface: Understanding Grit Levels and Surface Alteration in Bowling Balls

By Dylan Byars

5 min read

Bowling is a game of precision, where the smallest adjustments can make a significant difference in performance. One such adjustment that holds high importance is changing the surface of a bowling ball. By manipulating the grit level, bowlers can fine-tune the ball's reaction on the lane, adapting it to various oil patterns and lane conditions. In this guide, we'll explore the specifics of grit levels and how mastering surface alteration can become a key strategy in a bowlers toolbox.

Understanding Grit Levels

Grit level refers to the roughness or smoothness of the abrasive material used to alter the coverstock surface of a bowling ball. Typically measured in units called "grits," lower numbers indicate rougher abrasives, while higher numbers signify smoother abrasives. Each grit level offers distinct characteristics and affects the ball's performance differently on the lane.

Low Grit (80-360): Rough abrasives in this range are highly aggressive and remove a significant amount of coverstock material (relative to the other grits). Low grit surfaces create a rough texture on the ball, resulting in increased friction with the lane surface. This aggressive surface is suitable for heavy oil conditions, providing maximum traction and hook potential. The effect on the ball results in an early hook motion, allowing bowlers to achieve a strong read in the mid-lane and a smooth backend reaction. These grit surfaces are recommended only for extremely oily lane conditions. Bowlers with a lower revolution rate are more likely to benefit from using these grits.


Medium Grit (500-1000): Medium grit abrasives offer a balanced surface texture, providing moderate traction without being overly aggressive. Bowling balls with medium grit surfaces offer versatility, performing well on a wide range of lane conditions. They provide a predictable hook motion and are suitable for medium to medium-heavy oil patterns.


High Grit (1500-4000+): Fine abrasives in this range produce a smooth surface texture on the bowling ball, reducing friction with the lane surface. High grit surfaces offer extended length (skid) a nd keeps more energy for backend reaction. They are ideal for dry to lightly-oiled lanes, where minimizing hook potential and achieving a skid-flip reaction is desirable.


Mastering Surface Alteration: A Key Strategy

Learning to alter the surface of a bowling ball is akin to adding new tools to a player's toolbox. It enables bowlers to adapt quickly to changing lane conditions, giving them a competitive edge on the lanes.

*DISCLAIMER* It's important to change the ball's surface before you start scoring in a league or tournament. Learning this skill means knowing how to get your balls ready with the right surfaces for the conditions you'll face.

Here's how surface alteration becomes a key strategy:

Lane Adjustment: As lane conditions evolve throughout a game or tournament, bowlers must adjust their equipment to maintain optimal performance. Altering the surface of a bowling ball allows bowlers to fine-tune their arsenal, ensuring the right ball reaction for the prevailing conditions.

Customization: Every bowler has a unique playing style and preference. Surface alteration offers a customizable approach to tailor the ball's reaction to suit individual preferences. Whether it's increasing hook potential for a power player or reducing hook for a straighter shooter, surface alteration allows bowlers to optimize their equipment for maximum efficiency.

Strategic Advantage: In competitive bowling, having the ability to manipulate the ball's surface gives players a strategic advantage. It allows them to adapt quickly to changing lane conditions and maintaining consistency in performance.

Fine-Tuning: Surface alteration is not just about adjusting to lane conditions; it's also about fine-tuning the ball's reaction to achieve specific outcomes. Whether it's controlling the breakpoint, adjusting the length, or fine-tuning the backend motion, mastering surface alteration enables bowlers to refine their shot-making skills with precision.

In conclusion, understanding grit levels and mastering surface alteration is essential for any serious bowler looking to elevate their game. By harnessing the power of surface manipulation, bowlers can adapt to any lane condition, customize their equipment to suit their playing style, and gain a competitive edge on the lanes. With surface alteration as a key strategy in their toolbox, bowlers can unlock new levels of precision and consistency in their performance.

To change to surface of your bowling ball, use Abralon pads.