No gain, in pain

Dec 19th 2022

A famous slogan was no pain, no gain.  This is not true when it comes to the fit of your bowling ball. One of the biggest reasons recreational bowlers quit bowling is because of hand pain when bowling.  


During my time in the bowling industry, I have watch numerous people walk into the pro shop with various issues due to bad fit.  Some bowlers will say, “oh that is normal, my fit is good”.  I can tell you from first hand experience, that this isn’t true.


During my junior career, I would bowl 3 games on Saturday morning and have some kind of hand issue.  I decided to look for a pro shop that could help.  One after another, I would get my bowling balls plugged and re-drilled. Each time, one bowling ball would not feel that same, as the other.  One ball might feel ok, but the other wouldn’t feel the same.  I was told my span was too long, another pro shop would say my span was too short.  No pro shop would agree with what the last pro shop did.  If I got one ball that I liked, no pro shop could seem to make another ball feel the same way.  I kept trying for a comfortable fit. One day, I had shooting pain in my ring finger, and I couldn’t throw a bowling ball.  After visiting a doctor, my hand was put into a cast for 6 weeks to avoid my tendon rupturing. I decided I had to find someone that could duplicate a fit from bowling ball to bowling ball or I was going to quit the game.  

After the cast was removed, I began bowling again. At this point, I had visited around 10 pro shops in 3 states looking for someone to solve my issue. One weekend, while bowling a traveling junior tournament, I made the step-ladder finals.  My thumb was a bloody mess, and I was bleeding down into the bottom of the thumb hole.  I went to one of the pro shop directors and ask if there was anyone that could open my thumb hole so I could get through the finals.  The director said I will open your hole, but that wasn’t going to fix the problem.  I quickly explained my fit issues. He said I can fix your problem, and wrote down his address. He said come and see me on Wednesday.

That Wednesday, I went to his house, and it was the first time anyone had made two bowling balls feel the exact same.  That person was Paul Forry.  Paul was the father of Chris Forry, the founder of Buddies Pro Shop.  From that day on, I never had to go to another pro shop.  I worked for Paul, learning his ways of fitting bowling equipment, and learning tips and techniques to making sure each ball was perfect. 

After those first two bowling balls, I have not had hand issues.  I can bowl 20 games in a day without having hand pain, or blisters on my hands.  I can switch between any bowling ball and they all feel the same.

The moral of the story is if you are having pain or soreness after bowling, then you and your pro shop should be trying to figure out how to eliminate that issue.  You should not have one ball that you get out of perfect, and the rest of your arsenal is questionable.  You should also get out of the ball cleanly with any release that you use.  PBA bowlers only worry about making good shots, not whether the ball will come off their hand.