The shift in today's competitive bowling environment

Dec 19th 2022

Since the 1992 AC Delco Classic with Marc McDowell throwing the Purple X-Calibur and winning the telecast, there was a reactive resin explosion, in the market place. Over the next 20 years, urethane sales were going into extinction.  

The first ball that started the rebirth was the remake of the Storm Natural (May 2009).  Next was Blue Urethane Hammer (April 2011).  Both balls had their niche.  Then PBA star like Jesper SvenssonJakob ButturffTom Daugherty and Marshall Kent just to name a few, began using modern urethane on a regular basis. These players began to make telecasts and winning throwing urethane equipment. Competitive amateur bowlers noticed.

Marshall Kent won 2017 Oklahoma Open telecast throwing a 3-piece Blue Flame Urethane  This ball was made during the time when Urethane was being phased out of the marketplace.

With urethane now becoming a staple in most competitive bowlers arsenal, all manufacturer have released at least one urethane ball.  Most manufacturers have release several, including two asymmetrical balls were released.

As a side note, the urethane balls of today, are not the same as the urethane balls released before 2000’s.  Current urethane balls will absorb some oil, and have more texture to the surface of the ball.  Before 2000, most urethane bowling balls would be released from the factory with a surface finish of 220, 360 or 500 grit.  Today’s urethane balls have less factory surface on them despite two to three times the overall oil amount put down on the lane surface.

For many years, bowling ball manufacturers have made hybrid reactive balls with a blend of reactive solid and pearl being used in the ball.  Maybe it is time for manufacturer to come up with a new classification for the super urethane coverstock dominating the market place in modern bowling.