The Cost of Drilling a Bowling Ball

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to drill a bowling ball? Well, look no further! In this article, we will explore the various factors that contribute to the cost of drilling a bowling ball. From the type of drilling technique to the complexity of the design, we will delve into all the details to give you a clear understanding of what you can expect to pay when it comes to customizing your bowling ball. So, get ready to dive into the world of bowling ball drilling and discover the fascinating price points associated with this popular sport.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Drilling a Bowling Ball

The Cost of Drilling a Bowling Ball

Bowling Ball Material

The type of material your bowling ball is made of is one of the primary factors influencing the cost of drilling. Different materials require different drilling techniques and tools, which can affect the price. Common bowling ball materials include:


Polyester bowling balls are generally the most affordable option. They are durable and ideal for beginners or recreational bowlers.


Urethane bowling balls offer more versatility and control than polyester balls. They are suitable for intermediate and advanced bowlers and tend to be slightly more expensive.

Reactive Resin

Reactive resin bowling balls provide enhanced hook potential and better pin carry. They are popular among competitive bowlers but come at a higher cost due to their advanced technology and performance.


Particle bowling balls, also known as “proactive” balls, have a microbead or particle additive that increases control and traction on the lane. These balls can have a higher price point due to their specialized design.


Hybrid bowling balls combine the characteristics of reactive resin and urethane balls, offering a balance between hook potential and control. Their cost may vary depending on the specific materials used.


There are numerous other bowling ball materials available, each with its own unique characteristics and pricing. Examples include plastic, rubber, and even exotic materials like ceramic or glass-filled balls.

Ball Weight

The weight of your bowling ball directly affects the drilling cost. The most common ball weights range from 8 to 16 pounds. However, heavier weights or custom weight requests may incur additional charges. It’s important to choose a weight that suits your strength and playing style to maximize your performance.

Type of Drill

The choice of drill pattern significantly impacts the ball’s motion on the lane. Different drill patterns require specific drilling techniques and tools. Here are some common types of drills you may encounter:

Conventional Drill

The conventional drill involves a simple layout, typically with a gripping hole for the thumb and finger holes. This drill is widely used by recreational bowlers and usually comes at a lower cost.

Fingertip Drill

The fingertip drill leaves the thumb hole intact while drilling finger holes with a larger span. It provides increased revs and control, typically preferred by more experienced bowlers. Fingertip drilling may cost more due to the added complexity.

Thumb Slug Drill

Bowlers who prefer a consistent feel often opt for a thumb slug drill. This involves drilling a small hole in the thumb area and inserting a removable thumb slug to ensure a precise fit. Thumb slug drilling may require additional machining, affecting the overall cost.

Custom Layout Drill

Custom layout drills tailor the ball’s drilling pattern to match a bowler’s specific requirements or playing style. These drills can vary in complexity, and the price may depend on the level of customization requested.

Balance Hole Drill

Balance hole drilling is utilized to fine-tune the ball’s motion by adjusting the weight distribution. This technique requires specific engineering and may come at an additional cost.

Weight Hole Drill

A weight hole drill involves drilling an extra hole to adjust the ball’s overall weight distribution. As with balance hole drilling, this technique may impact the final cost of the drilling service.

Interchangeable Thumb Drill

Interchangeable thumb drills allow bowlers to switch thumb inserts to adjust grip size or feel. This drill offers convenience and versatility but can contribute to a higher overall cost.

Specialty Drills

Specialty drills encompass a wide range of unique drilling techniques and patterns tailored to specific bowlers, playing styles, or lane conditions. The complexity and customization involved in specialty drilling may result in a higher cost.

Drilling Techniques

Different drilling techniques can be employed to achieve specific ball reactions and optimize performance. Here are some commonly used drilling techniques:

Basic Drilling

Basic drilling refers to the standard drilling technique, typically used for recreational bowlers or beginners. It provides a straightforward layout that suits most bowling styles.

Tactical Drilling

Tactical drilling involves strategic placement of the finger holes and thumb hole to enhance control, hook potential, or ball motion on different lane conditions. This technique requires additional precision and expertise, leading to potential cost variations.

Advanced Drilling

Advanced drilling techniques aim to maximize a bowler’s performance by customizing the ball’s layout and drilling angles. Such specialized techniques can significantly impact the overall cost of drilling.

Pin Placement

The pin placement refers to the distance between the ball’s core and the pin (the top of the ball). Altering the pin placement affects the ball’s overall motion and performance. Pin placement adjustments may involve additional drilling steps, potentially increasing the cost.

CG Location

The center of gravity (CG) location influences the ball’s track flare and reaction. Adjusting the CG location requires careful drilling techniques and may incur extra charges depending on the complexity of the adjustment.

Mass Bias Location

Similar to the CG location, manipulating the mass bias location affects the ball’s reaction and motion. Drilling techniques for mass bias adjustments can affect the overall cost due to the specialized skills and equipment involved.

Dual Angle Layout

Dual angle layout drilling involves intersecting angles and drilling holes to achieve specific ball reactions. This technique offers a high level of customization, but the added complexity may result in increased drilling costs.

PAP-to-PAP Span

PAP (Positive Axis Point) refers to the point on the ball’s surface where it rotates. Adjusting the PAP-to-PAP span influences the ball’s motion and performance. Accommodating specific PAP measurements may require additional drilling steps, affecting the final cost.

Val Angle

Val (Vertical Axis Line) angle adjustments can fine-tune the ball’s reaction to different oil patterns or lane conditions. This drilling technique involves specialized measuring and drilling procedures, potentially resulting in higher costs.

The Cost of Drilling a Bowling Ball

Drilling Services

The specific drilling services provided by a pro shop or bowling ball technician can affect the overall cost. Here are some common drilling services:

Standard Drilling

Standard drilling typically includes basic drilling techniques, hole sizing, and layout customization. This service generally comes at a standard price.

Precision Drilling

Precision drilling involves meticulous measurements and adjustments to achieve precise ball motion and performance. The added time and expertise required for precision drilling may result in higher costs.

Customized Drilling

Customized drilling services cater to individual bowler preferences and playing styles. They offer advanced drilling techniques, adjustments, and layouts personalized to suit specific needs. The level of customization desired may influence the final cost.


Over time, bowling balls can lose their original surface texture, impacting their performance. Resurfacing involves restoring the ball’s coverstock to its optimal condition. While not directly related to drilling, some pro shops may offer resurfacing services at an additional cost.

Plug and Re-drill

When a bowler wants to change the ball’s layout or thumb/finger hole sizes, plug and re-drill services are required. This process involves filling existing holes, drilling new ones, and matching the layout to the bowler’s specifications. Plug and re-drill services typically come at an extra cost due to the additional labor involved.

Grip Modification

Grip modification services can adjust the shape and size of thumb and finger holes to improve comfort and performance. These modifications often require shaping, patching, or re-drilling, which may impact the overall cost.

Ball Cleaning

While not directly related to drilling, pro shops may offer ball cleaning services to maintain optimal ball performance. Regular cleaning helps remove lane debris, extending the lifespan of the ball. Cleaning services may incur an additional cost.

Insert Replacement

Over time, thumb and finger inserts may wear out or require replacement. Pro shops can provide insert replacement services, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit. The cost of replacement inserts may vary based on the material chosen (e.g., plastic, urethane) and the number of inserts required.

Add-On Features

Additional features can be added to a bowling ball to enhance performance or customization. Here are some popular add-on features:

Thumb Slug

A thumb slug is a removable insert placed in the thumb hole for added comfort or to achieve a more precise fit. Thumb slugs can be made of various materials such as urethane or metal, and their cost may vary accordingly.

Finger Inserts

Similar to thumb slugs, finger inserts provide a customizable fit for the finger holes. These inserts can enhance grip and comfort, and their cost depends on the material and customization options chosen.

Thumb Inserts

Thumb inserts serve a similar purpose to thumb slugs but offer a different design and fit. They can be a cost-effective alternative to thumb slugs, depending on personal preference and bowling style.

Thumb Slug with Gripping Compound

Thumb slugs or inserts with a gripping compound applied to the surface can provide better thumb release and gripping power. The addition of a gripping compound may come with an incremental cost.

Switch Grip System

A switch grip system allows bowlers to quickly swap thumb inserts without the need for tools, enhancing convenience and adaptability. Switch grip systems generally involve higher material and labor costs due to their specialized design.

Vise IT System

The Vise IT system offers a fully interchangeable thumb insert design, providing various thumb sizes and contours for different lane conditions or playing styles. The Vise IT system may incur additional costs due to its advanced technology.

Turbo Switch Grip System

The Turbo Switch Grip system, similarly to other interchangeable thumb systems, allows bowlers to adjust thumb sizes easily. The Turbo Switch Grip system offers convenience and versatility, but the associated costs may be slightly higher.

The Cost of Drilling a Bowling Ball

Geographical Location

The cost of drilling a bowling ball can vary based on the geographical location of the pro shop or bowling center. Factors such as rental fees, labor costs, and regional price variations can influence the pricing structure. Generally, metropolitan areas may have slightly higher prices compared to suburban or rural areas. Additionally, country-specific price variations may apply due to varying economic conditions or currency exchange rates.

Skill and Experience of the Driller

The skill and experience of the driller can impact the cost of drilling a bowling ball. Highly skilled and experienced drillers often charge higher rates for their services due to their expertise and reputation. However, their precision and knowledge can greatly contribute to achieving optimal ball performance.

Beginner Driller

Beginner drillers may offer lower rates to attract customers and gain experience. While their rates may be more affordable, there may be limitations in terms of customization or specialized drilling techniques.

Intermediate Driller

Intermediate drillers have gained some experience and skill in the craft. Their rates may be slightly higher than beginner drillers, reflecting their growing expertise and ability to handle a wider range of drilling requests.

Experienced Driller

Experienced drillers often have a significant amount of expertise and knowledge of drilling techniques. They can offer more precise and customized services but may charge higher rates due to their expertise and reputation.

Certified Driller

Certified drillers possess recognized qualifications and certifications in the art of drilling bowling balls. Their exceptional skills, precision, and comprehensive knowledge may command higher prices compared to other categories of drillers.

Master Driller

Master drillers are considered top-tier experts in their field. They have honed their skills and mastered the art of drilling through years of experience and continuous learning. Master drillers often charge premium rates for their exceptional craftsmanship and ability to deliver unmatched results.

Professional Driller

Professional drillers may have a combination of skill, experience, and recognition within the bowling industry. Their expertise, reputation, and demand for their services may result in higher rates compared to other drillers.

The Cost of Drilling a Bowling Ball

Special Discounts or Promotions

Pro shops or bowling centers may occasionally offer special discounts or promotions on drilling services. These discounts could be seasonal, part of package deals, or specific to certain events or occasions. Taking advantage of these opportunities can help reduce the overall cost of drilling a bowling ball.

Additional Services

In addition to drilling, pro shops and bowling centers may offer a range of extra services to support bowlers in their pursuit of peak performance. Here are some additional services that may be available:

Bowling Ball Assessment

A bowling ball assessment involves evaluating a bowler’s current equipment to determine its suitability for the bowler’s skill level and playing style. This service can help bowlers make informed decisions about equipment upgrades or modifications.

Consultation and Advice

Many pro shops offer consultation and advice services to help bowlers select the right equipment, drilling techniques, or adjustments. These services ensure that bowlers receive personalized guidance and support for their bowling needs.

Pro Shop Services

Pro shops can provide various services beyond drilling, including ball fitting, measuring, ordering custom equipment, and repairing bowling balls. Pro shop services may incur additional costs depending on the specific service requested.

Fitting Analysis

Fitting analysis involves assessing a bowler’s hand size, span, and gripping style to ensure an optimal and comfortable fit for the bowling ball. This service contributes to enhanced ball control and performance.

Ball Maintenance Education

Pro shops may offer education and guidance on proper ball maintenance techniques to keep the equipment in top condition. Learning how to clean and maintain a bowling ball can extend its lifespan and performance.

Performance Improvement Strategies

Specialized coaches or professionals may offer performance improvement strategies tailored to individual bowlers. These strategies may encompass technical adjustments, mental game techniques, or physical conditioning to enhance overall performance. The cost of performance improvement services may vary based on the provider and duration of the program.

Customized Ball Recommendations

Some pro shops provide personalized ball recommendations based on a bowler’s specific needs, playing style, and lane conditions. Expert advice can help bowlers select the most suitable equipment to optimize their performance.

Warranty and Repair Services

In case of unforeseen damage or defects in bowling balls, warranty and repair services can be vital. Pro shops may offer warranty coverage or repair services to address issues with the equipment. These services may have associated costs depending on the specific case and warranty terms.

In conclusion, the cost of drilling a bowling ball depends on various factors, including the material, weight, type of drill, drilling techniques, drilling services, add-on features, geographical location, skill and experience of the driller, special discounts or promotions, and additional services requested. By considering these factors and selecting the options that align with your budget and bowling goals, you can find the right balance between cost and performance. Remember to consult with experienced professionals in pro shops or bowling centers to ensure that your bowling ball is drilled to maximize your potential on the lanes.

The Cost of Drilling a Bowling Ball

Toufiq Ur

Toufiq Ur

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