My Opinion on the Weight Hole Rules

By Michael Cousins

I know I have already gone over this a few times, but I am still having customers come in asking me about it with regularity. So, in this blog, I want to once again go over the weight hole rule for 2020, and explain how it — more than likely — will have little-to-no effect on you, whatsoever.

Obviously, as you all know, and as I just said, starting in 2020, USBC is getting rid of any hole that isn’t used for gripping purposes, which, of course, means no more weight holes. Now, in addition to this new rule, they have expanded the limitations regarding static weights. As of 2020, static weights must be within 3oz, rather than the current 1oz.

What this does is allows for many — virtually any, within reason — layouts without the need of a weight hole, as it is VERY difficult to drill a bowling ball with more than 3oz of side weight or finger/thumb.

And while there are certainly instances and players that this will effect, for the most part, the majority of the league bowlers will be unaffected. Which is good news.

There are two primary reasons that your bowling balls have weight holes. 1) for static weights. And 2) to alter differential. Given that static weights are all but irrelevant — this has pretty much been universally agreed upon for years and years now — this won’t hurt anyone. At all.

As for altering differential with weight holes, that is now out of the question. This will effect some of you, obviously. But, in time, I think that it will be a non-issue.

In many ways, this rule isn’t even about weight holes, per say. It is really a differential thing, to me. The rules currently allow for a maximum RG Differential of .060. And while every bowling ball currently on the market meets these guidelines out of the box, with a hole, these numbers can be increased to exceed the legal limit.

Now, that will change; without weight holes, the differential guidelines are much more concrete.

The biggest issue I am hearing from bowlers isn’t about the lack of core manipulation, though (obviously). Their biggest gripe is about their current equipment. Equipment that already has weight holes in it.

It seems many bowlers are under the assumption that, since the ball had a weight hole in it to legalize the ball in the first place, if the hole is plugged, it will no longer be legal. And this could very well be true — under current guidelines. But, remember, in 2020, the static weight rule is changing, as well. USBC is doing this to accommodate the lack of weight holes.

So, after the rule change in 2020, by simply plugging your weight holes, all of your balls should meet specifications without issues — “should.”

I also understand the frustrations about having to plug a brand new ball. I do. I get it. But, is it really the end of the world? Hardly. Plug is very effective and very durable. Color can be easily manipulated to match your bowling balls, and, in most cases, it will not drastically alter you ball’s overall motion.

I can tell you that I am personally already beginning to experiment with different layouts in practice, seeing what does and doesn’t work for me. I haven’t done enough research yet to comment on results, but that will definitely be coming in a future blog post.

But, in my opinion, just as I ended my last blog on this topic, it will remain business as usual.

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