2020 Rule Changes on Weight Holes – MDM Coaching with Mike Moore

Pro Tip Friday with Mike Moore

Effective on August 1st, 2020, the USBC will be changing the rules on static weights and banning weight holes in bowling balls. The goal of this rule change is to limit the impact of the performance of the bowling ball. The purpose of a weight hole is to change the dynamics of the ball’s core. When you put a weight hole in today’s equipment, contrary to what many people believe, it is not to increase or decrease static weights. You can drill two bowling balls exactly the same, except adding a weight hole to one, and they will roll significantly differently down the lane. You can also increase or decrease the hook just by moving the location of the weight hole in the ball.

In my opinion, the reason why USBC is no longer allowing weight holes is to help even the playing field. While they are eliminating weight holes, they are increasing the allowable static weights from 1 oz to 3 oz. This increase will allow you to still drill the bowling ball with the center of gravity moved away from the grip to manipulate the weight block without needing to add a weight hole. However, even if you manipulate the core to shift the weight block away from the grip, you’re not removing a part of the ball and changing the core’s dynamics. So while you can change the way the ball rolls with this drilling, these rules limit your ability to change the ball from its intended purpose.

Whenever I drill a pin down bowling ball (where the top of the core is below my fingers), I add a weight hole. However, none of my pin up equipment has a weight hole. When the pin is lowered or the VAL (Vertical Axis Line) angle is increased, the flare potential decreases so it doesn’t hook very much. By adding a weight hole down by the thumb quadrant, I find that the ball flares more and rolls better. With the new rule change, I foresee that I’ll drill fewer pin down balls for my own game.

My personal take is that bowling balls today are so strong, with the dynamics of the cores and the strength of the coverstocks, that you do not need a weight hole to achieve a good ball roll. I think this rule is a step in the right direction, but I think there are other things that USBC could still address (like lane conditions). If it were completely up to me, I think a better way of going about this is not to worry about ball dynamics and instead focus on lane conditions to even the playing field. If you have equipment with a weight hole now, you will want to plan on plugging the hole at a local pro shop before throwing it again. That will make it legal for USBC.

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4 thoughts on “2020 Rule Changes on Weight Holes – MDM Coaching with Mike Moore

  1. Mike Ireton says:

    Looks like a rule that helps pro shops mainly and adds added expenses that we don’t need during this Covid infected era.

  2. Barry Warshafsky says:

    My feeling as a long time pro shop owner and former touring pro is that while the two handers have changed the game with more rev rate USBC has taken some of the opportunity away from traditional bowlers to use formerly legal science to help theirs. Also done to stop the weight hole misuse by the no thumb two handers with the triangle grip. It makes no sense to eliminate a long standing legal adjustment with something that has been long standing illegal weight restrictions. Thinking that balls will will react better with excessive imbalance is wrong. You get more lope and wobble. Vanila layouts and proper surface still works best. Just my opinion!!

  3. michael burns says:

    I agree with Barry Warshafsky, excessive imbalance does not increase scores. It still boils down to the person and the lane condition. Now if you really want to lower averages just put down the sport condition or what I call reverse block, where the only oil is outside 10 on both sides and bone dry from 10 to 10. You are better off throwing a plastic ball straight up the middle. But I do not want to bowl on a condition that tough. I’ll be 70 next month and feel like I’ve paid my dues on all types . Bowled on 60 ft of oil before even after they went to short oil in the ’80s. I won the Alabama State Seniors last October in my age group. So when I pay my hard earned money now I want to have some fun, not struggle. And trying to level the playing field is just some more socialistic thinking. There will always be 160 avg. bowlers as well as 200 avg. bowlers. It would be like telling Hank Aaron not to hit so many homeruns because you are showing up the other players.

  4. Eric Helgemo says:

    I’d like someone prove to me that by plugging a weight hole is really worth it. Other than increasing money into pro shops,or having to buy new equipment. I myself had to replace 3 balls because having the weight holes plugged. More than likely caused them to crack, all 3 cracked from the pin to the freshly plugged weight hole. Now try to convince me this is a problem, with the rule changes we should still be allowed to use these balls since they technically are within weight requirements.

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