Pro Tip Friday with Mike Moore
I’ve been working in pro shops for over 15 years. Over that time, I have had many customers who are confused about why performance bowling balls cost so much to be drilled. Drilling a performance ball can cost anywhere from $50 to almost $100, depending on whether you use interchangeable thumbs or other accessories. I thought I’d try to demystify the cost – and explain what really goes into it when it seems like just putting holes in a ball.
There’s a lot of knowledge, training, and physics behind drilling a ball to achieve a specific roll. Your PSO needs to get the right things before we drill a bowling ball, including a person’s Positive Axis Point (PAP), Axis Tilt, and Axis Rotation. That takes time, and potentially a game or two out on the lanes and evaluating other equipment. In addition to understand these variables, the PSO needs to fit the ball to your hand correctly through accurate measurement and evaluation of a person’s flexibility or physical challenges. All of that needs to happen before we even start drilling. You get what you pay for. If you want the ball drilled correctly and to match up with your needs, normally a PSO in a bowling center that has knowledge and experience in this will take care of these things as part of their service.
With the new rules changing this year around weight holes, the layout of the bowling ball becomes significantly more important than in years past. When the driller doesn’t have the axis point or axis tilt and doesn’t take the time to find things that are important, they are taking a guess on a $200 bowling ball and hoping it rolls correctly. Given the importance of accuracy in this process, relying on a bowler’s input alone without a trained PSO observing is risky.
In addition to paying for highly skilled help, the business model of pro shops has changed dramatically over the last 20 years with the growth of the internet. Nowadays, bowling balls cost so little online, and leave small room for profit. Pro shops need to ensure there is enough margin to cover their operational costs and pay highly skilled employees.