PBA Announces Ban on All Urethane Bowling Balls for National Tour Made Before August 1, 2022

Breaking News: We’re receiving word that urethane bowling balls made before Aug. 1, 2022 are going to be banned on the Professional Bowlers Tour.

Developing Story: The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) announced recently that all urethane bowling balls manufactured prior to August 1, 2022 are banned from use in the PBA National Tour.

Urethane bowling balls have been a popular choice of professionals over the past decade due to their ability to control hook and slide. However, some of these urethane bowling balls have tested for hardness below 72D. As such, professional bowlers competing in the PBA National Tour must now use urethane bowling balls only if they’re manufactured after August 1, 2022.

This decision was met with mixed reactions by those in the professional bowling community. While some applauded the move, others criticized it as a restriction on equipment options that could level-the-playing field across all competitions. Regardless, the PBA has decided that this ruling will take effect for the 2023 season and will be strictly enforced throughout their organization going forward.

The PBA will maintain the right to spot check any bowling balls for compliance with any specifications, at any time.

Again, no “traditional urethane” balls manufactured prior to August 1, 2022 will be permitted in PBA National Tour competition.

This rule is currently for PBA National Tour competition only.

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We will be sure to update this story as we receive more information. Be sure to check back for additional details.

If this holds true, what are your thoughts? Should urethane bowling balls be banned? Drop us a comment below!

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45 thoughts on “PBA Announces Ban on All Urethane Bowling Balls for National Tour Made Before August 1, 2022

  1. Kevin says:

    Nope. I use an old Ultimate Weapon urethane ball from the 90’s and if the USBC tries to tell me i can’t use it. I’m done with them. I already have had about enough of their changes and not giving out awards anymore.

    • Daryl says:

      USBC only allows you to use a urethane ball up to 2 years old. If someone complain in your league you will no longer be able to use your ball

      • Clifton says:

        I think is sucks to be a so calk pro and u can adjust your game when the ball is there for you to use also and when a ball is illegally its illegally no in between

    • Mark says:

      You do realize that the PBA and the USBC are not the same. Why disparage the USBC when this article clearly states that the PBA is banning the balls. So annoying

      • Tracy Wood says:

        typically what the PGA does USBC eventually does and furthermore they suck. They take a lot of money and give the bowlers nothing nothing nothing

        • Just 1 900 series says:

          At 62, I have been bowling for 56 years since 5 years old. There was a day when the BPAA noticed all league bowlers, then the ABC, & USBC,, all the same people gave all league bowlers their 2 middle fingers around 1980, & the house owners did nothing more but FOLLOW THE MONEY. From paying a $3.50 JR ABC membership to a USBC $23.00 & we can not at least get any type of a 25 to a 50% discount on all bowling needs from balls, shoes & alike, ” based on how long you have bowled in sanctioned leagues for decades ? So when there is NO type of awards for the loyalty of a sport you love to do, BUT you can shell out your money to THEM, then the love for bowling is starting to decrease by the week, especially when for 55 + years, you always had to pay for bowling for the weeks for 1 reason or another YOU HAD TO PAY when you could not be there, then something has to change, as all house owners always say,, WHO PAYS for those 3 games ? Uhhh Why not the USBC & BPAA for a few times, who both HAVE YOUR BACK, before the league bowlers are accountable, since we the bowlers get NOTHING back from the USBC & BPAA but THEY get over 90% of all their money from the bowlers. For 1 main reason to a few others, the PBA was just a dream, so I never really ever did my best, even as I did a few times bowled with some of the best who are now in the PBA HOF, knowing I should & would had been there as well for it not that I did not compete against those best bowlers for 20 + years, wasting what I had while giving money to the ABC & USBC & bowling centers for what in league bowling ? GREED is all & everything that the USBC is about. Oh but they support college & high school bowling. Sure they do. & For all of them right ? Every one is like Wichita State Univ / WSU. Don’t think so.

    • Scott says:

      The Ultimate Weapon isn’t urethane, it’s reactive. It was my first high performance reactive resin ball. Got it for my 18th birthday. And still have it.

    • Noel says:

      Yep and I will keep doing it. If you can’t play because I “mess up the lane” then maybe you should retire. This is clearly to much mentally for you to battle thru.

    • Joe Hoenig says:

      Sure, that’s one way to look at it. Then again, some people use it to control resin’s sometimes over/under back end reaction. It’s no more or less of a toll than abralon pads, different cores and covers, and different slide soles or heels on your shoes.

  2. Rodney Hankins says:

    i have to agreed with you Kevin. I been bowling in the USBC since 2009. I hope USBC don’t do the same thing like the PBA. I used the Hammer Black Window urethane only and if I can used it when I go to the USBC Open than I will not go to it anymore. I will just ball in my local leagues. That’s way I don’t want to ball in the PBA all of these changes takes the fun out of the sport of Bowling.

  3. Ron Gartner says:

    I’m still using a old fab red pearl hammer had to plug and redrill when they took the weight hole out I’ll quit before I stop using this ball
    Best they ever made

  4. Max says:

    Rubbish. I thought this was the Professional Bowlers Tour, not the Professional Whiners Tour. These are the best of the best, and should be able to manipulate and overcome any condition out there despite the ball type. Think about this: this same kind of complaining took place when urethane took over plastic/rubber, and then it happened again with the introduction to resin, again with particle, again with asymmetrical weight blocks, again with weight holes, again with 2-handers (a.k.a., the Belmonte movement), and now it seems like things are coming back full circle. Last time I checked, bowling requires a ball to be thrown toward the pins to maybe get a strike. I tried just setting the ball on the lane to see if it would strike by itself. It’s still sitting there.

    @Kevin — I don’t think USBC is behind this ban…not yet anyway. But you’re right, if they hop on this banning bandwagon, they should expect to see a SHARP decline in membership because the members are sick and tired of being forced into such changes when it seems all we get is charged more to see less.

    • Russ says:

      Well said Max!! I haven’t watched the PBA in a year or two. It’s something I used to look forward to watching and even hoped to bowl an event or two (last bowled a PBA regional 20 years ago). But it’s just not worth it, in my opinion. These rules seem ridiculous. There are dozens and dozens of articles about your ball choice being a “tool”. So, use the best tool for you. I don’t care if it’s plastic, old rubber, urethane or something sanded with 80 grit. I think it’s completely foolish (and sure not good for the lane) when these guys are lofting the gutter cap. Sadly, I just can’t get into the PBA anymore.

      Now onto the USBC. It will be suicide for them if they file suit and ban urethane. I see people in my leagues throwing urethane all of the time. I personally throw urethane 90% of the time. It’s simple, I’m older and have slow ball speed and a lot of side tilt. My best “tool” to carry and enjoy this game (for now) is to use urethane. If the USBC bans it, I’ll be done for good. Personally, I’ll support all of the people throwing balls from 20-30 years ago. Why be forced to buy “new” stuff if your “old” stuff works and you like it? We pay them (USBC and the centers) to bowl. Not the other way around. If they try to tell me, they’re banning something they once approved (whether 30 years ago or 30 days ago) they can kiss my a$$ goodbye. 🙂

  5. Don Birkentall says:

    Ball serial numbers indicate the year of manufacture but not aware of the actual day or month when made. Wonder how we can find that?

  6. CarefreeBowler says:

    This can’t be about some unfair advantage that urethane has since there’s always a reactive ball which will out hook it and can give any shape the bowler wants, so maybe it’s about not having to replace a $200 oil soaked reactive balls every couple of years

  7. James Bennett says:

    In short, this applies or puts burdens on almost no-one. They are only pushing the little guys down, meaning those trying to break onto the tour. Most of the touring pro’s have ball sponsors and don’t pay for there equipment anyway. It hits the youth and up and coming independently funded folks and limits their arsenals. Shame that a professional organization has to result to this kind of petty stuff. As I read this, it doesn’t apply to the PBA regional tours, PBA Jr regionals, or any PBA or USBC league events

    • Mark Reck says:

      It only effects the National tour. If an up and comer or youth bowler can afford to do the tour I am sure they can get a cpl newer urethane balls. The old rule made you buy a new urethane ball every 2 years. This is a much better compromise than the USBC rule was. As Chris Barnes stated after 30 shots/frames some urethane balls could lose up to 5 hardness points. As urethane gets older they get softer this rule is trying to limit the amount of “soft” urethane balls being used by the Pros. It has no effect as of now on any PBA50 or regional events. Unless you only have urethane as your arsenal I can’t see it will effect that much on your wallet.

    • Ray says:

      One thing that makes me wonder is why does the PBA ban this type of ball from the national tour and not the regional? If they think its worth banning, you would think they would do it for all of their sanctioned PBA tournaments.

  8. Timothy Adcock says:

    As long as they stay with the pba and not league bowlers, I’m fine with that.
    Most PBA players get new equipment at tournaments anyways.
    I have my hammer, it’s one year old

  9. Earlean says:

    Since I’m not a PBA bowler this doesn’t apply to me. Plus those guys are professionals who should know how to adjust with any ball on any lane condition. However I do think urethane balls should be banned from league play, because of the lack of knowledge some players have when rolling with them. They can mess a house shot up something awful. Then complain after they’ve changed the shot and don’t know how to adjust.😂

  10. Ward Novak says:

    Well, banning of urethane takes tools away from those that can select the right tool. Let’s also prohibit use of two hands. Leave it to the little tykes that can’t handle a 8 pounder. If you can’t rev it up with one hand, hit the gym!

  11. Ron Fox Jr. says:

    Lol….this is truly comical…the ball manufacturers should know the specifications and hardness of equipment to be used in sanction competition and on tour. If the balls don’t meet these specifications, why are they being produced? Secondly, just because some of us can’t learn to throw urethane correctly, doesn’t mean it should be banned. Non urethane users have to adjust, just like urethane users. You don’t hear anyone crying when resin balls are ripping out the heads and blowing the backends open. For those that can’t play straighter, use hand position , control ball speed and ball motion, I get it….you need resin and all the help the lanes can give you. For the guys that have more than just a bag full of balls and can manipulate a ball to do what we need to, why should we have to change equipment that was made for us to use? Different strokes for different folks….bowling is just about done….it’s more of a circus than a sport. Which is truly tragic……where did the days go where you practiced to get better? Now, you can buy your game in a box ,and on any given night in league…you have the illusion you’re as good as the guys on tour….

    • Max says:

      Preach to the choir, brother! 😀

      That’s why I love going to, and watching, these niche tournaments such as a 1-ball-only tournament (not literally one ball, but you can only use one ball for the duration of the tournament), a plastic ball tournament, and so forth. It stinks because it only attracts a limited amount of entries, but it certainly tells the story of who is confident in their game as opposed to those who are only confident of their arsenal of 50+ bowling balls….only to turn around and sell over half of them within a couple of months, lol.

  12. DES says:

    The last study of the Purple Hammer showed that it broke the hardness rule for bowling balls after 10 shots, hardened back up after use to just below where it started, and would eventually end up too soft after repeated use, not hardening up again. The balls are, and have been illegal since their inception. I am not sure if older, or other manufactures’ true urethane or mixes of such like the Purple Hammer also become illegal, as I have not seen a study on those. Purple should have never been aloud on tour, as it tries to game the hardness rule. This move by the PBA is likely the fairest going forward. Gives the pros, the manufactures, and sponsors time to adjust to the new rule, while not punishing the “cheaters” too harshly for using what I’m sure their ball sponsors knew was questionable equipment under even the old rules. I back the PBA’s decision here fully.

    • Max says:

      My guess would be the type of weight block the Purple has as opposed to older urethane weight blocks. The purple (as well as other high-end urethanes out there now) has this symmetrical weight block that makes it ‘rev’ harder than traditional urethanes that used the old pancake weight block, which might explain the cover softening up. I’m no physicist, but if something that has a traditionally porous shell is creating a lot of friction, you’d think the source creating that friction would eventually ‘soften’ thanks to the ‘heat’ it’s generating.

      Case in point, you’d think older urethanes sporting a pancake block would be granted clemency, but the best way to come to that conclusion is to institute a hardness measurement on both types after repeated use. The PBA is using a blanket ban on *all* urethanes made before August 1, 2022, which is just silly, IMHO. Do they really think someone who comes in with a 1980 AMF Black Angle is going to have an unfair advantage over someone using a top-of-the-line asymmetric bomb that’ll chew up a pattern in about 10 shots? I think not.

  13. Kathleen says:

    As PBA is not USBC I will be waiting to see what USBC has to say on how this will affect league and tournaments that are sanctioned by USBC. They have already followed the PBA with other balls in the past, Purple Hammer and some Storm products. Most league bowlers can not afford to just have to go buy new balls if the rules change. I will stop bowling in any USBC sanctioned leagues or tournaments.

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