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Bowling ball and pin

Bowling ball and pin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The way the finger holes are arranged on the ball surface changes the core dynamics; this will change how the bowling ball hooks down the lane.

There are three different basic types of bowling grips for bowling balls: conventional, semi-finger tip and finger tip; all other grips of any name (i.e., Sarge-Easter grip, etc.) are derivatives. In a conventional grip, the bowler’s ring and middle fingers are placed into the ball up to the second joint, while in a finger tip grip the ring and middle finger holes are made to accept the bowler’s fingers only up to the first joint. Beginner bowlers will start with the conventional grip, as it allows for the bowler the maximum grip on the bowling ball without feeling like he’s going to drop the ball. Chris Warren was one of the few professionals that used the conventional grip.

Semi-finger tip has the bowler placing his fingers between the first and second joints. This grip is of choice for bowlers who want a clean release of the fingers, but also want maximum control. It also generates less hook, as strokers preferred this type of grip. Bowlers in the past, such as Dick Weber, used this grip. Brian Voss was one of several more modern-day professionals who used the semi-finger tip grip.

A finger tip grip requires more strength, but allows the bowler to release the ball with more lift, and a cleaner release, giving him more control in how the ball rotates after it is released. Most professional bowlers that throw a hook ball use this grip. Don Genalo, a former professional bowler, used the finger tip grip, but would also place his pointer and little fingers very close together with the other two, allowing his hand to stay behind the ball, while allowing his unusually long fingers to maximize the lift upon delivery.

For the players with extremely high rates of revolution (“rev rates”) and skill level, a Sarge-Easter grip may be an option. This is when the middle finger is drilled to finger tip depth, while the ring is drilled to the conventional depth. It allows players with high revs to change their axis tilt and allow more forward roll as to keep the ball from over hooking. This is done to help achieve the forward roll without having to change or adapt ones game for this ball roll.

USBC regulations also allow for up to five holes to be drilled on a bowling ball—with the idea that a bowler can use all five digits to grip the ball. Some bowlers use only the middle and ring fingers, while leaving out the thumb, such as in the case of Jason Belmonte who uses the two-handed method. To cut down the hook for spares, some bowlers eliminate the ring finger, and grip the ball with just the middle finger and thumb, causing the release to have less lift; professional bowlers Gary Dickinson and Walter Ray Williams, Jr. perfected this technique.

Grips and finger holes – The Lapera Technology