Hook bowling may get all of the headlines when it comes to the best bowlers on the world’s professional bowling tours, but there is still room in the game for those who can mix pinpoint accuracy and speed to maximize the damage of a good straight bowling shot. This article is here as a reference for those looking to turn their straight bowling shot into a thing of beauty equal to the best of hooks, while also highlights the best bowling ball for straight bowlers.
There are obvious differences between what a hook bowler and a straight bowler are looking for out of their shots, but the one unifying factor is that everyone is looking to maximize their scores with the best equipment and pro tips out there. Straight bowlers can, in fact, do that just as well as hook bowlers, as long as they’re aware of the differences between the two and what they’re up against doing so.
The Difference Between Hook & Straight Bowling
One of the key differences between hook and straight bowling is simply the difference between games upon games of practice to perfect a hook shot and the pick-up-and-play, let-it-rip right away nature of straight bowling.
Perfecting a hook shot requires an investment of both time and money to find a high-performance bowling ball tailored to your particular hook style. It’s nearly impossible to hook a house bowling ball with efficacy and desired pin carry. The right hook requires the right equipment – a bowling ball drilled to your particular fingers.
It also requires a ton of patience and repetitions, getting your release and spin just right to find the desired back-end snap into the pocket which leads to big pin carry.
The advantages of a straight shot are that as long as you have an effective pendulum-motion shot, a good eye, and enough power to rocket the ball strongly down the lanes, you can pretty much throw any ball which has the right weight and fits your fingers just enough!
That’s not saying that you shouldn’t find a bowling ball of your own built to maximize your straight bowling game, but the fact remains that it’s easier to learn and maintain a solid straight shot than it is to tailor and tweak a hook shot to maximum effect.
The problem is that a hook shot, when done correctly, allows you much more control over where the ball strikes the pin pocket gand gives you much more control over pin trajectory than straight bowling.
Sometimes, a straight shot can be as true and in the pocket as possible, but a single pin will remain up because of the roulette nature of straight shot pin carry. A hook shot cuts into this variance, allowing you to snap a ball into the pins in a way that maximizes pin violence and trajectory on strike shot after strike shot.
This doesn’t mean you can’t be an effective straight bowler who gets pin carry and violence to work in your favor. It just means you’ll likely have to invest in the right straight ball, moving away from the pick-up-and-play joy of starting out as a straight bowler to find the right tool for the job.
Bowling Ball Buying Guide for Straight Bowlers
The search for the best bowling ball for straight bowlers is much different than the search for the best bowling ball for hook bowlers. In fact, it’s a much easier search which requires you to consider fewer overall factors than a hook bowler who’s looking to maximize their particular shot.
In short, you’re looking for the heaviest ball you can comfortably throw with maximum speed and maximum straight-line efficiency. If you can physically throw a 16-pound bowling ball but your overall shot speed drops after several frames because of the repeated strain, consider dropping a pound or two in weight to ensure you get the right lane carry and overall speed on each shot of each game you play.
Also, look for a bowling ball with a symmetrical core and a harder, less porous cover stock. A symmetrical core is meant to keep a bowling ball on whatever line you choose to throw it, sacrificing snap and hook sharpness for keeping a line and keeping it effectively.
As for your straight bowling ball cover stock, you can still use an aggressive cover stock especially if you’re bowling in heavy oil conditions. However, you’re really looking for something which eschews oil absorption and reacts less to lane conditions – something which cuts hard through oil and does its own thing in accordance with the speed and firepower of your particular shot.
Thus, most straight bowlers stick to a high-end polyester cover stock or a high-performance pearl hybrid cover stock which is less porous and much more durable than some of its polyurethane counterparts. A stiff pearl cover stock will slide down the lane with ease and save its energy until it hits the pins – just what you need to get the most out of your straight bowling shot.
6 Of The Best Bowling Balls For Straight Bowlers
The Viz-A-Ball comes in many different iterations and looks, but the fact remains that its flash belies a really quality straight-line polyester bowling ball that will give you maximum bang for your straight-line bowling buck.
- Provides an accurate straight-line lane carry through any lane oil conditions and oil patterns.
- A unique look which simply looks really, really pretty both in the ball return and rolling down the lane.
- Easy to pick up and throw, easy to balance your shot and find your pinpoint mark.
- Doesn’t come pre-drilled.
- Other images (than the globe) in the Viz-A-Ball series can look pixelated, choppy.
The Sabotage Hybrid Reactive cover stock gives you the potential to hook the ball if you decide to down the line, but it’s got a fantastic straight-line power to it and doesn’t sop up oil in such a way that you’ll get unwanted late-lane reaction.
- Cuts through medium oil patterns with ease, less reactivity when thrown with a straight, pendulum shot.
- Easy to control your line.
- Has hook potential in case you want to try out a hook but don’t want to invest in another bowling ball.
- Reactive cover stock still absorbs some oil, isn’t built for straight-line shooting like a polyester cover stock. Will need cleaning regularly, deep cleaning sometimes.
- Doesn’t come pre-drilled.
Storm is one of the unsung best bowling ball manufacturers out there, and they perfected their high-quality polyester cover stock technology with this particular ball. It’s traditional 3-piece core is perfectly calibrated for straight-line shooters.
- Built to eschew friction in favor of cutting hard through any oil pattern, keeping its line no matter what the lane conditions.
- It’s got a beautiful, durable finish which makes it easy to polish and keep looking new.
- The 3-piece core displaces weight to maximize straight-line speed and give you a sneaky, back-end pin reaction.
- It’s pretty expensive in comparison to other polyester cover stock bowling balls.
- Has very little innate hook potential if you ever want to vary your shot.
The Hammer Black Widow is one of the most unique low-rev bowling balls on the market, utilizing an asymmetric gas mask core which actually functions more like a symmetrical core to keep your shot on a straight line. One of the best balls for keeping lane length and maximizing its potential.
- You can get some incredible speed and sneaky back-end pin violence out of a straight shot on light oil lanes.
- Durable polyester cover stock which resists wear, oil absorption, dirt buildup.
- Provides one of the most even lane rolls of any bowling ball we’ve ever tested.
- Comes undrilled, so you’ll have to take it to a pro shop as soon as you order it off of Amazon.
- Can be a bit spendy for a beginning straight bowler.
The Brunswick Tzone Deep Space bowling ball is a cost-effective, polyester powerhouse which is built to be an effective straight bowling strike ball while keeping your budget happy. Brunswick is known for its quality and customer satisfaction ratings, and this ball is no different.
- Extremely durable polyester cover stock which rewards your minimum investment with maximum playing life.
- Easy to pick up and play with for straight bowlers of all ages, and to customize its appearance and weight.
- One of the most trusted and well-review straight bowling balls in the online marketplace.
- Almost no innate hook potential, so you’ll have to invest again if you ever want to throw a hook shot.
- Struggles to maintain its efficacy and pin violence in heavy oil conditions.
Roto-Grip has made some secret bowling ball gems over the years, and this is one of them. It’s 3500-Grit polished finish gives it a factory freshness no matter how much you use it, and its durable plastic cover stock ensures you’ll be able to maximize the ball’s shelf life no matter how much you play.
- Comes with a one-year factory warranty, ensuring you get the top quality you paid for.
- Effective straight-line shot option no matter what your bowling alley’s lane conditions are.
- 3-piece core is calibrated for maximizing straight-line speed and sneaky pin action when you hit the pocket just right.
- Doesn’t come pre-drilled.
- Unable to customize its overall appearance like other options on this list. Comes in one color (red).
Your search for the best bowling ball for straight bowlers will leave you with plenty of options, especially considering the six quality bowling balls listed above. Straight bowling has its advantages and disadvantages compared to hook bowling, but at least there are a wealth of bowling balls out there built to maximize a straight shooter’s game and minimize potential problems with strike shot consistency.
You can be both a straight bowler and one of the top bowlers in your league. You just have to find the right bowling ball to get the job done. And with this article (hopefully) bookmarked, you have the knowledge in hand to do just that.