What Is the Difference Between Urethane and Reactive Bowling Balls?
Bowling balls are not all created equal. There are different types of bowling balls available, each designed to provide a specific performance on the lanes. Two popular types of bowling balls are urethane and reactive balls. While they may look similar, there are significant differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the distinctions between urethane and reactive bowling balls, along with answers to some commonly asked questions.
Urethane Bowling Balls:
Urethane bowling balls have been around for decades and were the go-to choice before reactive balls became popular. Urethane balls are known for their smooth and controllable reaction on the lanes. Here are some key characteristics of urethane bowling balls:
1. Composition: Urethane balls are made of solid urethane coverstocks. They have a lower friction coefficient compared to reactive balls.
2. Ball motion: Urethane balls provide a smooth and predictable hook motion. They tend to roll earlier and have a smoother arc to the pocket.
3. Lane conditions: Urethane balls excel on dry or medium-dry lane conditions. They are ideal for controlling the backend reaction and avoiding overreaction on drier lanes.
4. Spare shooting: Urethane balls are popular choices for spare shooting due to their predictability and ability to minimize deflection.
Reactive Bowling Balls:
Reactive bowling balls revolutionized the game when they were introduced in the 1990s. These balls are designed to generate more friction on the lane and offer increased hook potential. Here are some key characteristics of reactive bowling balls:
1. Composition: Reactive balls have a reactive resin coverstock, which provides a higher friction coefficient compared to urethane balls. This allows the ball to grip the lane surface more aggressively.
2. Ball motion: Reactive balls offer a more angular and aggressive hook motion. They tend to skid further down the lane before making a sharp move towards the pocket.
3. Lane conditions: Reactive balls perform best on medium to heavy oil lane conditions. Their increased friction helps them create more backend reaction and carry.
4. Power and hook potential: Reactive balls are known for their high hook potential. They can generate more entry angle into the pocket and increase pin carry.
Common Questions about Urethane and Reactive Bowling Balls:
1. Are urethane balls better for straight bowlers?
Yes, urethane balls are often preferred straight bowlers due to their smooth and controllable motion.
2. Do reactive balls hook more than urethane balls?
Yes, reactive balls generally have a higher hook potential compared to urethane balls.
3. Can I use urethane balls on heavy oil conditions?
Urethane balls may struggle on heavy oil conditions as they do not provide as much traction as reactive balls.
4. Are reactive balls good for spare shooting?
Reactive balls can be used for spare shooting, but their increased hook potential may make them less predictable for picking up spares.
5. Can I use both urethane and reactive balls in the same game?
Yes, many bowlers choose to carry both types of balls to adapt to changing lane conditions during a game.
6. Which type of ball is better for beginners?
Urethane balls are often recommended for beginners due to their controllable motion and forgiveness.
7. Are reactive balls more expensive than urethane balls?
Reactive balls generally have a higher price range compared to urethane balls.
8. Can I polish a urethane ball to make it react more like a reactive ball?
Polishing a urethane ball can slightly increase its reaction, but it will not replicate the hook potential of a reactive ball.
9. Do reactive balls require more maintenance than urethane balls?
Reactive balls require more maintenance as their coverstock can absorb oil from the lanes, affecting their performance over time.
10. Are reactive balls more suitable for tournament play?
Reactive balls are commonly used in tournament play due to their ability to handle medium to heavy oil conditions and offer enhanced hook potential.
11. Can I use a reactive ball on dry lanes?
Using a reactive ball on dry lanes may cause it to overreact and lose control, leading to inconsistent shots.
12. Can urethane balls be resurfaced like reactive balls?
Yes, urethane balls can be resurfaced to restore their original performance.
13. Are reactive balls recommended for high-rev bowlers?
Reactive balls are often preferred high-rev bowlers as they can create more entry angle and pin carry.
14. Can I use reactive balls for spare shooting?
Reactive balls can be used for spare shooting, but their increased hook potential may require adjustments in targeting.
In conclusion, the main difference between urethane and reactive bowling balls lies in their coverstock composition and resulting ball motion. Urethane balls offer a smooth and controlled reaction, ideal for dry or medium-dry lane conditions and spare shooting. Reactive balls, on the other hand, provide a more aggressive hook motion, excel on medium to heavy oil conditions, and offer increased power and hook potential. Understanding these differences will help you choose the right type of bowling ball to match your playing style and lane conditions.