Does Plugging a Bowling Ball Affect Performance?



  • Plugging allows bowlers to modify their grip, adjust the weight distribution of the ball, or change finger hole sizes.
  • It can have a significant impact on the performance of a bowling ball, with changes in weight and balance affecting the ball’s motion and hook potential.


Bowling enthusiasts know the importance of having a perfectly calibrated ball when hitting the lanes. Part of maintaining that performance involves plugging and re-drilling, which can alter various aspects of your bowling ball’s behavior.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of plugging and its impact on bowling ball performance – from changes in weight distribution to hook potential – so you can make better-informed decisions about your favorite piece of equipment.

Understanding Plugging In Bowling Balls

Plugging is a process in which a bowling ball’s holes are filled with specially formulated materials to restore the ball’s surface. This technique allows bowlers to modify their grip, adjust the weight distribution of the ball, or change finger hole sizes for better performance and comfort.

For instance, if you’re working on improving your release, you might need your fingers’ position to be altered slightly. Plugging makes this possible by filling in unwanted holes and redrilling them at new angles or distances from each other.

Similarly, when switching between different lane conditions like heavy oil patterns and dry lanes, some bowlers may opt for plugging their balls so they can create customized layouts suitable for these diverse environments.

Types Of Plugging

Plugging is a process of filling the holes in your bowling ball with a special material to change the weight or balance. There are two types of plugging: partial and full.

Partial plugging is when only some of the holes in the ball need to be filled, while full plugging involves filling all the holes completely before redrilling them.

Some bowlers prefer partial plugging because it allows them to keep their original drilling layout intact, while others may opt for full plugging if they want more significant changes in weight and balance.

Impact Of Plugging On Bowling Ball Performance

Plugging can significantly impact the performance of a bowling ball, with changes in weight and balance affecting the ball’s motion and hook potential; to understand more about these effects, keep reading!

Changes In Weight And Balance

Plugging and redrilling can cause changes in a bowling ball’s weight and balance, which can affect its performance. When weight is added or removed from the ball, it alters the distribution of mass within the core, changing its overall reaction on the lane.

For instance, adding weight to one side of the ball shifts its center of gravity, leading to an uneven roll and decreased accuracy.

To avoid these issues with your bowling balls’ weight and balance after plugging or drilling operations are complete always get professional advice before making any significant modifications.

Effects On Ball Motion And Hook Potential

When a bowling ball is plugged and redrilled, the changes in weight distribution can have significant effects on its motion and hook potential. The new placement of the finger holes will alter the ball’s center of gravity, which affects the way it moves down the lane.

For instance, if a bowler has their finger holes plugged too close together, they may experience less hook potential as there won’t be enough space for their fingers to create rotation on release.

To minimize these effects on ball motion and maintain maximum hook potential after plugging or redrilling a bowling ball, it’s essential that you consult with a professional before making any adjustments.

A qualified pro shop technician can help determine your optimal layout based on your individual game style and lane conditions while avoiding any damage to your equipment in the process.

Minimizing The Impact Of Plugging On Bowling Ball Performance

does plugging a bowling ball affect performance

To minimize the adverse effects of plugging on bowling ball performance, it is important to properly maintain and care for your ball, limit the number of times it is plugged, and consult a professional before making any changes.

Proper Maintenance And Care Of Bowling Ball

Maintaining your bowling ball is crucial to ensure maximum performance and longevity. After plugging and redrilling, it’s essential to keep the ball clean by wiping it with a microfiber towel after each frame.

Additionally, using a good-quality cleaner every few sessions helps keep the surface smooth and free of any small scratches or scuffs that can cause unwanted friction as it rolls down the lane.

Always store your ball in a cool dry place between games to prevent damage caused by extreme temperatures or moisture.

Limiting The Number Of Times A Ball Is Plugged

It is essential to limit the number of times a bowling ball is plugged and redrilled. Continuously plugging and redrilling can cause more damage, affect the ball’s performance, and lead to cracks or core damage.

Ideally, a bowling ball should only be plugged once or twice during its lifetime. The amount of weight that needs to be removed plays an important role in determining if plugging is necessary.

It’s important to keep in mind that while plugging may seem like a cheaper alternative than buying a new bowling ball, it has its limitations. A better decision would be to consult with professional technicians before making any decisions on plugging or redrilling your ball as this can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Consulting With A Professional Before Plugging And Re-drilling

It’s important to consult with a professional before plugging and re-drilling your bowling ball. While it may seem like a straightforward process, there are several things to consider that could impact the performance of your ball.

Additionally, they can give advice on what type of plug would work best for your specific needs and ensure that the new holes won’t interfere with the existing ones. Taking these steps can save you money in the long run by preventing costly mistakes from being made.


In conclusion, understanding the impact of plugging on bowling ball performance is essential for any bowler. Plugging and redrilling are common practices done to adjust weight and balance or fix coverstock damage.

However, it can also affect a ball’s hook potential, motion, and mass. To minimize the impact of plugging on bowling ball performance, proper maintenance and limiting the number of times a ball is plugged are critical steps.

Last updated on April 20, 2023