Get ready to go out and hit the lanes in search of that turkey. To bowl those elusive and exciting three strikes in a row, it's going to take the right ball, good shoes, and maybe even some bowling gloves. Other accessories (besides a clean towel) are optional, but can certainly help your game.
Buying a good ball
To find the right bowling ball, visit a pro shop or sports store. Most people who are buying a ball have bowled before and know what's right for them. Most pro shops, though, can size up a customer and make recommendations pretty quickly. Here are some general guidelines:
First, choose a ball that isn't too heavy or too light. A heavy ball will be hard on the wrist and difficult to guide, but an overly light ball is easier to throw than roll down a lane. Usually, men can handle balls between 14 and 16 pounds pretty easily, while usually women bowl with balls that are between 10 and 14 pounds. Usually, children will need a ball between 6 and 10 pounds, depending on their size and age.
The size of the holes in the bowling ball, as well as between the distances between holes, can vary considerably. Many people prefer to buy a ball and have the holes drilled to fit their hands; most quality stores will do this at no extra cost. This can be especially important for people with larger hands who need lighter balls.
People who bowl right-handed will need right-handed bowling balls. The holes for these balls are drilled with the fourth finger 1/8 inch further apart in relation to the thumb hole. Often, people who bowl left-handed prefer to buy balls and have specially drilled holes; these customized holes tend to be much more comfortable.
As a bowler's skill increases, he or she will probably change balls several times. For example, beginning bowlers need balls that aren't difficult to handle so that they can focus on learning the basics. Columbia, Ebonite, and AMF market good balls for beginners.
Once bowlers graduate to the intermediate level, they require balls that offer greater power. Some good midrange balls are made by Ebonite, Columbia, and Storm. These companies also manufacture bowling balls that offer power and high performance. Other companies preferred by professionals include Brunswick, Hammer, and Track.
Special bowling balls made for children are also popular. Children's bowling balls usually weigh much less than standard bowls and are often decorated with colorful designs or popular cartoon characters.
Bowling balls are heavy, and smooth, and without a good bowling bag, inconvenient to carry around. Most good bags have enough room to carry a ball, towel, bowling shoes, and gloves, cleaning supplies, or other items. Some bags are made for single bowling balls, while others carry multiple balls. Many popular ball manufacturers also sell quality bags. Other sources for a good bowling bag include KR, BPP, and Storm.
Some bowlers buy special bowling towels, while others throw in a used hand towel. That lucky bowling towel is good for cleaning lane oil, dirt, and other debris from the ball's surface, as well as wiping one's hands between frames.
Most people don't like walking in someone else's shoes, even for a short time. Special shoes are required for walking on the wood surfaces of a bowling alley, and beginners who don't have their own are required to rent shoes worn by countless other customers. Bowling shoes aren't expensive, so investing in a decent pair only makes sense. Buy shoes that are comfortable, and choose your own colors. Some good shoe vendors include Dexter, Brunswick, and Circle.
Other Bowling Accessories
The bare essentials for bowling are a good ball, bag, shoes, and a towel. These other accessories will help make playing more comfortable, or help keep essential equipment looking good. For example, many bowlers experience wrist strain with frequent bowling.
Wrist supports are designed to help minimize this strain, and to help bowlers maintain good hand form when releasing the ball. Ebonite and Team Cobra make quality wrist supports. Other bowlers prefer bowling gloves, which help improve both power and accuracy, as well as offering wrist supports. Get a grip with a bowling gloves made by Robby's or Columbia.
Select from a variety of cleaning and polishing products to keep a new bowling ball well-polished. Bowling balls will last for many years if properly maintained and cleaned. When not using the ball, be sure to clean it thoroughly before storage. Dirt can build up and damage the ball's surface and finger holes.
After you have everything you need, go out and hit the lanes. Practice frequently, and ask experts for advice. Your score will rise quickly, and soon you and your friends will be dreaming together about bowling a 300 game.