THE STRIKE ZONE / Scott Bailey

October 1998

A review of some new equipment


I hope you all have had a successful start to the new season. While you were enjoying your outdoor summer activities, the bowling ball manufacturers diligently were testing and releasing several new pieces, a few of which stand out from the pack. Since these balls are relatively new, many of you are not familiar with their characteristics.

Therefore, this monthís column will be devoted to examining these products. If you have any specific questions regarding the equipment discussed below, please talk to your pro shop technician or E-mail me at xzone@erols.com.


Brunswick Zone Pro - Azure

According to the manufacturer, this ball is the next giant step in bowling technology. They call it Proactive Urethane, and, trust me, it is unlike anything you have ever used before. Imagine a ball that hooks more than most reactive urethane models, but is easier to control than the original Danger Zone.

The secret is in the high-friction coverstock developed by Bayer. This new veneer gives you incredible amounts of hook potential while eliminating the overreaction you see in many of todayís reactive urethane models.

The overall ball reaction is a fairly early roll (common in most Zone models), combined with a strong arcing reaction from the break point. This ball works extremely well when head oil is very heavy with fresh back ends or moderate carrydown. Due to the decreased sensitivity of the coverstock, this ball also performs strongly on the severe wet/dry lane conditions we often see in this area.

Typical styles that would be successful with this ball include straight players with above-average ball speed, low-track or spinner players looking for less slide, or stronger-handed bowlers looking for more control at the break point. Bowlers with above-average rotation and softer ball speeds may have trouble getting the Zone Pro down the lane unless there is very heavy head and pine oil with carrydown.

It is best to use higher Rg drilling layouts with this model. Too much track flare will cause this ball to roll too early for most bowlers.

For you Lustre King junkies out there, this ball is not for you. The Proactive veneer does not polish very well and is not made to skid 50 feet and make a left turn. However, for those of you who are tired of following a "washout" with a "greek church," this new model may be right up your alley. (Oooh, that was bad!)


Ebonite Tomahawk Series

By now, Iím sure you all have seen Eboniteís Metro bus-sized poster included in the last issue of BOWL Magazine. If you havenít, it was bright green and covered with pictures of aerial bombs, circa World War II. This insert was intended to highlight the new core technology Ebonite introduced with the Timberwolf series.

It is called BOMB technology and stands for Ballís Offset Mass Bias. This technology also has been included in Eboniteís latest release, the Tomahawk series. Consisting of the Low Torque and High Torque models, this new high performance line is Eboniteís most versatile to date.

The Low Torque model is a medium-to-dry condition ball designed to give you more control over the break point on dry or severe wet/dry lane conditions. This ball works best for straight players who choose to stay in the drier areas of the lane or crankers looking for the ultimate control reaction on the sharp wet/dry lane conditions found in our area. This is not a carrydown ball, but it is perfect for light-to-medium head oil with fresh back ends and dry outsides.

I feel this is the predominant "control" ball available today. Stick with low track flare drilling layouts that are more suited to overreactive lane conditions.

The High Torque model is the perfect complement to the Low Torque. Utilizing a more aggressive coverstock and more dynamic core, this ball takes off where the Low Torque stops. It has good length and an incredibly strong back-end reaction when the coverstock finds friction.

High-track, straighter players with softer balls speeds will love the extra pop at the back end created by the higher Rg and higher torque core design as well as the pearlized veneer. Bowlers with faster speeds may find it necessary to sand the coverstock as low as 220 grit to achieve the proper break point, especially on heavier head oil.

For the stronger player, this ball works well when the heads burn and you are forced to an inside line. On this condition, the ball provides plenty of length when the cover is polished, allowing for stronger recovery on the back end.

Be careful with high Rg drilling layouts in this model, as the excessive torque may cause too much overreaction on the back end.


Columbia TiBOSS II

For all you BOSS lovers out there, good news is here: The TiBOSS II, the latest release from the folks at Columbia, is their best ball to date.

As popular as the BOSS series has been, for many people this ball line hooked too early. The TiBOSS II puts an end to that. This is by far the best length/flip ball that Columbia has produced since the Cuda/C, and initial testing looks very favorable. In fact, several bowlers who purchased this ball already have set personal scoring records in both leagues and tournaments.

For the technical people out there, this ball features the now-famous TiCor titanium ceramic core design inside a higher Rg outer core than most previous BOSS models. This allows for a much longer slide and later break point with stronger back-end recovery.

For some bowlers, moving to an inside line with previous BOSS models did not work very well; they tended to lose their energy too early in the lane. Not so with the TiBOSS II. This ball is well-suited to many styles and seems to work best inside the track area of the lane.

As with the High Torque Tomahawk, bowlers with excessive ball speed may find it necessary to sand the coverstock to reach the proper break point. This is especially true on heavily oiled lanes.

I found this ball to be conducive with most drilling layouts. High-speed players may want to stay away from high Rg drilling layouts unless using very aggressive surface textures.

Unfortunately, due to the deadline for this article, I was unable to test Stormís newest release, the El Niño. I hope to have a complete review of this ball ready for next monthís article. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact your local International Bowling Pro Shop & Instructors Association (IBPSIA) pro shop technician. They are the best source for any information you require.


Scott Bailey operates The Strike Zone Professional Bowling Store in Vienna.