Since I do a lot of bowling in the Winter months, I thought I’d help out those of you who are just getting started in bowling.
While the shoes and balls at your local lanes are fine for those who have never played, I always suggest, just as in golf that you purchase equipment that fits you and you alone!
Below are a few basic items you need and what you should be looking for:
- Ball – Of course! For someone buying their first ball I suggest a hard plastic ball. Made of Polyester, these balls are the perfect training aid for the new bowler and they are also the cheapest to purchase. It is a perfect training aid because these balls are not designed to hook. They will go where you throw them, and this teaches a new bowler how to hit the board they are throwing at on the lanes. Take some time to find what weight you are most comfortable with. I suggest finding the heaviest ball you can throw for a few games as the lighter the ball, the less action you will get when your ball hits the pins. You need a ball that will drive through them, not bounce off them! If you are wanting to throw a big hook, I would hold off until you can hit your spots with one of these straight balls first, then move onto a mid range performance ball. This way you will a ball to throw your strikes with, and a ball to shoot spares with. These balls will run you from $30-$120 dollars with the higher ended plastic balls coming in some pretty cool designs, photo balls, clear balls etc.!! There will be one out there to fit your own style I guarantee it! So instead of considering to shop bowling balls from top name brands, you can actually save a lot of money by just taking into consideration some reliable yet price friendly stores.
The most important step in the ball selection process is taking it to a Pro to get drilled. You do not want to buy a ball at a retail store and have some 20 year old drill it out for you. While the standard plastic ball you start out with requires basic drilling, I would still take it to someone who does it full time for a living.
- Shoes – This is a no brainier. You can purchase a pair of bowling shoes almost anywhere for $30 and they will have paid for themselves after the first year. I have seen places charge as much as $4.50 for shoe rentals! Find something that fits and is comfortable and fits your eye.
- Bag – A single ball bag will be good to start. Find one that will fit both your ball and shoes. If you go all out at first and go with the two ball set up, I suggest you find a two ball bag that not only fits your ball and shoes, but some other accessories as well.
- Accessories – I would keep this to a minimum if you are just starting out. A towel to wipe the ball off between throws and a ball cleaning solution designed for polyester/plastic balls to use after you are finished for the day. This will keep your new ball in the best shape and stop oil and dirt from building up on it.
From here with your new personally fit ball and shoes, along with your bag, towel and ball cleaner, you are ready to go! I’ll be back with tips for purchasing your next round of bowling equipment, but I always recommend this setup first so you get a feel for the game, how to hit your marks on the lane and how to take care of your equipment.