The technical requirements for Sport Bowling have been released and are available in the Sport Bowling manual on Sportbowling.com. As many people have noticed, there are no equipment restrictions at this time. The reason for this is based on lab and field testing. Sport Bowling patterns and requirements were tested across North America in three phases over the last two years. Specifically, equipment restrictions were tested in phase III in some select leagues. A few variations were looked into, but the main theme was to restrict particle balls for part of the season, then allow any ball for the remainder of the season. The data from these leagues displayed two key details. First, averages were only slightly affected when particle balls were restricted. As many averages went up as down and the overall average difference was negligible. Second, oil depletion differences were minimal. Actually, when particle balls were used in the restricted test leagues, we had less overall oil depletion (see graph). This information backed up the data we were obtaining in our lab testing. The lab testing, which utilized Harry (our precision ball thrower) and CATS, showed that particle balls do not deplete oil noticeably more than reactive resin or urethane balls. Overall, this information debunked the thought that particle balls deplete the oil more rapidly than other types of bowling balls. The difference in particle balls comes into play when you review the way they “see” the oil depletion (additional data and testing is being performed to review this theory). One additional piece of information, that was reported earlier, is that the Coefficient Of Friction (COF) specification was lowered for all bowling balls. This change affects all levels of competition, but one of the contributing factors was Sport Bowling. Much of the Sport Bowling research fed into the decision and we wanted to make sure that the bowling balls of the future do not harm the future of Sport Bowling.
“Oil depletion in Sport test leagues have shown that when particle balls were not allowed there was actually more overall oil depletion than when any ball was available to use.”