Five Reasons to Buy Your Own Bowling Ball

You don't have to keep searching the racks

Bowling is an inexpensive way to have fun for people of all ages and abilities. Unlike most sports, you don’t have to buy any equipment. You can show up to any bowling center, rent some shoes, grab a ball off the rack and throw a few frames.

The best part: bowling balls are not expensive. Well, they can be, but for a beginner purchasing a first ball, you can find a reactive-resin ball for somewhere between $70 and $100. Prices can go a lot higher than that, but for your first ball, you’ll have a lot of good options at a reasonable price point.

If you bowl with even moderate frequency (or, some might say if you bowl at all), you should get your own bowling ball. Here are five reasons to do so:

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Improve Your Game

Bowling Balls on Rack
Duane Osborn / Getty Images

When you get the right bowling ball for you, based on your bowling style and preferences, then have that ball drilled specifically for your hand, you will get better at bowling.

Using any old ball off the rack requires you to adapt your hand and style to fit the ball. When you have your own ball, the ball adapts to you. Thus, you have a better grip, which gives you more control over the ball. Plus, because you specifically chose the ball that’s right for your style, the ball will react the way you want it, rather than you having to force a house ball to do things it wasn’t designed to do.

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Reduce Risk of Injury

Bowling balls rest on rack in bowling alley, Oregon, Wisconsin.
David Nevala / Getty Images

For many of the same reasons your own ball will improve your game, it will also reduce your risk of injury. When your ball specifically fits your hand, and when you’re using a ball that works with your bowling style, you have more control and don’t have to force your shots.

Forcing a ball to do things, combined with forcing yourself to hold an ill-fitting ball, can create wrist, elbow, shoulder and other injuries. Having your own ball that fits your hand means you can throw the ball without forcing anything, drastically reducing your risk of injury.

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Add Convenience

A young woman picking up a bowling ball.
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A simple but worth-mentioning reason to have your own ball is convenience. You’ll never have to search the racks at the bowling alley for the ball that fits you best and you’ll never have to wonder if your favorite ball from your previous trip will be available. You know, every time, you’re going to use your ball.

In addition, nobody else is going to use your ball. It won’t fit anyone else, at least not as well as it fits you. Other people will leave your ball alone.

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Avoid Germs

An undrilled Bowling Ball
Photo by Jef Goodger

You have no way of knowing how many people have used the balls on the racks in the bowling center. By looking at any one of them, the only thing you can be sure of is every ball looks old and has likely been used many times.

People with a particular aversion to germs may avoid bowling solely because of this. When you purchase your own ball, you don’t have to worry about where it’s been or who’s used it. You know exactly where it’s been and you know you’re the only one who uses it. The likelihood of catching some form of illness or disease by using a house ball is extremely small, but the likelihood of catching the same condition from your own ball is even smaller.

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Bask in Prestige

Man about to bowl orange bowling ball
Peter Cade / Getty Images

There is some level of prestige to owning your very own bowling ball. When you go out with friends and you’re the only one who has his or her own ball, people will be in awe (that may be a slight overstatement, but the sentiment is true). If you go to a work party at a bowling alley and show up with your own equipment, you’ll be the center of attention.

For all the reasons purchasing your own ball is a good idea, you’ll get to experience a moderate amount of prestige among your friends and other bowlers.