Ditto what Erin said.
There are a few manufacturers that offer "VIP" programs but they cost a lot of money up front. If a shop makes a lot of sales of that manufacturers balls it can be worth it, but the discounts per ball are not that great.
I think the only time a Pro Shop
would get a really good deal
from a manufacturer is if that Pro Shop
person is on their staff, but that's becoming harder to do and there are a lot of other requirements to being on staff (like regularly bowling / placing in tournaments, doing trade shows, etc).
I try to listen to my league bowlers and read the reviews online to help determine which balls are preferred over others, but I will still sell a person any ball that they want if they insist. All the manufacturers make good balls, some balls just end up being leaders in their price / performance category while others are under-performers. But very few anymore are outright duds.
And I too recommend BTM
for their reviews. BJI
has decent reviews but the one's in BTM
go deeper, having the results from a stroker, tweener, and cranker on 3 different oil patterns and they just seem more consistent and structured.