Plugging balance holes

Posted by: BowlerBill

Plugging balance holes - 12/24/19 03:56 PM

It's been a long time since I posted here. I have several balls that were drilled with balance holes. I still like some of these balls and continue to use them even though some are 5 years old.

Due to the age, I don't want to spend 40 dollars to plug them and find the plug changed how the ball works.

Can I use 2 part epoxy to fill the balance hole myself instead of paying the pro shop to do it? Has anyone done this?

What about a cork filler with epoxy on top (epoxy 1 inch thick)?

Posted by: Mkirchie

Re: Plugging balance holes - 12/25/19 08:09 AM

Take this information at your own discretion as it depends on who you bowl against and if you bowl in tournaments where you equipment might be inspected with scrutiny. This is rule 8.4.b from the rule book.

"No foreign material may be placed on the outer surface or in the balance hole of the ball including but not limited to powder, rosin, marker or paint."

Cork or epoxy would be foreign and someone could call you out on it. Although I believe the rule refers to existing balance holes, I feel that the USBC would probably apply it to a plugged balance hole too. I am pretty sure the approved fillers are a 2 part product, however I might also be concerned about how the chemicals in epoxies not meant for bowling balls might affect the ball.

Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 12/25/19 09:08 AM

When I had my balance holes filled, it was only $15 per hole. For the price of 2 holes, you can buy your own filler materials and do the rest for free, plus your labor. I would avoid fillers that dry quickly. Paper cups, dams and stirring sticks are extra.
Posted by: Greenman

Re: Plugging balance holes - 12/28/19 06:51 PM

I used a 2 stage epoxy to plug my own balls, which saved money, considering I had the same leverage layout on all my balls. The product is made by east coast resin, called crystal clear. I bought it last year in anticipation of the rule change. I also bought some modeling clay to use as dams.

Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 12/30/19 11:57 AM

For someone who has never plugged a ball the best option is to let your PSO do it. Mine charges $15 also and at least it will be done correctly. I still need to have mine done and will probably wait until it is closer to August 1 before Ihave it done.
Posted by: Fin09

Re: Plugging balance holes - 12/31/19 12:42 PM

Let a PSO do it right. Do you have the router and bit needed to cut the plug? Spend the money, support your local PSO, and be sure it's legal. Yes, the reaction will change a little, but not as much as you might think it will.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 12/31/19 02:41 PM

Where I bowl, we have a 40' THS. After filling all my balance holes, I couldn't get anything to finish and when I did get to the pocket, I left a lot of weak 10's.

I'd say, averages are off 5-10 pins a game across the board. I was surprised by the reaction(s) I'm getting without balance holes. It's like all my equipment breaks about the same, whereas before I had 3 different reactions in a 4 ball arsenal.

What I see is more washouts and too much angle into the pocket for most people to carry. I can throw between 325 and 400 RPM's and my ball still deflects because nothing wants to roll soon enough.

I'm just about ready to buy some new equipment because my old equipment with the balance holes plugged just don't finish strong enough.
Posted by: BowlerBill

Re: Plugging balance holes - 01/06/20 04:54 PM

I want to thank everyone for their comments. I have a lot of experience using epoxy resins (I used to own boats and I built a lot of stuff using west systems epoxy) I don't have the correct router bit, which I'm sure will be expensive.

I think I'll get my local pso to fill a ball or two and see if I lose ball reaction. I hope don't.
Posted by: djp1080

Re: Plugging balance holes - 01/06/20 10:55 PM

My guess is that your balls may break a little farther down the lane. That's what I observed...
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Plugging balance holes - 01/22/20 11:38 AM

I have had 2 plugged, but I had the layout changed on each. Yes, I got more length, but, it was controllable. I redrilled both anyhow.

BTW, I had a session with Mo Panel. He witnesses my high rev rate at my slow speed. Just shook his head. Then, he advised a dual angle layout of 95 x 30 x 15.

This literally turned the internal weight on its side. And, this would not work on any two asymmetrical the internal weights would be individually different.

I had one drilled and replugged it again. This rendered a premium ball virtually useless.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 01/22/20 12:21 PM

I spent a couple of years experimenting with covers, cores, weights and dual angles. I also tried a few of Mo Pinel's recommendations for 'high-track' players.

Bottom line, the number of variables that exist between one bowler and another in speed/rev combinations due to hand position, backswing, lanes, oil patterns, etc., render most recommendations useless.

At best, some generalizations can be predicted, but if you're looking for help from a new bowling ball with a new dual angle combination, you're looking in the wrong place.

The best way to improve as a bowler is to improve technique. Second best is to improve your ability to recognize lane oil patterns and transitions. Finally, understand the 3 phases of ball reaction and learn to control the length of all 3 phases.

It doesn't matter what the name of your bowling ball is, it's core, it's surface, it's dual angles, yada yada yada. If you can't get that ball into a roll just before impact at a 4.5 degree angle near the 17 board at about 16 mph, the ball will deflect or dive and the result will be less than optimal.

All hits/carry can be explained. Deflection on impact is what everyone should attempt to control. People who can generated higher RPM's can open up the lanes more than those who can't. However, I would speculate that only 5%-10% of all bowlers exceed 400 rpms. So, learn to optimize your own game.

Ball surface and lane surface account for 90% of a ball's reaction. The rest, if optimized will account for the other 10%. If you have a ball rep willing to drill 10 new balls each time the oil pattern changes, you'll get dialed-in pretty quick. If you're an average person who can afford a couple of new balls a year, you're better off throwing balls you already own that get the job done.

The balance-hole rule is forcing us all to plug and re-drill balls we've depended on. I don't trust the incestuous relationship between USBC and ball manufacturers. I also don't trust all the talking heads, famous or not who also represent ball manufacturers.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if everyone simply boycotted ball manufactures for 1 year. Would averages drop-off suddenly? I doubt it. The only thing that would drop off is the price of the next lastest and great bowling ball name :-)
Posted by: djp1080

Re: Plugging balance holes - 01/23/20 05:21 PM

That's a darn shame Dennis.
I've paid attention to Mo's Monday videos on YouTube and found them pretty interesting. Recently he's had stuff on changing the layout for help on modifying the ball track. Unfortunately I have a lower track. So his videos on tracks was interesting to me...
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 01/26/20 09:46 AM

From what I heard the overall DIFF will decrease by up to .020 depending on where and size of the balance hole. In symmetrical balls the Mass bias will be in the thumb hole causing the ball to rev up later than before. I have a couple of Hy-roads that will need to be plugged and suspect that I will have to adjust the surface to get a desired reaction. Also when I plug mine will drill a deeper thumb to help offset some of the loss of DIFF,

Dennis not good when Mo shakes his head.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Plugging balance holes - 01/29/20 01:20 AM

Originally Posted By: BOSStull

Dennis not good when Mo shakes his head.

Mo saw my ball hooking 17 boards, mostly because of my slower speed. And, realized I couldn't get the ball downline far enough before the hook. Hence, his flat layout. It was easier to just purchase a low end Brunswick ball and rev it up. Which I have done with a plastic ball on really dry lane conditions.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 03/01/20 08:37 AM

Dennis reading your last post reminded of the Hornet I had. Lanes had to be really dry for that ball and probably would of been perfect for you. I sold it a while back after I bought the Buzz PE and figured I could always add a little polish and get the same reaction as the Hornet but I could not duplicate the reaction with the PE.

Getting closer to time. My best 2 balls of late my Storm Intense and my original Hy-Road will have to be plugged but not yet.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 03/17/20 12:34 AM

A good time to drop off my Bowling balls for plugging while I am on a coronavirus hiatus.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 03/17/20 07:22 PM

Well that is out. My pro shop is in Stars and Strikes but:

To our loyal guests,

As you are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit our entire country, and all markets we serve. Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our team members and guests, as well as to support the nationwide call for social distancing, we have made the decision to close Stars and Strikes effective Wednesday, March 18th at 5pm for 2 weeks. We will re-evaluate the nationís health situation at that time and communicate updates regarding re-opening via our website at

During the time we are closed, we will be focusing efforts on sterilization and deep cleaning of our locations. When we return to normal business operations, you can be assured that our environment will be safe and clean for your family to Getaway-n-Play!

Let us be clear: these closures are temporary, and we look forward to a time when business returns to normal and we can put our focus back on family entertainment. Thank you all for your loyal support over the past 15 years. God bless and please be safe.

Your Stars and Strikes Family
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 03/27/20 07:27 PM

Well I know the pro shops are taking a hit. As soon as they are back in business I will be getting my balls plugged and new balls I already have drilled just to give them work to help support them.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 06/27/20 08:43 PM

Got my Raging Bull Charged drilled and left my Intense and Hy-road to get the balance holes plugged. Will leave 2 more when I pick these up. The rest I have are on the shelf and not being used so There is no urgency to get them done before August 1.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 06/28/20 12:57 AM

Mine are still in my car. Never even took them in the house. I'll probably regret that. All that warming and cooling might suck the life out of them. I should probably check to see how much lane oil has sweat into my bag :-)
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 07/03/20 04:35 PM

Got my 2 from plugging back left another. Used my Intense really did not see much of a change in reaction unless an increase in 10 pins is going to be the result. I did get more than normal.
Posted by: goobee

Re: Plugging balance holes - 10/12/21 12:34 AM

I plugged one of my weight holes with twin tube epoxy from Home Depot. It self mixes, all you need to do is squeeze it into the hole and let it dry. I used a level to make sure the hole was perfectly level from different angles and filled it all the way to the top with a tad extra. After it dried, I buffed off any extra and it looks fine except for not having any color (clear). So far, no one has cared and I haven't made any attempts to not have it showing while on the ball return.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 10/16/21 03:07 PM

I had my PSO plug all my bowling balls. He did a real good job matching colors. I have not had an issue with any yet, But I like the idea of a clear plug. Make whoever questions make them look foolish when he finds out it is a clear plug. I never agreed with the USBC ruling to pug all balance holes.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 10/16/21 05:58 PM

I'm actually glad that USBC has started reining in bowling ball technology. The game is about strikes and spares. With blocked lanes and high tech balls, the game has become too much about strikes only.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 10/23/21 07:16 PM

Having no problem with reeling in technology but do with having to plug a ball from 2008 to be legal again. I have a Yeah Baby that was already grandfathered in for the Diamond particle cover but to have to fill the extra hole to make [t legal was ridiculous. It should of been a rule where all previous balls are grandfathered and only balls after the rule was implemented needed to be plugged> I have since plugged the ball and do moy see any difference in reaction. Still cost me $15 to plug.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 10/24/21 01:13 AM

I don't know what the politics of bowling are. How much clout do bowling proprietors, manufacturers and PSO's have? I suspect, but can't proved, that manufactures played a major roll in not grandfathering in old balls. I know many who won't throw a previously drilled ball. I also know that once a balance hole is drilled, the new PSA needs to be located before the ball can be accurately drilled again. I owned a Lock which was my favorite ball. After I filled and re-drilled, it became a 'My Pillow' ball.
Posted by: goobee

Re: Plugging balance holes - 10/24/21 05:20 PM

I think the problem with grandfathering weight holes is honesty. How would you know that it was drilled prior to the new rule? There are balls such as the Hy-Road that has been around prior to the new rule still being sold. And there are plenty of new discontinued balls floating around. Finally, there's the used balls market.

PSO's won't but there are quite a few people who drill their own balls. The urge to win for some people is greater than ethics.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 10/25/21 06:27 PM

Yeah but a ball from 2008?The only reason hole is there was to make legal. Now I had to plug the hole to make it legal. This new ruling only changed the performance of balls for a couple of years. Now manufactures are designing cores to simulate the use of an extra hole. So what did USBC accomplished.
Posted by: goobee

Re: Plugging balance holes - 10/29/21 04:34 PM

Yep, the ball manufacturers are unabashed about advertising the adjustment to cores to compensate for the loss of weight holes. As usual, the USBC accomplished nothing.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 07/24/22 08:49 AM

My fear of plugging balls is happening. My Guru cracked from plug around the ball. also my More Cash. Not having much luck with cracking with the radical balls. So far the rest have held up.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 07/24/22 09:02 AM

Believe it or not, all reactive balls have a moisture content when you buy them. Over time and it's different for each ball, that moisture will evaporate. Once that happens, the ball will become brittle and crack-out. Unless you buy a Terrarium bag or have some other kind of humidor, there's no way to stop this process.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 07/24/22 09:22 AM

Hello Boat. Glad to see someone else here. Yeah I read what you stated somewhere but plugging seems to speed up the process.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 07/24/22 09:48 AM

I know that the plug material is not the same as what reactive balls are made of. It would seem that just about any material might expand and contract, weakening the material around it.

I've never heard of a blank cracking out, but I've had balls that were drilled but 'not' plugged that cracked-out. Maybe, any procedure that opens the surface allows the evaporation to begin.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Plugging balance holes - 07/24/22 10:05 AM

Could be. The inner filler material is never exposed to the elements until drilled.The cracking always starts from a drilled hole.I have noticed on all the balls not only the outer surface but also part of the inner filler material is also cracked.

I always wondered if de_oiling a ball contributed to the cracking. Both balls had a solid cover and were recently de-oiled within a month or 2 of cracking.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Plugging balance holes - 07/24/22 02:28 PM

I think the expertise of the person mixing the filler material also comes into the scenario.

There's a video on Youtube that claims, the oil that is soaked up by reactive balls, barely goes past the surface. So, it's unlikely oil is a contributing factor. Also, polish and resurfacing only last about 7 frames, so I've stopped doing both.

When we buy balls we need to accept they'll only last a limited number of games and then we'll need to replace them.

I live where it can be a hundred during the day and less than 70 overnight. The expansion and contraction probably plays a major roll in the life of a ball. Even stored indoors, every reactive ball I ever owned, eventually cracked.