0 to 6 Bowling-Ball Arsenal : Save Money with Planning

Whether you have a lot of balls or none, I think it helps to plan your future arsenal. If you were going to a tournament, and money is no object, what 6 balls would you bring with you? Now you can compare what you have to your dream, or you can buy your dream set one ball at a time without wasting money.

Top-Down Method

If you already have a lot of bowling balls, you can try the top-down method. Make a list of your balls. Divide them into 4 categories and put them into different lists. You can typically also pretty much judge them by how expensive they are: 

Ball Categories


plastic or urethane without a strong core


lightoil or transition balls, these are usually symmetric, pearl-reactive, or urethane with a strong core. 


reactive balls can be reactive-pearl, reactive-hybrid, or reactive solid, and lean toward symmetric weight blocks.


Usually premium balls. usually solid-reactive cover, also, could be a strong reactive-hybrid, or have an asymmetric core, 

Now you can mix and match your balls depending on what you are bringing that day:

0-Ball Arsenal

Save money with the incredible power of….the House Ball! It’s free and comes in a variety of weights and fingerhole sizes. Overall you’ll likely hurt your hand. 

1 Ball Arsenal

You want to travel light. You can’t take a spare-ball or heavy ball because you will have a difficult time in being flexible. The heavyoil ball could be too strong, and the spare-ball would be too weak. You should pick a lightoil or medium-oil ball.

2 Ball Arsenal

  • medium oil is the key here for flexibility, then customize your second ball
  •  bring either a medium and light ball or a medium and heavy. Or if you need to score spares, bring a spare ball
  • 2ball-spare/medium
  • 2ball-medium/light
  • 2ball-medium/heavy-

3 Ball Arsenal 

  • add in your spareball. Probably for a fun night with the bowling buddies. Have everything covered without having to lug too much gear.
  • spare ball+2ball-medium/light
  • spare ball + 2ball-medium/heavy

4 Ball Arsenal

  • now you can be covered for most situations, 2 2 ball bags or a 3 ball bag with a joey-carrier
  • spareball+lightoil+mediumoil+heavyoil

5 Ball Arsenal

  • Bring your 4ball, and a ball that is close in reaction to your favorite ball
  • 6ball 5ball+1 specialty ball, bring a ball that maybe doesn’t fit into the other categories,  or just fill in some gap in your lineup.

6 Ball Arsenal

This is the typical tournament loadout for non-professional bowlers. You can carry these in two 3-ball rollers, as well as take this whole setup with you on the plane.

Bottom-Up Method (buy as you go):

For the bottom-up method, start at 1ball, and add balls to your arsenal in the order of the lists. Try to buy balls you need compared to balls with similar reactions if you want to minimize purchasing too many balls. But of course, if you have a favorite range of balls buy those if it makes you happy. light/medium/heavy categories are also relative to your playstyle, experience, and gear. The following is the order I recommend for purchasing the different types of balls for your Arsenal.

  1. medium ball
  2. spare ball
  3. heavy ball
  4. light ball
  5. favorite ball…doesn’t necessarily fit into one of the categories above.
  6. fun/specialty ball…another ball catered more specifically to the conditions you play on.

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