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At the 2018 USBC Convention, USBC released it’s Bowling Technology Study to the USBC Delegates. The video explains the purpose of the rule changes for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Rule Changes for Bowling Balls

Effective Aug 1, 2018

  • Increase in Static Weights to 3 ounces for bowling balls over 10 pounds as long as the ball does not have a balance hole.

Effective Aug 1, 2019:

  • Only a dry towel can be used to clean bowling balls during competition. Liquid cleaners of any kind will only be allowed before or after competition. The only exception will be bowling balls that get marked by the machines. A bowler will need to get permission from a league or tournament official.
  • A bowler cannot change the static weight of a ball during competition by drilling gripping holes deeper.

Effective Aug 1, 2020:

  • Elimination of Balance Holes (existing balance holes will need to be plugged). One exception is for bowling balls that are defined as house balls provided by the bowling center (see below for definition of house balls).
  • Oil Absorption Specifications. A new test was developed to determine the oil absorption rate of bowling balls. Bowlers will not need to worry about this specification since this is set at the manufacturing level.
  • Bowlers may have up to 5 gripping holes, but must be used on every delivery – Aug 1, 2020
  • No thumb bowlers must mark the center of the grip and scribe an X for the center of the palm. The palm must cover the X on every delivery.
  • House balls will be the exception to the new gripping holes rule. House balls are defined as (all must apply):
    • Being supplied by the center in which the certified competition is being held.
    • Having a polyester or basic urethane coverstock.
    • Having a differential less than 0.25 inches.
    • The ball is not drilled to fit the bowler specifically.
    • NOTE: A ball left in a bowling center by a bowler to be used as a house ball is not considered a house ball.
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