A Brief History of Hook

By Kevin Bickel
Hooking the ball is just what you do if you want to bowl at a competitive level. The game has only been this way for several decades though. Let’s take a look at how it got to that point.

Ball Surface

In 1905, bowling balls transitioned from being made of a hard wood material to a hard rubber material. The rubber balls allowed bowlers to hook the ball, albeit to a lesser extent than bowlers today. Rubber balls were prominent up until the 70’s when polyester and eventually urethane balls were made. During this time, bowlers started drilling balls with a fingertip grip, allowing for more revolutions on the ball. For the last several decades, bowling ball coverstocks have been made of reactive resin designed to hook.

Weight Blocks

Weight blocks were developed around the same time reactive resin was developed. Weight blocks imbalance the ball as to dictate the overall hook potential of the ball.

Oil Patterns

Perhaps the only thing to contribute to less hook in today’s game are the oil patterns. This is where all of the challenge in bowling lies… Oil patterns are the invisible line between amateurs and professionals. They are the difference between a league 300 and a tournament 300. Oil patterns can make a ball hook from coast to coast or sail 55 feet and not cross 5 boards.

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