Jan 162009

bowlingball.com received a lot of email about pin placement (Also referred to as distance or length).

The pin placement is the distance between the Pin and the Center of Gravity(CG). This used to be one of the biggest factors in drilling a bowling ball. And because of USBC static imbalance rules, still plays a small part. The biggest factor in bowling ball performance is the distance of the pin from your Positive Axis Point, not from the CG.

For a demonstration of the CG’s impact on ball performance, take a look at BrunsNick’s CG’s Don’t Matter Part 1 and Part 2.

  30 Responses to “Talk Bowling #9 – Pin Placement / Distance / Length”

  1. I have a ball speed of 18.5 but low revs 225-250. Would a pro CG help me? What layout would you reccomend?

  2. Hey I just found this website today and I find it to be very informative. Can you guys do an episode that explain how to pick a drill layout for a ball? I notice that most ball have many layout option, how do you know which one to pick and the reaction that will result.


  3. Can you go over the different types of coverstock materials and when to choose which type?

  4. So if i place a pin 3-4" from my PAP would that give me more overall hook than if i were to place the pin 5-6" from my PAP? or would it make it roll up earlier?

    • Great question. Again, I think Brian or Tony are better suited to this one. But from what I have read, it depends on the core.

      A symmetric core works like this. As you move away from your PAP, you increase the instability of the core, which will create more hook. But only up to 3 3/8" (45 degrees), after this, it goes the other way.

      On an asymmetrical block, it seems that further you go, the more you hook potential. But again, this can vary widely.

      Please don't take my word for it… 🙂 I will try to get you a more competent answer soon.

      • Ok thanks…and if it helps any the ball is the virtual gravity…i had just ordered it and was wondering where to place the pin

        • Hi Jeremy,

          Generally if you want the most reaction out of the ball, meaning max length + max hook, you would put the pin 3 3/8" from your PAP. The closer you get the pin to the PAP, the earlier the ball will roll. This will create a more controlled reaction down lane.

          For more backend reaction, you're going to put the pin further from your PAP. This creates more length and gives more of a skid/snap reaction in the backend.

          Let us know how you ended up laying out your Virtual Gravity and how it works for you. Right now that is still one of the favorite balls in my bag.

          • hello, i just watched the video on the Second Dimension and that ball looks extremely smooth and very strong on the backend..i love how it finishes through the pocket too…i'm thinking about getting this ball when it comes out also..how did you guys like the ball?

  5. Well i just received my Virtual Gravity today and WOW!!! This ball is amazing, it is exactly what i wanted…i placed the pin 3 3/8" from my PAP…i love how the ball just pushes through the pins and how hard it hits..it's def. the best ball i have ever thrown :)..i have a 191 avg…today i bowled with it in league, the first time throwing this ball and started out kinda shaky because i didn't know where to set my mark and the first game i bowled a 166 and got dialed in and shot a 241 and a 236…thanks alot for your help. You guys are probably satisfying a lot of people and keep it up!

    Thanks again

  6. Hello, i just purchased a brunswick C System 4.5 ball… i have a old danger zone hpc, and a old quantum with side hole drilled…. the DANGER ZONE HPC is drilled to for more lenght, pin is located just outside my ring finger in little high, my QUANTUM is drilled to hook little sooner, pin is outside ring finger and even with fingers i believe…. DANGER ZONE i throw between 5-8 board, QUANTUM i throw around the 10-13 board. (IM A LEFTY)



    • Hey Jesse,

      One thing you can do to research a layout pattern for the C System 4.5 ball is to go to our home page at bowlingball.com, click on the "Drilling Layouts" button at the top of page, then click on the Brunswick logo in the matrix of manufacturers, and then find the 4.5 ball and click on the link and you will find every suggested layout for that bowling ball. You will find some information about rev-rate for certain drill patterns, ball speed and oil conditions which the 4.5 ball matches best with suggested drillings.

      We are at a disadvantage not being able to watch you bowl and measure your rev-rate and speed to suggest a layout pattern specifically but with a little research, you will narrow the layouts down to one or two which will give you the best chance to open up the lane with the new ball.

      Of course, other variables come into play. Oil volume on given lane conditions may steer you to play a slightly different angle than you wish to play. The length of the oil pattern will also dictate the break point on the lane you must target to get a good ball reaction to the pocket. One thing we always suggest is to consult a local certified coach or perhaps a professional bowler or pro shop operator experienced with layouts of the 45. ball and familiar with local lane conditions.

      Finally, since the 4.5 ball is constructed differently than the Quantum and the Danger Zone, then it makes good sense to check the suggested manufacturer layouts at our site which we have already recommended and experiment after you drill the ball with a surface preparation to read the mid-lane and allow the ball to recover aggressively to the pocket.

      Also, have you viewed the videos we provide for the C System series bowling balls? If not, we suggest you do so before making a final decision on a layout pattern. Watching the ball roll down our test lanes on a given oil pattern and oil distance with a known layout pattern might lead you to your final decision?

      Hope some of these ideas help? Thanks for visiting bowlingball.com.

    • Hi Jesse,

      Going along with what Mr Carrubba has already said, it is very difficult to recommend a layout for someone without watching them bowl. Judging based on the information you have provided we can assume that you are between a stroker to a light tweener. If you are looking to move inside, you will want a layout that will produce more flare potential and increase the amount of ball surface that will contact the lane. I would suggest using a fairly strong layout and putting the pin between 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 away from your PAP.

      • Mike is right. That layout would match what you are looking for, Jesse.

        Please also consider getting into the habit of learning as much as you can for yourself about layout decisions in the future. Research is the key to gaining knowledge. That is why we suggest using our online resources at bowlingball.com such as the "Drilling Layouts" feature, the "Perfect Scale" feature, our wonderful videos on the latest bowling balls, access our articles, and so on so you become better familiarized with the ball selection and layout pattern selection processes. Good luck.

  7. Hello. ive been bowling for 5yrs now and have seen my average increase every yr. was wondering as your game increases do you need to change how your have your bowling balls drilled. i was wondering if a 3-4 pin distance be good

    • Matching your drilling layouts to the lane conditions is a factor any bowler must do to achieve success regardless of your experience level. A 3-4 inch pin allows for several drilling layout options so your pro shop professional and choose a layout to best match your your delivery style and to the local lane conditions.

      Once the ball is drilled, you can alter the ball surface to either increase or decrease ball skid length and back end motion to match with the lane conditions where you bowl. Some experimentation is necessary.

  8. Hi guys , I have an interesting situation I bought a Nexus Solid on line , I brought to my ball driller who works in one of the biggest pro shops in Vegas, there are in about 5 bowling alleys here, he said he could not drill using the Brunswick layouts or any other layouts for this ball because the pin placement was 4-6 , also I guess because the size of my hand, he also said he would not carry this ball with a 4-6 pin placement in his shop he considers it a second or blem, I bought it specifically stating this was not a blem or second, does this situation sound correct, I thought I was saving a few bucks now all I have is a ball sitting in my closet, Please advise , Thanks Bob

    • Bob,

      Yes, the pro shop reported this accurately to you…it appears you have a Pro Pin ball with a longer than usual pin-out.

      There are certain drilling layouts for these balls. Click on the line below, then select Brunswick and check to see if you find any recommended drilling layouts for a ball with a 5 or 6 inch pin. You might find a layout pattern which could work, one which was recommended by the manufacturer. Hope this helps.

      The link is to Drilling Layouts feature at our site. Check it out and check out other manufacturers recommendations for Pro Pin balls and see if you can come up with a layout which might work where you bowl.

  9. Hello. I just recently ordered a Hammer Taboo Jet Black. I have a 191 average and throw a strong hook. I placed the pin 3-4" from my PAP. Is a pin of 3-4" good for a strong hook ?

    • Adam,

      Sorry, just saw this comment and wanted to quickly reply by suggesting you access the link below to our Drilling Layouts feature and find the Hammer brand, then find a drilling pattern similar to your own and read the information posted as to what you might expect from your layout and given the fact you deliver a strong hook. Each drilling layout is designed for a given bowling ball and PAP to produce a ball motion on given oil conditions. It is tough to say if your layout is best on conditions where you bowl and how you align yourself on the lanes. From the looks of it, it appears you have a layout for a strong hook on the back end.

      Check out other drilling layouts by Hammer and see what you find by clicking on the above link. Hope this sheds some light on your question.

  10. I have a ball with the pin below the ring finger and a weight hole just right of the thomp hole. Is this correct for the ball with the pap or cg? next to the thumb hole. right side

    • Roger,

      There is simply not enough information to make an assessment of your drilling layout. Without knowing your ball type, your PAP measurement, the lane conditions where you use this ball, etc., we cannot make a judgement on your drilling layout.

      Use this link below to access our Drilling Layouts feature and select the given manufacturer for the ball you are making reference to, and then check some recommended layouts by the manufacturer and see if they match to the ball motion you seek on the lane conditions where you bowl.

      You can also check with your pro shop professional to get an explanation of the layout to help explain why it is set up and what ball reaction you will get from this drilling pattern.

      From the looks of it, it seems your ball motion will be a smooth or continuous arc motion on the back end of the lane with a moderate skid length on the front end. Of course the lane conditions have a great deal to do with your ball reaction.

  11. Hi guys, i have recently got my average up to compete at a higher level at least in my experience that means more oil. I have tried everything this season because none of my equipment works very well on oil because i dont throw alot of revs at all. I recently got the DV8 Hell Raiser Revenge and it works great on a medium oil lane but when it comes to heavy oil it does about 7 boards just like my cyclone. The pin in both of those balls is just above my finger holes. I was wondering if i dropped the pin to just below my fingertips on the cyclone and kept it sanded up whether it would work better on high oil conditions?

    • Megan,

      The high pin placements certainly extend the length potential of the ball and on heavy oil, the danger is the ball will skid too far and not transition soon enough with a strong and controllable reaction on the back end, thus the lack of hook.

      A strong arc motion would suit you better in the oil from the sound of things. Also, using a lower grit pad to alter the ball surface texture will help the ball read the mid-lane sooner than you are experiencing now and improve the overall ball motion.

      Here is a link to our Drilling Layouts feature so you can access any manufacturer you wish and find drilling layouts recommended for heavy and medium-heavy oil conditions for the given bowling balls you possess.

      The combination of altering the ball surface and perhaps a plug and re-drill with a more appropriate layout should help.

      There is another factor to consider and that is the oil distance. If the Experience League conditions are using the long distance pattern, you certainly will not get a sweeping hook motion on the back end with any bowling ball. In this case, it is important to not use equipment with layouts to add to the skid length and compound your challenges. You may wish to check with bowling center personnel about the conditions of the lanes in the league.

      Keep an eye on other successful league members who do not deliver a big hook and pay attention to their alignment and how they play the lanes targeting the pocket. Improper alignment can add to challenges on oily lane conditions.

      Hope this helps? Thanks for taking time to place your comment.

  12. Hello, I have two bowling balls first one Storm Frantic the drill patt on this was for aggressive layout my PAP is 5 3/4 and Pin placemen is 1 1/2 up on this ball plus im a lefty the second ball is Hammer No Mercy with the same drill layout as the Storm Frantic. Im trying to get more aggresive backend play out of thes balls but having no luck could my pin placement located about 1inch away diangle from my ring finger play a role?

  13. I was looking for drilling patterns pics for left hand bowlers I always get right hand bowlers layouts but tell the drillers to reverse for left hand but no pic so I can see what its suppose to look like correctly.

  14. JDub,

    We replied to this same question you asked on another article…our reply has not changed….perhaps you did not access our reply message? Here is what we answered:

    "Sorry for the inconvenience with no reverse layout diagrams. Your pro shop professional can certainly help you select any layout shown for right handed bowlers and use the diagram in reverse for a left handed player.

    The key is the bowler's Positive Axis Point (PAP) in relation to the Pin placement, the Center of Gravity and Mass Bias markings on the ball surface. Your pro shop professional can determine your PAP and discuss with you which diagrams of the layout options would best suit your needs based on your delivery style and the local lane conditions where you bowl.

    It is not a wise idea to use a right handed layout for a left handed bowler because the pin placement in relation to the PAP of a left handed bowler would be so far apart in most cases that the ball risks not passing USBC specifications after drilling.

    In some cases with simple plastic, three piece core design bowling balls, it is possible to use a reverse drilling layout if the CG in near the grip center or slightly positioned to the opposite side from the bowlers PAP.

    In years past, this layout was known as "Negative Side Weight" for a left handed bowler but "Positive Side Weight" for the right handed bowler.

    So the answer to your question is Yes for simple layouts on plastic (or some other entry level bowling balls) but a big NO for the high tech equipment with Pin Out markings and with Mass Bias markings.

    Once again, we are sorry the layout diagrams do not show left handed layouts. Our site uses the public information provided by the manufacturers. Hope this helps clarify things a bit, Jdub. We thank you for your comments and wish you the best."

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