How Much Does It Cost To Drill A Bowling Ball?

Bowling is more than just a game; it’s a precise blend of skill, technique, and equipment. And when it comes to optimizing your performance on the lanes, drilling your bowling ball plays a pivotal role.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the various aspects of drilling bowling balls, including the associated costs, the question of DIY drilling, the frequency of redrilling, and the impact of weight loss during the process.

How Expensive is it to Drill a Bowling Ball with Inserts?

Bowling ball drilling is a nuanced process that involves various components, with thumb inserts, finger inserts, and even balance holes coming into play. Let’s break down the costs and considerations:

  • Thumb and Finger Inserts: The cost of thumb and finger inserts can vary depending on factors like material, design, and brand. On average, expect to invest anywhere from $10 to $50 for each insert.
  • Balance Holes: If you’re considering adding balance holes to fine-tune the ball’s reaction, this could incur additional costs. A single balance hole might add around $15 to $30 to the overall expense.
  • Factors Influencing Cost: Several factors impact the total cost of drilling, including the material of the bowling ball. Resin balls, for instance, are often more intricate to drill than urethane balls due to their density. Moreover, the skill level of the pro shop technician and the complexity of the desired drilling layout can also affect the final cost.

Can You Drill a Bowling Ball Yourself?

While DIY projects can be fulfilling, drilling a bowling ball is not the same as assembling furniture. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons:

  • Pros of DIY Drilling:
    • Cost Savings: Doing it yourself might seem cost-effective initially, but the potential risks could outweigh the benefits.
    • Convenience: The convenience of drilling at home might be tempting, especially for avid bowlers.
    • Experimentation: DIY drilling could offer a platform for experimentation with different layouts, but without proper expertise, this could lead to unsatisfactory results.
  • Cons of DIY Drilling:
    • Lack of Expertise: Drilling a bowling ball demands precise measurements, angles, and calculations. Without the right knowledge, you risk negatively impacting the ball’s performance.
    • Potential Damage: Incorrect drilling could cause structural damage to the ball, rendering it useless.
    • Improper Drilling: Even minor mistakes in drilling can result in inconsistent ball motion and unexpected lane reactions.

How Many Times Should a Bowling Ball be Drilled?

The number of times a bowling ball can be drilled is not limitless. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Limitations of Redrilling: A bowling ball’s coverstock can only withstand so many drilling attempts. Each drilling weakens the structure, potentially leading to cracks or structural issues.
  • Factors Affecting Redrilling:
    • Changes in Bowler’s Style: As your technique evolves, you might need a different layout to match your new style.
    • Lane Conditions: Different lane conditions might necessitate adjusting the ball’s dynamics, which could call for redrilling.
    • Wear and Tear: Over time, the ball’s surface can wear down, affecting its performance. Redrilling can rejuvenate the ball’s action.
  • Professional Recommendations: Seasoned bowlers and pro shop experts often recommend redrilling when there are substantial changes in your game or when you’re seeking to optimize the ball’s reaction. However, redrilling should be a well-considered decision to avoid over-stressing the ball’s structure.

How Much Weight Does a Bowling Ball Lose After Drilling?

Drilling a bowling ball involves removing material from the core, which inevitably affects its weight. Let’s delve into the details:

  • Understanding the Core: A bowling ball’s core, or weight block, plays a crucial role in its dynamics and motion. Drilling the core alters the ball’s dynamics.
  • Weight Loss During Drilling: On average, drilling can cause a weight loss of around 1 to 3 ounces. The specifics depend on the drilling technique and the ball’s initial weight.
  • Impact on Performance: Weight loss alters the ball’s RG (radius of gyration) and differential values, which directly influence the ball’s reaction on the lanes. Manufacturers carefully design balls to perform optimally with their original core configurations.

Additional Considerations for Drilled Bowling Balls

Apart from the core aspects, here are a few additional considerations:

  • Maintenance After Drilling: Proper care for your drilled ball includes regular cleaning and polishing of the holes to maintain their integrity and prevent debris accumulation.
  • Collaboration with the Pro Shop: Communication is key. Clearly convey your performance expectations and collaborate with the pro shop technician to choose the best layout for your game.

FAQs about the Cost to Drill a Bowling Ball:

1. Question: Are there significant cost variations for drilling a bowling ball based on factors like material and complexity?

Answer: Yes, the cost of drilling a bowling ball can vary depending on factors such as the type of material (plastic, reactive resin, urethane), the complexity of the drilling pattern, and any additional customizations like finger inserts. Generally, more intricate drilling patterns and specialized materials may lead to higher costs.

2. Question: Can I save money by drilling the holes in my bowling ball myself?

Answer: While some avid bowlers with experience may attempt to drill their own bowling balls, it’s recommended to have the drilling done by a professional. Properly aligning and drilling holes requires specialized tools and expertise to ensure optimal performance and to prevent damage to the ball. The cost of any mistakes could outweigh the money saved.

3. Question: Is the cost of drilling a new bowling ball included in the purchase price?

Answer: Typically, the cost of drilling is not included in the initial purchase price of a bowling ball. Bowling pro shops or centers usually charge a separate fee for drilling services, which can vary based on the factors mentioned earlier.

4. Question: Can I get a discount on drilling if I buy a bowling ball from a pro shop?

Answer: Many pro shops offer discounted or even free drilling services if you purchase a bowling ball from them. It’s a common practice to encourage customers to buy from their shop. It’s worth inquiring about this possibility when purchasing a ball.

5. Question: Are there any additional costs associated with getting finger inserts installed during the drilling process?

Answer: Yes, getting finger inserts installed in your bowling ball during the drilling process may incur an extra cost. Finger inserts provide a comfortable and secure grip, and their installation involves additional materials and labor.

6. Question: Can the cost of drilling a bowling ball vary from one pro shop to another?

Answer: Yes, the cost of drilling can vary between different pro shops and bowling centers. Factors such as location, expertise of the drillers, and the range of drilling options offered can influence the cost. It’s advisable to compare prices and services before making a decision.

7. Question: Is there a standard range of cost for drilling a bowling ball without considering any customizations?

Answer: On average, the cost of drilling a basic bowling ball with a standard drilling pattern can range from $30 to $60. However, prices may differ based on geographic location and other factors.

8. Question: Can choosing a unique or complex drilling layout affect the cost?

Answer: Yes, opting for a unique or complex drilling layout, such as a personalized layout tailored to your playing style, can result in a higher cost. These specialized drilling patterns require more time and expertise to execute accurately.

9. Question: Are there any online tutorials available for DIY bowling ball drilling to cut down on costs?

Answer: Yes, there are online tutorials and guides that demonstrate DIY bowling ball drilling. However, attempting this without the proper tools and experience can lead to irreparable damage to your ball. It’s recommended for novices to seek professional drilling services.

10. Question: Is it advisable to prioritize cost over the quality of drilling when getting a bowling ball drilled?

Answer: While cost is an important consideration, the quality of drilling has a significant impact on your performance. A well-drilled ball can enhance your accuracy and overall gameplay. It’s generally recommended to prioritize quality over cost to fully enjoy the benefits of a properly drilled ball.


Drilling a bowling ball is an intricate process that significantly impacts your performance on the lanes. While there might be a temptation to take the DIY route, professional drilling ensures precision, optimal performance, and the longevity of your investment.

Remember, each drilling carries consequences, so make informed decisions based on your evolving technique, lane conditions, and bowling goals.

Whether you’re a casual bowler or a seasoned pro, a well-drilled ball is an essential tool for hitting those strikes and spares with confidence.