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Thread: Let's Talk Layouts

  1. #1

    Default Let's Talk Layouts

    Last night I was reading a new article on the BTM website entitled, "Anatomy of a Bowling Ball Layout." It's a pretty good basic article as it points out some of the differences between the Dual Angle System and the Storm Pin Buffer System. It correctly concludes that the two systems are simply different ways of arriving at the same conclusion and which one is used is mainly a matter of preference of the ball driller and, hopefully, the bowler. The article also correctly concludes that the layout is mainly valuable in fine-tuning ball reaction which is the reason that most pro bowlers stick to a couple of tried and true layouts.

    The one thing that I disagree with in the article is the suggestion that bowlers should have their PAP checked every six months or so, as it tends to change. While I totally agree that it changes, I question why you would have it rechecked. Consider this: the PAP is a starting point for layout measurements. If it changes, the measurements change, but the ball reaction does not. If it is still an acceptable reaction, what's the difference if the pin-to-pap distance is four inches or five inches? Personally, my PAP was measured about five years ago. It was 4 3/4" over by 1/2" up. I'm sure that it has changed, but so what. The layouts that I use still work, and when I want to make an adjustment, making it from the same PAP from several years ago makes no difference at all. If I increase the pin-to-pap distance by 1", it's the same whether it changes from 4" to 5" or from 5" to 6".

    The other thing that the article did for me was to get me thinking (always dangerous) about trying to understand how different layouts affect ball reactions. It occurred to me that since ball drillers drill the thumb hole first (obviously because it's the most important hole in the ball) and then drill the finger holes, we refer to layouts in those terms (thumb down, fingers up) when, in fact, we release the ball with the thumb up and the fingers down. When we look at the fact that a pin up ball results in a more angular reaction in traditional terms, it really doesn't make much sense. When, however, we realized that in the actual release position, the pin up ball put the pin lower and on the inside of the ball (closer to the body), it makes a lot more sense... at least to me.

    I think I'm going stir crazy!!!

  2. #2


    Rob, Since you haven't had a response to your post (and you might not one), I thought this would be a good chance for me. I've read a lot of your articles from BTM and enjoyed them. Of course, I probably forgot most of it by now. I bought a used "Par Bowling The Challenge" several years ago and tried to stay with the author in describing ball motion as I recall. Got lost even though I have a bit of knowledge about the radius of gyration, inertia, friction and some math and geometry to go with it.
    Been thinking about getting another ball which would hopefully give me a ball that would give me a more aggressive reaction than that of my IQ Tour solid and Code X solid balls which use the R2S cover. The ball I think I'll order is the Omega Crux. I was thinking of using the following layout on it: 55 deg x 3 3/4" x 45 deg. The Code X is: 60 deg x 3 3/8" x 35 deg. The IQ Tour is: 50 deg x 3 1/4" x 30 deg.
    I've heard talk about short pin layouts which I guess are something like 1 1/2 to 2" pin to PAP distances. I'm hoping that the Omega might help kick out the 10-pin that I often get. What does a short pin layout do for you? Might it be something worthy to discuss with my PSO. Thanks!

  3. #3


    Are you sure that a more aggressive reaction is what you are looking for? A great, great majority of ten pins that are left by league bowlers are a result of too much aggression (ball runs out of energy). A short pin layout results in less flare, consequently less aggression. With that being said, have you considered buying a less aggressive ball and using your standard layout (the layouts that you have listed are very close together)? I think that you will be pleasantly surprised, and you will save a bunch of money!

  4. #4


    You may be right Rob. I take the same line with the IQ Tour solid and Code X and move left as needed using 2:1 maneuvers. The Code X provides a bit more punch at the end of the pattern on the house shot around 40 feet or so. I have a Pro-Motion and the SPEC cover works nicely and it provides smooth move to the break point and has a strong backend move beyond either of the other two mentioned here.
    I may take your suggestion and may try the Tropical Surge to see how it will work. Just toying around...

  5. #5


    I picked up the Cherry-Black Tropical Surge ball a couple weeks ago. Smells nice. Shiny, beautiful ball and fits like a glove. Haven't bowled in quite a while. Didn't pick up right away, but I liked the reaction of this ball and it seems to be more controllable. Stayed more right with it by laying it down on board 12 and targeted board 9 at the arrows. Moved right from there a bit. It was rolling nicely for me; however, I learned something last week.
    I've been attempting to keep my fingers on the left of the equator probably too far. What I found to work extremely well for me was to make sure the pad of my thumb was engaged with the hole flat side down at the release point. This would have my thumb at 12 o'clock and my index finger at about 5 o'clock separated about 2 inches from my middle finger. This helped me get a wonderful roll. This next week I'm planning on using other balls and will get back to the Surge soon. My plan is to play with the IQ Tour, IQ Tour 30, Hy-Road X and Torrent balls. All pretty similar except for the finishes.
    Looking forward to trying the Surge again with a better release technique...

  6. #6


    Make sure that you try different hand positions with an eye toward creating different reactions. After all the years that I wrote articles about using different bowling balls, I now bring two reactive balls and one plastic spare ball when I bowl. With different hand positions, I am able to create about six different reactions with just three balls... saves a ton of effort lugging balls around! LOL

  7. #7


    Not only do I lug all those balls around, I keep all my equipment in the beloved basement. So I carry them up the stairs and out to the garage to the car's trunk. I'm not picking up heavy objects all the time and this is a test for me to tell me how I'm doing physically. One of my old time Navy buddies just passed away and again I'm reminded that life is fragile. This old body is still doing pretty well and I intend on bringing plenty of excuses with me in my bowling bag to blame my poor performance on until I can't do that any more. It's like bringing more bats or gloves than anyone else to impress folks. Most days I don't use more than one or two of them. Maybe it builds confidence that I don't always have lots of on hand. Still looking forward to using the Surge a bit more after next week. I'm going to look up your article on hand positions. I do recall Susie Minshew had one in Bowling This Month, too. May take a look at that one two if I can find it...

  8. #8


    Don't bother looking up my article on hand positions. I never wrote one! These are new discoveries for me, and all you need to know for you is knowing what two or three different hand positions will do for YOU! It's amazingly simple, once we get it through our thick skulls. LOL

  9. #9


    You make a great point, thick skulls. I've been fighting with throwing a spinner much of the time. Also, I think I was allowing the ball to drop off my hand. With my thumb in a much better position both issues magically went away. The ball roll is wonderful and my index finger is in a pretty good place to allow me to keep my fingers in the ball a bit longer and get the ball out in front of me. No spinner. Carry is much better. Maybe my scores will get back to what I was able to do just a couple years ago. During this summer I'll just concentrate on my release and pay attention to making those spares. Hopefully the spares will be simple and makeable rather than washouts and impossible splits.

  10. #10


    Ok. I read Susie Minshew's two articles on hand positions. Looking at the pictures #1 is a 90 degree position which I doubt I've ever used (only by mistake). If I'd try it, my thumb would be at about 11 o'clock or a little more counterclockwise and my index finger would be nearly 3 o'clock. I suppose that would be worth a shot. Probably not the worst thing I could do. All I know is that if I go back to getting my thumb too far clockwise, I'll be back to where I was which didn't work well at all.
    Changing the distance of my index finger from the middle finger I do sometimes. Seldom tuck my pinky finger but can try that. Always try to keep my pinky parked next to the ring finger. Feels right. I usually spread my pinky finger away from the ring finger when shooting spares and keep my index finger close to the middle finger, too.
    One issue though is that it's hard to throw it straight. So I polish up my spare ball using Vise Slip Agent when necessary.
    Looking forward to this next Wednesday morning. Surge back in play the week after... Have some hand positions to play with now...

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