Are There Left Handed Bowling Balls? – A User Guide

It goes without saying that left-handed people get the short end of the stick in life. Bowling is enjoyed both as a professional sport and as an occasional game by people of almost every age group. While most bowling balls used in the lanes are designed for right-handed bowlers, it’s not all doom and gloom for lefties.

Technically, all bowling balls are just the same before the holes are drilled. So, the question that arises here is, do left-handed bowling balls exist? Well, of course, they do. They differ from right-handed bowling balls in terms of the drilling to better suit the gaming requirements of lefties.

Do Left-Handed Bowlers Have an Advantage?

To the untrained eyes, left-handed bowlers don’t have an advantage over their right-handed counterparts. However, luckily for them, they really do.

Statistics say that 90% of people are right-handed. This means that an overwhelming majority of bowlers use the right side of the lane, leaving the left side largely unused. This is the reason why oil gets pushed around and is broken down relatively quickly on the right side of the bowling lane.

left handed bowling ball

Contrary to this, the left side remains in good condition for much longer, thanks to the significantly less 10% population of left-handed bowlers. Since left-handed bowlers get to use the opposite side of the lane that isn’t approached by right-handed people, they have a significant advantage when it comes to oil preservation.

The better-oiled left lanes give left-handed bowels a higher chance of maximizing the reactive strike of bowling balls, consequently increasing the ball’s traction on the lane. Using the original oil pattern, they can acquire the needed firepower and hook sharpness. It also gives them more control over the speed and angle of the throw for an excellent game of bowling.

Better bowling lane conditions with enough oil also mean that bowlers don’t have to change up the balls as often as right-handed bowlers. Moreover, they can continue hitting strikes without having to change lane positions frequently.

Similarly, left-handed bowlers get another advantage because of the way finger holes are drilled on their balls. The holes on left-handed balls are generally drilled right above the position where the bulk of the weight is, which gives bowlers better control. This position of holes not only influences the ball’s rolling but also makes it easier for the ball to hook. However, this skill is not something you are gifted with just because you are a leftie. Instead, you have to master it to make the most of your bowling ball.

Since there is relatively less oil breakdown that left-handed bowlers have to face, many bowling leagues over time have seen that left-handed bowlers often get an easy win. There has been a distinct gap between the gaming score of right-handed and left-handed players with similar skill sets. The added advantages provide various opportunities for left-handed bowlers to turn opens into spares and spares into strikes.

Is There a Difference Between Left-Handed and Right-Handed Bowling Balls?

Bowling is one of the most popular games among every age group, and therefore, has been a part of many lives for years. Being a left-handed bowler is not only unique in itself but also has a number of challenges. However, getting the right approach to contend with these challenges can make you a master of the game.

While there are tons of questions regarding left-handed bowling balls, one of the most common queries continues to be about the differences between left-handed and right-handed bowling balls. The short answer is, there are differences, and quite a few of them.

One major distinction between the two kinds of bowling balls is the position of the holes. The placement of finger holes in relation to the thumb hole is different in both types. In the case of a left-handed bowling ball, the ring finger is generally placed right behind the middle finger. This makes it the last finger to leave the ball during bowling. Contrary to this, the thumb or middle finger would be the last to finally leave the ball if you are using a right-handed bowling ball.

The other consideration is the location of the center of weight or centre of gravity in relation to the position of drilled holes. While the center of gravity is to the right in the case of right-handed bowling balls, it is slightly to the left side of the thumb hole in a left-handed bowling ball. The center of gravity is in front of the thumb hole and the ring finger hole is drilled ⅛-inch further from the thumb hole.

This remarkable balancing offers extra spin and momentum to the ball. Moreover, the left-handed bowler gets a unique loop while bowling from the opposite side of the lane.

It might be difficult for a newbie to spot these differences while choosing a ball at the bowling alley. Therefore, it is recommended to ask an attendant for help. It is crucial to get the right ball because if you are leftie and bowl with a ball meant for right-handed players, there is a good chance your game will suffer.

Main Features to Consider

From bowling balls to shoes to even wrist braces, everything has always been a little different for left-handed people. Since the right-handed population is dominant, finding a bowling ball for the left-handed minority can be challenging as well as overwhelming. Fortunately, the bowling industry has identified this gap in the market and dedicatedly addressed it over the past few years. Today, bowling balls designed especially for left-handed bowlers can be found at every reputable bowling store, and that too, in a wide variety.

Given how saturated the market is with an enormous range of options to choose from, you need to be vigilant if you wish to make a valued investment. Each model has characteristics specific to a certain brand and target customer, so it would help to do your research before you head out to the market. The best way to make a desirable purchase is to consider a couple of features that you need from your bowling ball. Read on to know about some of the best of such specifications that must be considered while purchasing a left-handed bowling ball.

left handed bowling


The type of material used in the construction of the bowling ball greatly impacts its durability. Take your time to assess the material of the ball as it plays a key role in how the ball responds and performs on bowling lanes.

Just like right-handed bowling balls, left-handed balls are typically made out of three types of materials: plastic/polyester, reactive resin, and urethane. All these materials have their plus points as well as drawbacks.

Plastic and polyester is the most commonly used material, and this popularity can be credited to it being both shock-proof and cheap. A plastic ball moves straight and lacks any hook potential, thereby, making it an excellent option for beginners. These balls offer better control and grip and allow the newbie to focus on getting the basics right during the learning phase. This makes plastic and polyester the undisputed choice for amateurs and new learners.

The second type of bowling ball material is resin. If you are bowling on oil-patterned lanes, a reactive resin ball works well for you. These balls have a high hook potential and smooth movement, which makes them easy to release, and thus, extremely popular with the bowling community.

Another exciting thing about resin balls is that they offer a relatively better grip and control over the ball during different lane conditions. Though these balls are expensive, they are worth the investment for improving your game. A well-made resin ball with good grip and good throw will not only make you enjoy your game more, but it will also boost your score.

Urethane is another popular material for bowling balls. Those looking for a durable ball offering maximum friction should get their hands on a ball made out of urethane. With excellent pin action, these balls are quite popular among seasoned players. If control is your priority, a urethane bowling ball is the right match for you.


The uniformity of the cover stock thickness is often ignored by bowlers, even though it is one of the most important factors to consider. A uniform cover-stock thickness is important, especially if you are getting intact bowling balls. Non-uniform bowling balls tend to tear apart or crack while they get holes drilled in them, because of an uneven distribution of weight.

If a ball has an uneven thickness across the cover stock, there will be an imbalance in the weight of the ball across the body, which, in turn, leads to a shift in the center of gravity. The ball becomes challenging to control on the lanes when holes are not drilled in the center of gravity.

Now, bowling is all about control, and if the construction of a ball is making you lose control, there is no way you can be your best at the game. So, when you set out to the market to get a new left-handed bowling ball, make sure to check the uniformity of the cover stock thickness. Getting a ball with even thickness will ensure that you have the control you need over your ball. As long as the cover stock is thick enough to sustain holes being drilled into it without cracking and tearing, you should be fine. However, to further ensure a safe purchase, we also recommend getting the holes drilled by a professional.


Another essential feature that buyers must take into account is the weight of the left-handed bowling ball. You should always go for a ball that you are comfortable using on the lanes for extended periods of time.

While picking a ball, make sure it is compatible with your body’s weight and strength. It needs to be not only easy to lift but also comfortable to play with. This helps you be at ease during the game. A ball too heavy for the bowler’s bodyweight would cause fatigue and make the bowler wear out quickly. Similarly, even though a lightweight ball is easy to handle, it does not have the best impact while it’s on the lanes.

The weight of bowling balls generally ranges from six to sixteen pounds. Balls weighing between 6 and 10 lbs. are considered lightweight and are a suitable option for children and beginners. Though such balls are relatively easier to ball with, they don’t knock down the target on the lanes properly. Balls that are too light often tend to miss one pin or the other, and can be quite frustrating for a bowler giving their best.

However, lightweight balls make a great choice for children, the elderly, and other amateurs just looking to play for fun. Similarly, if you are new to this sport and working your way up, you can start off with a lightweight ball and gradually move your way up the weight scale as you feel more confident about your game.

Bowling balls weighing more than 10 pounds are categorised as heavy balls and are perfect for adults. Experts recommend female bowlers to go for a ball weighing from 10 to 14 pounds, while the higher range balls of 14 to 16 pounds are suitable for male bowlers.

While heavy balls are great at hitting pins on the lanes, a ball too heavy has its set of cons as well. Since these balls are extremely heavy, they can be difficult to handle. A bowler won’t be comfortable using a ball that is not compatible with his body’s strength and weight. It can even lead to accidental drops, causing an injury to the bowler.

Another factor that ultimately determines the weight of the ball in a way is the finger holes. It is important to remember that a drilled bowling ball feels two pounds lighter compared to its original weight. So, if you are comfortable using a 14-pound undrilled bowling ball, you should get a 16-pound bowling bowl and get it drilled from a professional shop to get your desired weight of a drilled bowling ball.

Before making a choice and investing in a ball, it would be best to play some shots with an undrilled ball and then determine the weight that works for you. It is recommended to take your time and give a thought to this feature for an unforgettable gaming experience.

Pre-drilled or Undrilled?

Choosing between a pre-drilled and undrilled bowling ball can be a nightmare for bowlers trying to just buy a ball and start bowling. We recommend going for an undrilled bowl if you are a leftie. Since left-handed balls have different drill patterns and layouts, choosing an undrilled bowling ball allows you to drill the finger holes as per your hand’s measurement.

Similarly, an undrilled ball is a better option when it comes to performance. You can always get holes drilled according to your bowling style. This will provide a better grip, thereby maximizing your performance on the bowling lanes. Additionally, there would be relatively fewer chances of any wrist injury caused by improper gripping. You are always recommended to get the holes drilled by a professional for a better grip, which, in turn, helps you adjust to the bowling lanes properly.

It is no secret that pre-drilled balls are comparatively cheaper. However, they are not drilled with patterns and positions best suited for a left-handed bowler, and may not fit your hand properly. In case that happens, the improper wrist movements you make as you try to control the ball can eventually lead to potentially serious injuries. In short, saving a couple of bucks by getting a pre-drilled bowling ball will eventually lead to a number of problems shortly. So, if you think you can save a couple of bucks by getting a pre-drilled bowling ball, you are wrong. You will probably just end up with a series of complaints with your purchase instead, so take our advice and get the best you can afford.


Good grip and performance go hand in hand when it comes to a bowling game. There are two types of grip: fingertip grip and conventional grip.

In the case of conventional grip, the second knuckle of both your ring finger and the middle finger goes inside the ball, while the thumb fully goes inside the hole. Contrary to this, the middle and ring fingers go into the hole till the first knuckle only with the thumb fully inserted in the thumb hole in the fingertip grip position.

If you are a newbie, you should go for the conventional grip as it facilitates more control over the ball. You can learn the basics and then gradually begin to refine your game. However, this grip position does not let you hook the ball. Professional bowlers with advanced skills prefer the fingertip grip position since it allows a higher hook to the bowling ball.


Following a sport dominated by right-handed bowlers can be difficult for left-handed enthusiasts. However, if you know what to look for, you can certainly find suitable bowling gear for lefties. Just do your legwork and dig deep; you are sure to come across a plethora of options to choose from.

Since left-handed bowling balls have special requirements, you should take your time to survey the market and then make an informed choice so you score yourself a good deal. Make sure to go for a ball that suits your bowling style while offering a powerful and consistent grip. Hopefully, this article has helped you get all the information about the left-handed bowling balls so you can create smooth strikes on the bowling lanes.

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Written by Shannon Cothran