Can You Redrill Bowling Balls?

Bowling balls are drilled for different reasons. Some bowlers enjoy drilling their own bowling ball, while others prefer to have a professional do it.

This guide will discuss both the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

Yes, bowling balls can be redrilled. Redrilling occurs for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that redrilled bowling balls are quite prevalent. In fact, it’s frequently probable to see more plugged balls than non plugged balls while browsing a row of bowling balls during a league or tournament.

Is It Possible to Redrill a Bowling Ball?

The answer to this question is yes, but it is not always recommended. When a bowling ball is drilled, the holes are created with a specific purpose in mind.

If you redrill a bowling ball, you may not be able to achieve the same results as you did with the original drilling.

“Drilling the Ball” (CC BY 2.0) by jronaldlee

As a piece of advice, you should first focus on coverstock maintenance and preserving your ball’s surface texture through polishing or resurfacing, and regular bowling ball cleaning. If you have already tried those, you may still experiment with plugging and re-drilling to improve ball motion.

So what can you expect?

The most common complaints about redrilling from bowlers involve the loss of hook potential, adding too much back-end or mid-lane roll where it wasn’t before. Redrilling can also affect the final hook rating of a bowling ball, which can be highly misleading.

Why Would You Want to Redrill a Bowling Ball?

There are several reasons why someone might want to redrill a bowling ball. Maybe the original drilling was not done correctly, or maybe the bowler would like to try a different plug and re-drill layout.

Whatever the reason, it is important to understand the extremely common risks involved before making any re-drill and plug jobs decisions regarding your equipment.


Before plugging and re drilling, have a qualified drilling technician evaluate your ball. They can help you to decide if redrilling is the best course of action for you and can recommend a layout that will give you the desired results.

If you do choose to redrill your bowling ball, be prepared for possible negative consequences after the plug and redrill.

What Are the Risks of Redrilling a Bowling Ball?

There are several risks associated with redrilling a bowling ball.

First of all, you may not be able to achieve the same results as you did with the original drilling of a brand new bowling ball.

Second, you could damage the surface of the ball or even the core. This could make the ball hook much more or even cause it to bounce erratically.

Third, redrilling can make the holes in your bowling ball larger than they were before.

How Much Does It Cost to Redrill a Bowling Ball?

Redrilling can be expensive, depending on what you are trying to achieve. The cost can vary from $20 to more than $100.

If the drilling is not correct however, it can be very expensive. You can end up spending more money on plug and redrill in the long run if you have to take the ball back to the pro shop several times.

Does Redrilling a Bowling Ball Affect Performance?

The answer to this question is yes. When you redrill a bowling ball, you are changing its original specifications.

This can basically affect the ball’s reaction on the lane and the overall performance of the equipment. If maintained well, drilling costs less than buying a new ball, however cracks or core damage may happen in case of careless redrilling.


Finger Hole Configurations

Before you can even consider redrilling your bowling ball, you need to understand the different hole configurations.

Conventional Grip

The thumb and middle and the ring fingers are placed in the ball up to the second knuckle. The index finger is typically positioned on the side of the ball. This grip used is the easiest to control the ball’s movement down the lane, and it is characteristic to most house balls.

Fingertip Grip

The thumb, ring and middle fingers can be used to hold a bowling ball. The first knuckle joints can be placed in the hole. This is a less control-oriented grip, but it is characterized by power and better for customized balls.

Semi-fingertip Grip

The thumb and the ring and middle fingers first or second knuckles can be used to hold a bowling ball. This grip is often good for both hook potential and control, depending on the bowler’s preference, and it is set between the first two mentioned grips.

Sarge Easter Grip

This grip is somewhat less conventional, it’s more of a hybrid grip. This grip can be used for comfort, more power and can be very effective on slick lane conditions. The middle finger is drilled fingertip, while the ring finger is either conventional or semi-fingertip drilled.

Should I Have My Bowling Ball Drilled by a Professional?

There are pros and cons to both drilling your own ball and having a professional do it. However, we rather recommend to leave the redrilling to an expert at a local pro shop.

Some of the benefits of having a professional drill your ball include:

  • They have the experience and knowledge to do it correctly.
  • They can help you choose the right layout for your needs.
  • They can ensure that your ball is drilled to specifications.


Can I Drill My Own Bowling Ball?

You can certainly drill your own bowling ball, but there are a few things to consider before doing so. Drilling can be time-consuming, and can also be very expensive if anything goes wrong.

Where Can I Get My Bowling Ball Drilled?

There are many places that offer this service, just remember to compare costs before deciding who to have drill the ball. Ask around at your local bowling shop or bowling alley or ask bowler friends who are aware of such places.

How to Drill Holes in Bowling Balls?

There are a few different ways to drill holes in used bowling balls. The most common method is to use a drill press. This can be done at home or at a pro shop or at your local bowling alley.

Another option is to use a hand drill. This can be a bit more difficult, but you can drill new holes if you are careful.

Finally, some people use a high speed Dremel tool to drill their bowling balls. This is the least common method, but it can be effective if done correctly.

Measure Finger Span and Mark with a Pen

Take the measurement from the center of one hole to the center of the next. Prepare the drilling layout in advance, and imitate it effectively on the ball.

Make sure to practice on some scrap wood before drilling into your bowling ball!

How to Know Where to Drill a Bowling Ball?

There are a few things to consider when deciding where to drill your bowling ball. The first is the weight of the ball. The second is the type of drilling you want to do and its layout. The third is the condition of your ball.

Once you have considered these factors, you can begin to determine where the best place to drill your bowling ball is.

How Long Does It Take to Redrill a Bowling Ball?

It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to redrill a bowling ball, depending on the type of drill you are using, and the re-drilling experience you have. Don’t rush it however, as the plugs may take time to dry.

How Many Times Can You Redrill a Bowling Ball?

There is no set number of times that a bowling ball can be re drilled. If you are drilling different layouts however, 3 times is the highest amount of drilling recommended.

However, it is important to remember that each time you drill the ball, you are changing its original specifications. This can affect its performance on the lane.

Closing Thoughts About Bowling Ball Redrilling

A bowling ball can be drilled to customize the drilling pattern, ball surface finish and weight distribution. Drilling patterns are typically designated by a letter or number system that corresponds with different types of shots the customer may need depending on their level of play.

You’ll also want to consider the type of material you use because it will determine how much torque is needed for each drill bit size.

Pro shops may help teach the proper techniques before you attempt to drill your bowling ball. Some balls can also be drilled at home by using a drill press, hand drill or a higher speed Dremel tool.

We hope this article has given you an idea about what redrilling bowling balls entails so that next time someone asks if they can do it themselves, you know better!

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