How to Drill a Bowling Ball (Bowling Ball Drilling Guide 2024)

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Knowing how to drill a bowling ball is one of those essential things that are really important but ends up surprising you. A lot of new players assume that they will be getting a fully-functional bowling ball.

How to Drill a Bowling Ball

​However, when you first get a bowling ball, you’re getting a fresh ball with no holes in it. You’ll need to have holes drilled into it by a professional driller or by yourself. To help those who’re confused by this first step, here’s a simple bowling ball drilling guide to get you started.

​Getting a Professional to Do It

The first thing you can do is go to a professional bowling ball driller. Bowling shops usually offer this service to their customers. The cost of bowling ball drilling is often very reasonable and having a professional do it can cut a lot of the worries out of the way. They know how to drill a bowling ball for maximum hook and other effects. If you want to reduce your worries, you can take the ball to a professional driller and discuss with them what you want.

​Proper Layouts

However, there are still things you need to learn about. This is where bowling ball drilling layouts need to be explained. Different finger grips give you different effects. There are three different grips that are often seen on bowling balls. Knowing the grip that you want on the ball can make it a lot easier for you to arrange for the drilling.

​The first one is the conventional grip. This is the most common grip around and is recommended for most beginners and those with moderate skill. The drill goes deep into the ball to allow your middle and index finger, along with your thumb, to go into the second knuckle. This allows for easy control.

​The next type of grip is the fingertip grip. Unlike the conventional grip, this is a lot more shallow drill. The result is that you can only insert your fingers up the first knuckle. This makes it very hard to control. However, it does provide more power, lift, and spin to your throw. When drilling a bowling ball for more hook, this is what most bowlers primarily turn to.

​The last part of the trio is the semi-fingertip grip. This is a happy medium between the fingertip grip and the conventional grip and allows your fingers to go into the middle of your first and second knuckle. It provides more power than the normal conventional grip, while also a lot easier to control than fingertip grips.

​Besides these three popular options, you can also choose more obscure grips. However, if you’re a beginner, try out these three first to see what fits best.

​Do It Yourself

If you think you can handle it, you can learn how to drill a bowling ball at home. This allows you maximum customization. However, you need to be careful. It would help if you start off practice drilling on some older bowling balls so that you can get a feel of what you want to do. This also avoids the expense of spending money on completely new bowling balls.

​The first step though is measuring your span. This is the distance from the base of your thumb to your middle and index fingers, at the point they will bend. You need this measurement so that you would be able to comfortable drill holes that won’t stretch your hand uncomfortably. For conventional grips, this is the second knuckle point. For fingertip grips, this is the first knuckle point.

​For an accurate measurement, you can buy an adjustable bowling ball. These measuring balls allow you to move around the grip. With this you can accurately measure the distance of the holes that you want to make.

​If you don’t have access to that, you can actually measure your span using a compass and a calipers. For a more practical approach, you can put your hand on your bowling ball at the place you want to grip and place your fingers in a comfortable grip position. Just mark where you’re currently holding. You will also need to measure your fingers depending on your grip. This will determine the depth of the hole that you need to drill.

​Once you’re done measuring, you should determine the angles of the grip. A comfortable angle will allow you to better control the ball and also affect the tilt of rotation. It can increase the power of your throw and allow you to hook better.


Now that you’ve got all the measurements, it’s time to actually start drilling. For this to happen though, you’re going to need some special tools. First, you’re going to need a clamp to hold the ball steady. Next, you’re going to need a bowling ball drill. A simple handheld one should be easy enough to find. Using a normal drill can damage your ball. Finally you’re going to need the right drill bits to get the job done.

​The procedure is pretty simple. Clamp down the ball so that it is held steady. Your grip position should be visible to you. Next, you then mark the places where you will be drilling your holes.

​Take note that you need to avoid the pin that was originally used in making the ball. Drilling into it would void your warranty and ruin the ball. It is clearly marked though so it should be easy enough to avoid.

​Now, it’s time to select the right drill bits. Experiment first with a few blocks of wood. This should give you a chance to see which drill bits will create comfortable hole to insert your fingers in.

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​Once you’ve got the right drill size, you can then start drilling. Start with the thumb holes and note the depth of the hole. Don’t drill too deep since it will remove material from the bowling ball. You repeat the process for the other two holes. Finish it off by attaching a sanding attachment and sanding the insides of the holes to give a smooth grip.

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I'm Jeffrey D. Tillman a Blogger born and raised in North Carolina. Enjoying bowling in leisure time is definitely a good habit that I have kept since 2010. With that experience, I hope you will find some interesting stuff about bowling on this website.

5 thoughts on “How to Drill a Bowling Ball (Bowling Ball Drilling Guide 2024)”

  1. Question: Is it possible to use a recently drilled ball as a measurement for a new ball? Meaning, can you use another ball’s measurements without you being there to drill a new ball? Stupid question, but legitimate reason. Thanks!

  2. It is almost impossible to drill a ball at home with a straight drill press. Think about it unless you run your finger pitches opposite of each other, a round ball is going to make the finger holes run together causing a thin bridge that will crack.


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