USBC Rule Changes Coming August 2020

USBC Rule Changes Coming August 2020

Posted by Robert Brandt on Jan 11th 2020

As the vast majority of you are well aware, last year the United States Bowling Congress elected to eliminate all balance holes effective August 1, 2020.  All balls that have balance holes currently will need to have those balance holes plugged by that date in order to be considered "legal" under the new rules.  No thumb or two handed bowlers using equipment that currently have a thumb hole or balance hole will also need to be plugged by that date.  With this rule they have changed the restrictions of the static weight of a ball.  Any ball over 10 pounds can now have +/- 3 ounces of right/left side +/- 3 ounces of finger/thumb weight and be considered legal as long as it does not have a balance hole drilled in it.  Previously this was rule +/- 1 ounce of right/left side +/- 1 ounces of finger/thumb weight to be considered legal.  This change allows anyone that currently has a balance hole drilled in them the ability to plug that hole without having to change the layout completely to make the ball legal under the new rules.  It allows for much more freedom when drilling new equipment.  The +/- 3 ounce rule is in affect now, so any balls drilled can now be drilled to those requirements

For years many bowlers have requested certain pin positions and top weights when ordering bowling balls.  Getting balls with certain specs were sometimes necessary depending on the desired layout that was planned for that ball in order to keep it within the USBC static weight rules.  With the change to the +/- 3 ounce rule, the placement of the CG (Center of Gravity) on the ball is no longer something that is important when laying out a ball.  The pin (symmetric and asymmetric balls) and mass bias (asymmetric balls) are what should be used to determine the desired layout of a ball you are drilling.  This has been debated for years, however the ball companies have done research on this and confirmed that wherever the CG ends up will not effect the ball reaction as long and will be legal as long as it meets the new +/- 3 ounce rule.  You can view one manufactures research in this video -

What does this mean when purchasing and drilling a new ball?  With the +/- 3 ounce rule is in affect for any ball without a balance hole, the pin to cg distance and top weight are no longer an important request when ordering a new ball.  This may sound confusing as for many years bowlers may have been told that you need to order a ball with a certain pin position and/or top weight in order to get the desired reaction, however this is no longer true with these new rules and without the use of balance holes. Staff is always available to answer any questions you may have.  Please feel free to call us at 800-523-9220 or email us at