Is A Bowling Ball Hollow? What Bowling Balls Are Made Of

If you call yourself a bowling enthusiast or even want to become one, having a thorough understanding of the game is critical. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned professional or a beginner, just setting out to find your niche.

Bowling balls are undeniably the most vital component of the bowling game, and no bowling will be possible without them in the first place.

If you are interested in the game, a fundamental question might naturally occur to you.  Is a bowling ball hollow or filled with any material inside? The answer is that they are not hollow. They are typically made of reactive resin, urethane, or rubber and contain a weight block inside.

We will discuss the inside of a bowling ball, is a bowling ball hollow or not, and how many materials make bowling balls. 

So, stay with us and read it all the way through to significantly improve your knowledge regarding the concept of bowling balls.

The Common Misconception Concerning Bowling Balls

There is a widely prevalent misconception regarding bowling balls being hollow. In reality, these balls are spheres that are dense-looking. You can, however, get your customized bowling ball according to the preferred weights that you specify.

It is why many people believe that bowling balls are supposed to be hollow from the inside.

Another reason contributing to this misconception is the finger holes within the balls run considerably deep. So, it inevitably gives off an impression of the entire ball being similarly deep and hollow.

But the correct answer to the question is a bowling ball hollow, simply put, it is no. They are solid, both from the inside as well as the outside.

What Is The Inside Of Bowling Balls Made Of?

Now that we have successfully established that bowling balls are not hollow, the next question that needs attention is what makes up the inside of these balls.

The interior of these bowling balls contains a ceramic material in nature or dense plastic, coupled with a weight block in the center.

Typically, all the bowling balls are of the same size. The only difference between bowling ball weights is the density of the filling material and the core material.

It is the reason behind the bowling balls made for children weighing only about six pounds. On the other hand, the weight of a full-fledged ball can be anywhere between 12 to 16 pounds. 

Custom bowling balls are created with design and filled to a weight that is comfortable for you. But at the same time, bowling balls should ideally not weigh any more than 16 pounds.

The outer shells of the bowling balls are usually from reactive resin, plastic, or urethane. They also used to be made of rubber at one point. The ball center is composed of tiny glass microbubbles, some filler material, and a metal core.

The remainder of this article discusses each of these materials in greater detail.

Materials That Bowling Balls Are Made Of

Ball manufacturers have perfected the art of making bowling balls thanks to components that are technologically advanced. Two main objects that go into the making of these balls are the weight block and filler materials.

At present, there are a plethora of diverse cores available for several types of ball reactions. Some cores produce a violent look or a smoother, less aggressive response depending on the materials used.

Let us have a look at some of the manufacturing materials for bowling balls.

Reactive Resin

According to many people, reactive resin is the best thing to happen to bowling balls. Once reactive resins came into the scene of bowling balls, it generously provided bowlers with the ability to get high strikes and an incredible amount of hook potential.

Once the liquid resin is transformed into a hard material by a solidifying process, it incorporates a cover stock substance. When we say reactive resin, it does not refer to how the resin reacts when you push the ball on the lane.

Instead, it denotes the reaction process when it gets manufactured as the additives get mixed. This results in the high-friction and porous surface that makes up the bowling balls, and the one that everyone has come to prefer these days.

The best part about balls made of reactive resin is that they can provide a quick and aggressive look on the exterior but can be pretty smooth to the feel while you go for a spin with it at the same time.


Polyurethane is yet another advancement in the domain of bowling balls. Typically referred to as urethane, these balls came from an entirely different material from what we know solid urethane to be.

Urethane balls proved to be a complete game-changer when used for the first time. They are known to generate an increased amount of friction compared to rubber or plastic balls when released on the lane.

This attribute also helps the urethane balls hit pockets at an entry angle considerably more significant than what a strike is likely to produce.

At present, urethane balls are used widely by competitive or professional bowlers for all these reasons. Apart from that, they are also frequently used as spare balls or even strike balls too.

When it comes to broken down or dry conditions, urethane can prove to be particularly effective as a spare ball. Unlike other balls that tend to be high-end, urethane does not gather nearly as much hook in comparison.

Plastic Or Polyester

The new generation of bowling balls was made possible by advances in materials science. This facilitated ball manufacturers to come up with plastic or polyester balls that we see in abundance today.

At present, polyester or plastic-made bowling balls are extensively used by competitive and recreational bowlers today. To this day, the balls on the rack at almost every bowling alley are mostly always plastic. 

The reason behind such widespread use is that they are inexpensive to produce, long-lasting, and ideal for recreational bowlers who are not very fretful about performance but enjoy the game nonetheless.

In addition, these polyester-made bowling balls elicit minimal reaction when released on the lanes too. Competitive bowlers frequently have several bowling balls, one of which is usually a plastic ball. But those are typically kept as a spare during the bowling tournaments.

One advantage of using a polyester ball is that they altogether remove the oil pattern from the equation. It allows you to throw your spares straight effectively.

Hardwood Or Rubber

Initially, the primitive bowling balls were from a hardwood called lignum vitae. Following that, for many years at a stretch, the bowling balls used to be wooden. It was the practice until the first rubber ball came about.

The first bowling ball made of rubber was called Evertrue, and since then, the popularity of rubber balls has leapfrogged into the limelight. For almost 60 years or more, rubber balls dominated the bowling scene, regardless of it being for competitive or recreational purposes.

However, in the present day, rubber bowling balls have almost been pushed to the verge of extinction. Due to the availability of better and far improved materials today, there hardly exists any reason compelling enough to keep using them in the 21st century.

Proactive Particle

The proactive particle is a cover stock material shaped like a snow tire having chains in ridges. It gives the surface a rough or bumpy feeling, and in turn, allowing it to dig into the surface of the lane.

It helps to create the maximum possible friction when it comes to lanes that are heavily soiled. If you happen to be an advanced or intermediate bowler, a proactive particle bowling ball is something you should strive to have in your arsenal for effective performance.

Final Thoughts On Bowling Balls

So. when it comes to the question “Is a bowling ball hollow?” the answer is safely a clear no. However, regarding the composition of bowling balls, the answer is not as quickly straightforward.

Bowling balls have progressed by leaps and bounds since the initial rubber or hardwood spheres and their basic composition structures. Thanks to technological advancements, the materials are structurally and chemically tweaked to maximize their effectiveness and efficiency.

If you know what you need or happen to be a professional bowler, you should go for a ball with a lot of hook potential. As a beginner, you would be spoilt for choices because anything would help you learn at this stage.

The manufacturing processes of bowling balls have dramatically evolved over the years, and today, the preferred method of production is that of the two-piece ball.

We hope that this article has helped you learn a great deal about bowling balls and that you will want to expand your knowledge further. Happy bowling!