Everything You need to know about Bowling Ball Re-drilling and Plugging

bowling ball redrilling and pluggingAll of us, at least once in our lives have owned a plugged and re-drilled bowling ball or thought of getting one re-drilled. You’ve probably bought a second-hand ball, or you got it from a friend- either way, the drilling layout is less likely to suit you. Hence, you must have thought of getting it plugged and then re-drill it to a new hole configuration of your choice. Are you in a similar situation right now? Well, then you must be wondering what you need to know about bowling ball re-drilling and plugging. Worry no more, we have got you covered!

What Exactly is Bowling Ball Re-drilling?

Let me guess, you have no idea what to do with your bowling ball that doesn’t fit your hand. And, you also don’t know what is bowling ball re-drilling. Well, let us enlighten you.

The prefix ‘re’ means again and you already know what bowling ball drilling is. So Bowling ball re-drilling means basically drilling your ball again. So, when it is needed? When the bowling ball’s hole configuration needs to be customized so it fits with your hand and fingers measurement so that you can bowl better with comfort. The holes that are already in the ball are first plugged with some substances and then the ball is drilled again following the new suitable configuration.

What are the pros and cons of bowling ball re-drilling?

Suppose you have got an old bowling ball, whether it’s a gift or you purchased it yourself- doesn’t matter. So once you decided to play with it, you noticed that this bowling ball seems strange or uncomfortable when you grip or hold it. You may even feel some pain when you swing it. Now, what is the smart thing to do here? Throw away the bowling ball or get it customized a little so it can be reused? Definitely, customization. And how can you do that? Bowling ball plugging and re-drilling, of course.

The pros of plugging and re-drilling a bowling ball are that it’s cheaper than buying a brand new bowling ball. Plus, it doesn’t impact the overall performance that much as long as the coverstock and the core structure are maintained properly. Oppositely, the cons are that are involved with this procedure is doing it several times continuously. The bowling ball can easily crack and the core will get damaged, and as a result, you will see the terrible performance.

Can you fill bowling ball holes?

Yes, you certainly can! Filling the bowling ball holes is called plugging. Whether you want to do it yourself or get it done in a pro shop- that is entirely up to you. Although we would highly recommend you to take your bowling ball to a pro shop when it comes to plugging or re-drilling.

The amount of money you will spend for filling your bowling ball is not super cheap though. If the ball you’re willing to plug and re-drill is made of urethane or reactive resin, then it should be okay, but only once. The cost of re-drilling is almost same as drilling cost. The cost of a re-drilling service varies between $40 to $60. Whatever it will cost you, you can surely get a plastic ball with that price. So don’t think about plugging or re-drilling your bowling ball if it is made of plastic/polyester. If your bowling ball is a fancy one with a unique core and customized coverstock, the price of this service can go up to $150.

If the bowling ball has already been plugged and re-drilled once, then it’s better to avoid repeating the process. Re-doing these processes can jeopardize the entire bowling ball, including the weight block structure, and weaken the strength of the coverstock, and during the process, it may even crack. But if the ball seems durable enough and it was only been drilled once before and no re-drilling, go ahead, try it out!

When your bowling ball holes will be plugged, they will be slightly overfilled at first. Usually, a strong epoxy resin is used to do this step. A strong substance is needed because a bowling ball is thrown quite hard and fast, so it needs to endure that. Before the holes are filled with the resin mixture, a special kind of putty is applied around the holes. This step is important so that the ball doesn’t have any flat spot on it. Once the holes are filled and the epoxy resin is completely dry and has solidified, the holes are sanded or filed with sandpaper or a large file or a grinder. After the surface is fully plain, time for the next big step- the re-drilling!

Can you re-drill holes in a bowling ball?

Yes! You definitely can. This is a common thing to do when you have got a second-hand bowling ball and your hand doesn’t match with the holes drilled in it. So what can you do to use the ball? Of course, get it plugged and then re-drilled to repurpose the bowling ball.

Before you put your bowling ball under the drilling machine, make sure the coverstock is restored to its original condition. If you see noticeable cracks or nicks, then it’s safe to not re-drill the ball because it may just shatter the ball. If you have all the bowling ball drilling equipment, you can do it yourself at home, or you can just take it to a pro shop for proper speculation and re-drilling service by a professional.

Do plugging and re-drilling a bowling ball affect performance?

What you need to know about bowling ball re-drilling and plugging is that they do affect the mass properties of the ball. But is that a good or a bad thing? Well, one thing we know for sure is that if you plug and re-drill your bowling ball multiple times, it will undoubtedly weaken the coverstock strength and damage the core. And once the original structure of the weight block is altered, there’s no going back. Your bowling ball will never be the same again.

But what if you do it once? Well, if you want to think about the ball motion, plugging and re-drilling won’t affect it much. But if the holes are deeper than they should be or drilled in a place where the mass from the core got removed from the ball, then you will see a significant change in bowling ball performance. So it is always wise to get it done by professionals who will scan and calculate everything with special equipment before plugging or drilling a bowling ball.


So there you have it! These are the basics, pros, and cons of bowling ball re-drilling and plugging you need to know before you do it to your bowling ball. Although it’s wise to get it done by a professional, we aren’t discouraging you from doing it yourself if you’re confident enough. But before you do it I would highly recommend you consult with a pro shop operator and get your bowling ball checked by them. Good luck!


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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