What is PAP in Bowling and How to Find Your’s?

bowling papPAP is the abbreviation of “Positive Axis Point”. Many bowlers who have been bowling for years still don’t understand what it is in a bowling ball. The PAP of a bowling ball is connected with the axis rotation, ball’s skid phase, hook, and overall roll. If you don’t have the right PAP, it will significantly impact your bowling style. So if you don’t have a clear idea about this topic, and wondering what is PAP in bowling, let us enlighten you.  

What is PAP in bowling?

As mentioned, PAP is the Positive Axis Point. When you throw a bowling ball on the lane, it revolves around a particular axis. PAP is the axis that your bowling ball follows while rolling down the lane. Let us give you a better example. What do we all know about our earth? Yes, it is round, and it spins on its own axis. Now picture your bowling ball like our earth. Yes, the bowling ball also rolls on an axis.

There are 2 types of axis points that are pictured through a bowling ball when it rolls. One is the positive axis point (PAP) which you already know and another is the negative axis point (NAP). Let’s discuss the PAP first. The PAP of your bowling ball is determined by how you release it on the lane and how it is different for everyone. To get the best results out of your bowling ball, finding out your PAP is a necessity.

How to find your PAP?

There are actually several ways you can find your PAP. And, once you find out your PAP, the bowling pro shop operator or your bowling ball driller will gladly follow that and suggest you their preferred method with you before drilling the holes. So without further ado, let’s learn about how to find your PAP.

  1. First and foremost, get yourself a white tape and cut a piece of that into about a 1″ square.
  2. Next, you have to place the piece of white tape on the side of your bowling ball. The side has to be the opposite of your track. So if you’re a right-handed bowler, place the tape on the right side, and if you’re a lefty, place it on the left side.
  3. Now, pick up your ball and roll it down the lane. What you have to do here is, adjust the tape until it creates a stable dot on the selected side of the ball (where you placed the tape) through the front part of the lane.
  4. After that you have some bigger tasks coming. You will have to find out the vertical and horizontal measurements in reference to the center point of your grip. For that, you will also have to find out the center of your grip which is the point that you can find exactly in-between your thumb and finger holes.
  5. Once you have these mentioned measurements, it’s time to draw a horizontal line that will intersect that point. After that, extend the horizontal line toward the piece of tape you have placed on the ball. Keep on extending until you reach the distance of the tape. Now, you have to measure this distance.
  6. Now comes the best part! If you see the white tape isn’t directly on the line, you will have to draw a vertical line that will intersect the previously drawn horizontal line. Extend this vertical line up or down to the center point of the tape. Like before, now measure the distance.
  7. And Voila! Now you know how to measure and find out your PAP! For example, 5 1/4 left x 3/4″ up.

How important is PAP in bowling?

Let me explain how important PAP is with an example. Let’s say, you and your friend have bought the same bowling ball. You both got your ball drilled the same way too. But when you went to play with your friend, you can see his bowling strikes are more than your strikes, even though you both have the same bowling average. Now, why is that happening?

Well, it may seem a bit confusing, but what you don’t understand is that the layout that your friend is using is helping him create a completely different ball motion and the layout is perfect because his PAP is different than yours. So if you don’t find out your PAP before drilling your bowling ball, you will never get the best ball reaction and motion the lane and unknowingly blame that on something else. So, I hope you can understand how important PAP is in bowling.

What does Pin to PAP mean?

The Pin-to-PAP in bowling is the distance between the bowling pin and your positive axis point (PAP). The Pin-to-PAP indicates how much of the flare potential of the ball’s core you use will be controlled. The Pin-to-PAP distance controls how the core of your bowling ball is oriented right at the moment of its release. Generally, the distance can be anywhere between 0 and 6 ¾”. So interestingly, this distance can be almost 1/4 of the bowling ball.


We know that there are many different ways of releasing a bowling ball. Moreover, we can also see various types of drilling styles and configurations. But drilling a bowling ball as per your PAP is very crucial and often forgotten. If you want to see the best reaction out of your bowling ball, you can’t ignore the PAP. Nowadays, pro shop operators measure out your PAP before drilling the ball which is great! If they do forget this step, you should remind them yourself! Combining PAP with your chosen proper layout is the best thing you can do to your ball and make the most out of your money spent for the bowling ball, including buying and drilling.


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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