How long does a bowling ball last? This is a question I have gotten a lot. I will mainly be talking about the newer reactive bowling balls. I will not go into too much detail about the plastic, rubber, or urethane balls.
I also must note that this is my personal opinion and experience only. This question could go into some detail and I may address it more in later posts. A plastic ball could last for quite awhile, but you will get lots of chipping and cracking.
These balls do not absorb much lane conditioner and have a semi-hard cover even though it is brittle. You could have one of these balls for many years or only a few months. Remember, these are not high performance bowling balls so scoring will suffer.
Urethane bowling balls have some oil abortion and have a durable cover, but usually do not have much track flare. They do not score as well as a reactive ball. These balls could last you a couple years if cleaned and maintained properly. Some problems are there are not many companies that make these balls anymore and they do not score as high as reactive balls. A reactive ball scores higher normally, but the longevity of the ball is short so you will sacrifice performance and scoring.
I have seen some reactive bowling balls only last 30 to 50 games, yet I have seen some work well for a few years. Now the lane center’s choice in conditioner seems to play a factor, but I have no scientific proof of this.
Some conditioners seem to have properties that kill the ball faster. One factor is the oil absortion rate. A lot of these balls are made to soak up oil like a sponge. It only makes sense the faster the ball is designed to soak up this lane oil, the faster it will lose it's hooking action.
My point is a highly absorbing bowling ball will not last as long as one that has a slower absorbing rate. These are a couple factors. The question was how long will my bowling ball last. With the new high performance balls, the one time a week bowler will probably have to get a new ball every year or two because most the time the ball only last an average of 100 to 200 games.
If you bowl a 33 week season at 3 games a night that would be 99 games. Then add probably at least one practise game weekly and you would equal 132 games a season. If you bowl more than that let say 2 or 3 times a week, you are looking at 2 or 3 balls a year for top performance. Proper cleaning and maintaining your ball can help make it last longer. In brief, the more you bowl, the more new equipment you will need.