Welcome back everyone. Today is the day! Welcome to the 3rd annual Tamer’s Favorite Bowling Balls for the 2021-2022 season. I’ll be sharing with you my personal favorite bowling balls of the last year or so. Since this is my opinion, I pretty much make up my own rules. I will stick with balls that are still currently for sale. They don’t necessarily have to be recent releases. This is certainly not meant to say these are the “best” balls but more my personal favorites to slot in my bag. As I did last year, I will stick with the arsenal creation methodology to talk about my favorites. This way, it makes it easier to think about. If you haven’t watched the arsenal building video, this is a must to really understand how I frame this out.
With that said, I’ll be going through this under that construct meaning I’ll discuss my favorite Strong Defined, Strong Control, Mid Defined, Mid Control, Mid Late, and Specialty balls.
Without further ado, let’s look at Strong Defined. Generically, these tend to be surfaced asymmetric balls. With the “strong” nomenclature, we are looking for balls that handle volume, not necessarily hook a lot. Defined usually means that there is definition to the move off the end of the pattern. Don’t think about it as a sharp move necessarily but rather one that will go regardless of the pattern because the core is getting into a roll before the end of the pattern. Therefore this is the biggest ball in your bag typically. Firstly I will say that all 5 of these balls can easily be chosen for my bag in this slot. So the order is tricky but it is what it is in terms of my opinion.
Let’s start with #5, the Roto Grip Gem. Likes: It’s super strong, fits well in the spot, typically overwhelms the pattern so you know it will hook. Dislikes: Bubble gum colors are not my favorite. Occasionally it hooks out losing steam, feeling like it just floats.
#4 is the Motiv Jackal Legacy. Tough one because I’ve had this in my bag for a long time and I still do if I want a “Motiv” bag. Likes: the roll shape and strong enough to handle most high volume conditions with some versatility to be usable to overwhelm the pattern in terms of control. Dislikes: Not much really. Doesn’t typically appear “sharp” which appears a little smoother than other strong defined balls.
#3 is the Motiv Jackal Ghost. Firstly I will say this could easily be a consistent #1 for lots of bowlers. It really works. Super versatile. Great shape. You might ask why it’s not #1. I guess the only thing I can say is that sometimes I need something stronger for my Strong Defined and the 2 in front of it have a great shape and are stronger.
#2 is the 900 Global Reality. The Reality is plenty strong to fit in this category. A little more defined shape than the Gem and a little less than the Proton Physix in relation to the Storm family. Because it is somewhat of a Goldilocks, it was seen quite a bit on TV. Overwhelm the higher volume patterns while still consistently hooking.
My #1 is the Storm Proton Physix. Again these could be a toss up between brands but I feel like this is the one that ticks all the boxes for me. Very strong for the highest volume patterns. Has the more defined shape in the group due to the core shape. At times it might be a bit too much downlane while you still want a strong ball but no ball is absolutely perfect. However, the Proton Physix is my choice for this shootout.
With the Strong Control I’m kind of on the fence with this group. In previous years, there was one clear winner for me. That winner is still available in the Phaze II. So you know it will be on this list but still #1?
#5 is the 900 Global Zen Master. It’s very strong. Very much control. But somehow not quite the matching the shape of the Zen and so hard to envision it as a compliment. Sometimes too controlled and not enough downlane motion for me.
#4 is the Motiv Pride. I really wanted to enjoy this a little more but sometimes it didn’t quite fit the slot for me. It fell to #4 because I found myself still liking the Rogue Assassin more often which I still have. Just a little more predictable for me.
#3 is the Idol Helios. Clearly fits in this category. This ball almost feels to me like how urethane might feel to someone with 500RPM rev rate. Just really controlled. And just like urethane for me, sometimes it doesn’t get up the hill. But if I can stay in front of myself, looks great. A little more condition specific makes this #3 for me.
#2 will be a little controversial and that’s the Storm Phaze II. This is pretty much the stalwart in this slot. It just plain works. It’s issue is it starts out very strong. It also has a little bit of an asym shape initially. However after 30 games, it turns into one of the best strong controls to ever hit the market.
I’m going out on a limb and calling the 900 Global Zen Soul my #1 strong control ball. Some might hate me for this. I generally like to give balls more time but it made a very good first impression. It is very strong to start. Has a strong but clearly the rounded continuous shape of a big symmetric core. I hope I don’t regret slotting this as my favorite Strong Control. It is a bit stronger than I like OOB but so was the Phaze II. But I have a big warning to it, if it even thinks about not doing the business, I have a Phaze II waiting in the wings to take its spot back.
I struggle with the Mid Defined category. I feel like this one needs an asterisk like baseball players in the steroid era… I just mean the whole saga has tainted a few balls in this category. Additionally, I still find myself constantly going back to my all time personal favorites I still have which are the Storm Snap Lock, Hammer Black Widow Pink from EBI, Storm Dual Lock international, and Roto Grip No Rules Pearl.
Phaze III is my number #4 from the current crop. It has withstood the test of time and is still available. It still has the shape of a mid defined ball.
Roto Grip UFO Alert is the #3 ball and also carries the asterisk cloud from the USBC ban in national competition. With it still being legal in league play and especially the PBA, you see it a lot still. It fits nicely even though I found it a little rounder than typical for Storm shiny asyms.
The 900 Global Altered Reality is my #2. Let’s add another asterisk here. Prior to that, this was a go to for me for a good period of time. I like a little bit more clear definition off the end of the pattern and this ball did that well. But you can’t get this nor the UFO Alert anymore.
#1 is the Motiv Mythic Jackal. This is a legit shiny asym from Motiv that really fits the mold that I have for this category pretty squarely. If I’m not bringing a classic in the bag for this slot, the Mythic Jackal is the 1 I pull out of the pile.
This category has some amazing balls in it but a huge variation of shapes and materials that actually fit in here. Big core vs small cores, solid to hybrid to pearl to urethane-like covers. This slot is surprisingly hard to fill. Ultimately, you should put the ball you like most in here. The one you trust to tell you anything you need to know is the ball you slot here. Some will love me some will hate me on this.
My #4 is the Motiv Venom Shock. This is a ball I always have on standby for this slot but doesn’t always make the bag. Part of the issue is that it really likes surface for me and with that surface, this ball is bigger and more angular than I want sometimes in this slot. Blasphemy right?
#3 will be the Roto Grip Rubicon UC3. Yes, a pseudo-urethane ball in the mid control slot. Again, another ball that’s always on standby but comes with only if I want a touch slower motion downlane than the Venom Shock. This ball is way stronger than any other urethane ball I’ve seen and really rolls much more like a control reactive than a urethane ball. In fact sometimes it’s actually just a bit much for the slot.
#2 is the 900 Global Zen. Zen #2? Well it feels like just about everyone has a Zen these days. Huge core, shiny pearl cover. The ball is extremely versatile, bottom line. It’s challenge is some people find it too clean for that slot. I find it to be so versatile, it can cause a little more overlap than I like with other balls in the bag. Weird to punish a ball for being too versatile but I’ve talked ad nauseam in other reviews how good of a ball this is so I won’t try to justify the spot any further.
Would you be surprised to find the Motiv Blue Coral Venom as my #1 for the Mid Control slot? Well you really shouldn’t be and I’ll explain why. It has an asym version of the Shock gear core. Instead of the Shock’s solid cover, it has a hybrid with 4000 grit. So where as the Venom Shock can be a bit too strong and angular due to keeping it fresh with surface, the pearl in the Blue Coral cover gives it some length that I use to a little better effect in this slot. Helps separate it a bit more from the strong control which the Shock can approach a bit. With that said, the Blue Coral also has the necessary backend to fit this benchmark slot really nicely.
What I will say is this. All 4 balls are around and I do bring different ones on different days depending on the sport pattern and the relationship to the rest of the bag. The characteristics being so different between them, makes it pretty easy to pick which one I want to bring on any given night.
Now onto the Mid Late category. This should be the cleanest ball that responds after the end of the pattern. Typically comes into play when the lanes break down and open up. You want stored energy for punch and carry. This slot is interesting for me. If you have a higher rev rate, you can get away with weaker cores and clean covers here. For me, I tend to still prefer bigger cores in those cleaner covers where the cover gives me the length while the core gives me the extra punch I need. I still have a Brunswick Melee Jab that I enjoy in this slot which I will give an honorable mention, along with the Storm Hyroad Pearl. I tend to get a bigger motion with the Jab so I would choose between them depending on the volume I’m bowling on.
#4 is the Motiv Supra Enzo. This ball was surprisingly versatile. It has a shined up Infusion hybrid cover on top of the High Impulse core which is on the bigger side. It could rank higher but there is something about the other balls that makes me choose them more often.
That takes us to #3 which is the Roto Grip Rubicon UC2. This ball has the very traditional look to the late and booming shape shiny pearls out of Utah. It fits pretty squarely for me here. It’s almost a toss up between the UC2 and my #2.
#2 is the Motiv Iron Forge. The Iron Forge has the same formula I mentioned at the outset, clean cover that gets length with the heavy rolling core. Maybe for some, this and the UC2 could be a touch further upstream in the arsenal but for me, they are great in the Mid Late slot. The difference between #2 and #3 is just that little bit more rolly nature of the Iron Forge which matches that smidge better for me.
#1 is the Storm Dark Code. Maybe folks were wondering why this ball hasn’t been mentioned yet, maybe in mid defined. However, for me, the cover is so clean and the ball makes a way more controlled backend than I typically put in the Mid defined shape that it clearly was downstream for me. And while again, it could be considered somewhat of a toss up between #1, 2, and 3, the Dark Code is something very different than the other 2 for me. Due to it’s added control, I feel pretty comfortable bringing it frequently to sport shot patterns as well. Honestly, I would say it’s pretty close between the Dark Code and Iron Forge in terms of which one I might bring but because it’s more of a 52 to 48 in favor of the Dark Code, it makes the #1 slot.
I just want to mention a couple of other balls that a feel are noteworthy from my perspective for various reasons.
The Motiv Blue Tank is the one I will call out. It’s a urethane like ball that has somewhat of a traditional look that I have found actually useful for me. I don’t have the rev rate where urethane typically comes into play to control fresh sport patterns but in this case, I just use a bit more surface than higher rev bowlers and I get that look. The Blue Tank has been the one that I bring when I want to do that.
Here is my final and newest category for my favorites. The winner here is the 900 Global Burner Solid. This ball is simply more than the sum of its parts. It hooks more than you would expect for the price. It has a lower diff control type core yet still hooks a ton. It confuses things because it quite easily fits in the Mid Control category. The ball simply stands out because it has a reliable motion that is bigger than it’s price and generally speaking is a massive value. To my eye it’s one of my favorite motions.
Well, that’s it. What do you think? What are your favorites? Comment down below. Don’t forget to subscribe, hit the bell to get notifications and like if you enjoyed the content. See you next time!