In a recent decision by the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), changes have been made to the rules and specifications regarding the minimum hardness of traditional urethane and urethane-like bowling balls.
Effective from January 6, 2024, the minimum manufacturing hardness of traditional urethane and urethane-like equipment will be raised to 78.0HD for all PBA Tour levels.
The decision to raise the minimum hardness requirement was based on data obtained from testing during the 2023 PBA season. Testing has primarily focused on the hardness level of urethane equipment.
By adding 5 points to the current minimum hardness of 73.0HD, the new minimum of 78.0HD was determined to ensure that, even with prolonged use, the balls would not fall below the required hardness level.
Before being allowed in PBA Tour competition, all urethane or urethane-like bowling balls will need to be verified to meet this minimum hardness.
PBA has been facing issues with the hardness of urethane bowling balls in recent years. Some traditional urethane balls have been measured to become softer over time, which can affect their performance and the playing environment.
The PBA Tour will be the sole recipient of the new regulation, while the existing urethane balls will remain unaffected and eligible for use in all other tournaments.
Neil Stremmel, PBA Director of Rules and Equipment, has provided a detailed breakdown of the decision-making process. The full report can be found here.