To preface everything that is going to follow; I have extraordinarily strong sense of loyalty. Whether that be to a person or a brand. I have been bowling for about 30 years. I have worked in bowling centers and bowling pro shops, been in and around the industry. I have a lot of knowledge and experience. Granted, the knowledge and experience I have pales in comparison to actual professional bowler who live, sleep, eat, and breath the sport. So, when I have questions, I know who or where to go to, to get those answers. In this case however, there isn’t an outlet for answers to this puzzle. That being said, let’s get into it…:
The bowling industry has 11 major bowling ball brands (and dozens of smaller brands) amongst 3 manufactures. The biggest of the manufacturers is Brunswick. Brunswick has 7 brands under their umbrella, since they acquired Ebonite Bowling International (EBI) and their 4 brands, Ebonite, Hammer, Columbia 300, and Track, last year, and moved the manufacturing to Mexico.
Why is this relevant? Well, I’m gonna tell ya…
Remember when I said I was loyal, that also means to the “Made in America” brand. The problem is, this merger and move has put me in a bind, as I have been loyal to the Track brand (and by extension EBI as a whole) for years. Now, I’m not on staff or have any kind of contract or anything like that, but my sense of loyalty is tested. If I wish to stay loyal to one, I will be disloyal to the other. However, from an economics view, I will choose a new brand of bowling ball to use.
The remaining major brands are, Storm, Roto Grip, 900 Global, and Motiv. I became a fan and loyal to Track before they were bought or had merged with any other company. Granted, there weren’t any “major” manufacturers back then. Track was a smaller company that was coming into it’s own after it’s own rebranding just a few years before, when it was known as Star Trak (had I heard about them before, I would have been on that band wagon just because of the sci-fi connection) and they were making come cutting edge equipment. Their original Triton Heat bowling ball was used by more players winning tournament on tour that year than pretty much any other single ball before. Now the only “independent” company in the industry is Motiv Bowling, seeing as , the owner of Storm Bowling, Bill Chrisman, also owns Roto Grip and 900 Global, even though 900 Global is still a manufacturer apart from Storm/Roto Grip, they do have their equipment made in the same facility as the other 2 brands.
I have used and owned bowling balls from every one of these companies. Relatively recently, even. I find it painful to have to think about changing. There are some of Track’s bowling balls that work so well for me. The core design and cover composition has been consistently balanced. In the experiences I have had with other companies, their lines don’t match that well with my game and style. Ultimately, it probably doesn’t matter. Every manufacture makes an amazing product and has equipment across their line that matches with each of the other company’s designs. In the end, it’s just about finding the right bowling ball with the right layout for the right conditions to fit your game and make some big scores