USBC clarifies intent on gripping layouts interpretation

ARLINGTON, Texas – The United States Bowling Congress Equipment Specifications and Certifications Team recently released clarification on the use of exotic drillings/gripping layouts and new rule language for tournaments that have limits on bowling balls.

The drillings reviewed were “triangle grip”, “Wi-Fit” or “Duo” grip, and bowling balls where the ball has multiple gripping orientations.

USBC’s clarification was related to a concern of fairness when tournaments have limits on the number of bowling balls that can be used for competition. A ball with the drilling layouts mentioned above should count as multiple balls on an equipment registration card and USBC drafted rule language to support this intent for all tournaments that have ball limits. (See A version of the rule language was published in the Junior Gold Competitor’s Guide and 2017 Women’s Championships rules.

However, the published rule language did not account individuals who deliver the ball with only two fingers and had a weight hole or thumb hole where the gripping orientation doesn’t change, nor did it take into consideration a plastic ball with a similar drilling.

The rule, as published, would have limited bowlers who use a two-handed approach as they would be required to have each ball counted as two balls. This was not the intent of the rule’s application.

Because of these issues, USBC has updated the rule for clarification. The rule now reads:

A “Wi-Fit” or “Duo” grip bowling ball with finger grips cannot be used in USBC competition because the hole not used would be deemed as a weight hole, and according to USBC specifications no interchangeable device may be used in a weight hole. 


Bowling balls drilled to allow the bowler to grip the ball in different orientations will count as a ball for each gripping orientation used to deliver the ball in that competition, with the exception of:

     1. A bowling ball with a “Triangle” grip will count as six balls.  

     2. The “Wi-Fit” or “Duo” grip, will count as two balls.


Individuals who violate this rule are subject to disqualification from the tournament. 

The update to the rule will not require a ball with thumb hole or weight hole to be counted twice unless the ball is a legally drilled ball with the “Wi-Fit” or “Duo” grip, or if the ball has different gripping orientation and is used in that manner. This also will allow tournament directors to have a more restrictive rule, if they choose.

The rule is in place for the 2017 Open Championships (Rule 8 found here), 2017 Women’s Championships (Rule 10), and the 2016 U.S. Open (Bowling equipment). Rules for the 2016 Junior Gold Championships are here and for the 2016 Youth Open are here.