How Much Does Bowling Ball Drilling Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

Bowling ball drilling is simply the process of creating new finger holes in the bowling ball by using a drill.

If you are a professional bowler or simply an avid player of the sport, you probably already know the holes in the bowling ball can have a large impact on how well you play the game.

When you purchase a brand new ball, it will usually be solid and will not have the holes pre-drilled.  Because of this, it must be drilled in accordance with the measurement of your fingers.  Since this customization is usually done at a pro shop or sporting goods store, it may be an additional cost, depending on the company policy.

Drilling the Ball by jronaldlee, on Flickr
Drilling the Ball” (CC BY 2.0) by  jronaldlee

How much does bowling ball drilling cost?

When you purchase a bowling ball, you usually should have the option to have the finger holes pre-drilled or have it customized.  If you choose the pre-drilled option, there will be no extra charges for the drilling service as it will come standard without any customized drilling and will be included in your grand total.

If you were to use a professional, bowling pro shops and retailers will usually charge a separate fee for drilling unless specified, especially if you didn’t purchase the bowling ball at their location.  If this were the case, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 for the drilling.  If the company you bought the ball from offers a drilling option, but bills for it separately, it will probably cost between $10 and $20, sometimes even free.  At Dick’s Sporting Goods, for example, they offer the service for free as long as you purchase the bowling ball directly from them.

Bowlingball.com, for example, offers to drill as a separate service for $50 to $70 for their customized drilling service.  The exact price depends mostly on the quality of the ball and the material it is made from.  However, for bowlers who only play for recreation and not for competition, there is an option for basic drilling services that can range from $30 to $50.

Cheapbowlingballs.com, another online retailer, charges $20 to $40.

On BallReviews.com, an online forum, members talked about what it should cost to have a bowling ball drilled.  According to the members, most had paid anywhere from $50 to $65 to drill a blank ball.

Bowling ball drilling overview

During the process, they will first measure your hand using a device to take the exact measurements of your thumb and finger holes, hole pitch and span length.  With these measurements, they will then ask you a few questions such as what kind of grip you want (standard or finger-tip) and have you try various slugs and grips to see what’s most comfortable for your bowling stance.  Using bowling balls at the shop, they will have you hold a few so you can offer feedback as to how the holes feel.  This feedback will allow them to create the perfect-sized holes and even help make adjustments on your new ball to ensure it fits like a glove.

What are the extra costs?

Drilling protection is rarely included in the drilling fee, and as we all know, drilling a bowling ball is a delicate process.  Because of the materials the balls can be made from, it is possible that it will crack while being drilled.  Drilling protection serves as insurance against the ball being damaged.  Some stores offer this protection for a minimal fee and will usually be no more than $5 to $10.  Bowlingball.com, for instance, offers $4.99 drilling protection on balls bought at their store.

Upgraded finger inserts and thumb slugs may be an additional charge if the shop offers them or you suggest them.   Each of these additions will cost about $10 to $15.

How can I save money?

Shop around.  Some places may list the prices on its website, whereas others can offer you a simple quote over the phone.

You can often save money if you have your bowling ball drilled at the same store you purchased the ball at initially.


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Average Reported Cost: $55

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100 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Christopher Johnson (Milwaukee,  Wisconsin) paid $55 and said:

    $55 for custom fitting and drilling. Tips and slug not included but offered for an additional $25. Expensive if you ask me.

    Was it worth it? No

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