Explaining the PAP on a Bowling Ball

A Quick Explanation of a Bowling Ball's Positive Axis Point

A Brunswick C·(System) Versa-Max bowling ball.
The Brunswick C·(System) Versa-Max. Image courtesy of Brunswick

There's a lot that goes into choosing a bowling ball, and one of the most important, as far as getting the right drilling layout, is the positive axis point. However, this is not specific to any one bowling ball (that is, if you walk into a pro shop and ask for a bowling ball with a specific positive axis point, you're going to get a funny look in return). If it's not part of an undrilled bowling ball, why is it so important to you?

Because it's specific to you.

The first thing you need to understand about the positive axis point (PAP) is it's different for every bowler. You can't simply look at your friend's ball and base your decisions off his PAP. Actually, trying to copy the layouts of other bowlers is one of the biggest detriments to bowlers and their games. No matter how skilled a bowler is, every person's game is different and there's no one-size-fits-all solution for how to drill a bowling ball. That typed, what is a positive axis point?

The positive axis point, or PAP, is the one point on the ball that is equidistant from every point of the ball's track. Put another way, look at the ring of oil around the ball. There's one spot on the entire ball that is exactly the same distance from every piece of that oil ring. That one spot is your positive axis point.

Locate the Track

The track, on your bowling ball, is the part of the ball that actually contacts the lane.

You can see it after it comes back on the ball return. Look for the rings of oil. That's your track. Almost definitely, your track will have multiple lines of oil, not all of which are parallel. If you're having trouble determining where your PAP is (which, if you're a beginner, you almost certainly will), ask a pro-shop operator.

They have the expertise to define your track and find your PAP.

Why Does a Positive Axis Point Matter?

The relation of the pin (the little colored dot) on your ball and the PAP is different for everyone, and crucial to getting the maximum performance out of your ball. If you use a drilling layout that puts the pin in an undesirable location in relation to the PAP, you're not going to consistently get the ball reaction you want. That's why it's important to base everything off your game and your style rather than trying to copy someone else.

Your friend's PAP location in relation to the pin may be great for him, but likely won't work for you. And vice versa. There's not necessarily a right or wrong, but the main point is it's different for everyone. You can use other bowlers' equipment layouts to get ideas for what you might want to do, but a proper ball drilling is always personal.

The Importance of a Local Pro Shop

Knowing your PAP is important, but if you're unsure how to find it, someone in your local pro shop will be able to help you. He or she will also be able to suggest ideal layouts for your style and game that will get you the most out of any bowling ball.