Best Bowling Ball Layouts You Must Know

As a bowler, there are several things you need to comprehend and take care of to perform better. 

Selecting bowling equipment and accessories that specifically match your requirements can take painstakingly long. Let’s not forget the countless hours you invest in perfecting your bowling skills. 

Despite having a lot on your plate already, do you need to learn about the best bowling ball layouts too? Yes, you do!  

A layout is a position or orientation of a weight block relative to your bowling release. 

The drilling layout of a ball plays an instrumental role in determining the motion of a bowling ball. It is directly responsible for reducing or magnifying the length and hook potential of a ball. 

Two balls that boast the same layout will play out differently for two similar speed players. This is because of a plethora of factors including varying rev rates, axis rotations, and axis tilts.

So to find the ideal breakpoint shape for you, you will need to learn how certain ball layouts can benefit your game. 

In a nutshell, the layout determines the motion shape of a ball and its hook potential. Drilling the ball in an area that suits your bowling style can help you get more pin-carry action on the ball and thus, improve your scores. 

Today, let’s discuss some of the best bowling ball layouts.


5 Best Bowling Ball Layouts

1. The Arcing Layout

Primarily prevalent on most house shots, the arcing layout is also popularly referred to as the 90-degree layout. 

Bowlers who style their game on playing the track area on the bowling lane typically go for this layout. It is also favored by those looking to play between the 13 and 8 board at the arrows. 

Diving straight to the point, the arcing layout can be achieved with the pin placed 4.5 inches from the PAP (positive axis point). If you are working with a symmetrical ball, ensure that the pin angles towards your thumb with the CG (center of gravity) aligned to the pin. 

Asymmetrical ball owners should focus on getting the mass bias aligned with the pin; without deviation, the pin should be located below your thumb. 

2. The Early Rolling Layout

This layout is effective at negating the effects of oily lane conditions and lengthy oil patterns. It does a tremendous job of breaking open a shot on an evenly distributed oil pattern. 

In most cases, reactive resin and particle proactive balls are given the treatment of the early rolling layout. 

To get this layout right, get your layout pin 4 and a half inches from the PAP. Have the mass and center of gravity angled at 35 to 65 degrees. The angle must be chosen as per how early you want your ball to roll.  

Generally speaking, the distance between the mass and the PAP determines how early your ball will roll. The closer the distance, the sooner the roll will take place.

Only seasoned players can play with this ball layout expertly.

3. The Flip Layout

If you are looking to play the lane more on the inside, consider the flip layout. 

Usually applied on balls with reactive coverstocks, a flip layout excels at lanes with dry back ends. However, professional bowlers avoid using it when they face lanes spread with fresh oil.

To get the flip layout right, have the pin 4 and a half inches from the PAP and the center of gravity. The mass bias should be aligned with the pin and be located near the thumb finger hole. 

If you want to increase the distance between the pin and the finger holes, do so at your convenience. The moving period of the ball before its flip is further extended as the distance grows longer. 

4. The Pin-Up Layout

The pin-up layout facilitates an angled entry to the pocket and is usually useful for bowlers with high revolutions but slow ball speed. This layout provides a more defined, sharper hook instead of a total hook. 

Bowlers bowling on lightly-oiled lane conditions and shorter length patterns usually prefer using this layout on their balls. 

If you get your pin close to the PAP on your pin-up layout, you can expect your ball to react harder and quicker to friction. 

If your layout has plenty of distance between the pin and the mid-line, the ball will feature a more defined breakpoint to friction. However, the reaction will not be as angular. 

5. The Pin-Down Layout 

The pin-down layout does a phenomenal job of encouraging a total hook of the ball. This type of layout is usually preferred by bowlers who can generate high ball speed but low revolutions on the ball. 

Since this layout promotes a more gradual hook, it excels in heavily-oiled conditions and longer length patterns. 

The pin-down layout provides a controlled, sustainable break point because it reacts slower and smoother to friction. 

The placement of the pin on the pin-down layout determines the reaction of the ball. If the pin is placed near the PAP, your ball will have a smooth and swift reaction to friction. 

A layout where there is considerable distance between the pin and the mid-line will feature a smooth arcing reaction. 


Layouts should be drilled onto the balls as per the specific delivery style of a bowler. It is done to help a bowler have complete control over the reaction of the ball and to enable him to bowl consistently into the pocket.

In a bid to help bowlers quickly achieve their desired ball motion, manufacturers of different bowling balls often provide detailed bowling ball layout guides for their products. If you aren’t confident with identifying a suitable layout, head to your pro shop and express your concerns with an expert.