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We hear this term thrown around, but seldom with much explanation. Between the recently releaseed MOTIV® Black Venom and our other star performing pieces like the Jackal Ghost and the Primal Shock, we felt it was important to explain what exactly a benchmark ball is and how bowlers can use them to their advantage.
Put simply, a benchmark ball is a bowling ball around which you can build an arsenal. The ball you use as a benchmark is the cornerstone of your bag, and serves some critical purposes. Out of necessity, a benchmark ball fits in the “middle” of your bowling ball selections. What this means is that a benchmark is never the strongest or the weakest ball in your bag. Likewise, it is never the most angular or the smoothest ball. To follow the requirements of a benchmark a bit further, the core should also be moderate in its measurable metrics. This means a moderate radius of gyration (RG), differential, and low intermediate differential or symmetrical core. The cover of a benchmark ball is something moderately smooth and can be easily adjusted to suit environments. The combination of a moderate cover and core should provide the bowler with a predictable and versatile ball motion.
One main purpose of having a reliable benchmark ball is for reading lanes. The benchmark is the first ball out of the bag at a tournament, on a new pattern, or in a new bowling center when the bowler needs a good “read” of the environment. While the benchmark ball may not always be the best option, it will tell you what’s out there; if it’s too smooth, you may need to go to a more angular ball, too weak means grab a stronger ball, and it it's too angular you need a smoother selection.
Another use for a benchmark is to have a versatile ball in your arsenal. Due to the versatility of both core and cover, a benchmark ball can often be used on medium-dry to medium-heavy oil patterns. The cover versatility mentioned before is crucial because a benchmark that easily takes surface changes can be used on even heavier and lighter oil conditions. So often, when traveling to tournaments bowlers are limited in the number of balls they can take. Having a benchmark ball that can be scuffed to use on heavy volumes or shined to create more angle gives the bowler more options at the tournament to which they’re traveling.
The MOTIV® Venom ShocK™
The Venom Shock™ is Motiv® Bowling's longest lasting ball to date. Released in March of 2014, the Venom Shock™ has been near the top of the market for the past nine years. It has proven its place in our line as one of the most valued benchmark balls produced by Motiv®. This ball will give you great insight to the pattern you're up against, whether it's a new sport pattern or a Typical House Shot (THS) in an unfamiliar center. Even though the Venom Shock™ is designed for light-medium oil, it can still fight through the heavier volumes, making it usable even on the fresh for a variety of bowling styles. This is a reliable piece to start with to get a good read on the lane and decide if you need something stronger, a bit more angular, or smoother.
The MOTIV® Pride™ Dynasty
The Pride™ Dynasty has been specifically made for dominating medium oil conditions making it an ideal benchmark piece of your arsenal. Utilizing Leverage cover technology found on the Black Venom, the Pride Dynasty wraps this shell around the stronger, asymmetrical Dominion core to provide a smooth motion with added control and strength. Where more extreme asymmetric cores, such as the Predator core found in the Jackal line, would be too overpowering, the Dominion core thrives. Additionally, the asymmetric physics provides ball drillers with greater layout versatility since weight holes are no longer allowed in competition.
The MOTIV® Jackal Ghost™
Another long-running beast by Motiv® Bowling is the trusted Jackal Ghost™, released in January of 2017. Though much stronger in oil than the Venom Shock™, the Ghost™ is equally reliable to use as a benchmark ball and see what look is going to work best for the day. The solid cover finished at 3000 Grit LSS allows the Ghost™ to provide a great read in the mid-lane while storing its energy for strong continuation. If you know you'll be on a heavier oil pattern where the Ghost™ can shine, this is the perfect starting point. Some patterns may require something with a duller or shinier finish for a different angle to the pocket, but this is going to give you the best idea of where to move after the first few shots.
The MOTIV® Primal Shock™
New to the Motiv® Bowling family is the Primal Shock™. The Primal Shock™ takes the ultimate benchmark ball motion found in the Venom Shock™ and amps up performance by pairing it with the strong Impulse V2 core found in the Primal Rage™. This will be a great option to start with on medium-heavy oil to test the waters and see what will work best on a new pattern. Its versatility will allow you to play around with different angles without losing drive into the pocket. The Primal Shock™ dominates medium-heavy oil conditions, offering a vast array of options to attack the lanes. This is a can’t miss combination that bowlers have been asking for since 2013!