Brunswick Wild Card

by Bob Johnson 0

54 Hook   12 Length   14.5 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: This ball’s Paragon core preserves the symmetry found in Brunswick’s Wild series. The RG is medium at 2.51 and the Diff strong at .045. 4.5” of flare was common with the 4 and 5” layouts.

Coverstock: The solid reactive ConneXion reactive is sanded with a 2000 Micron pad, which enhances its friction in oil. Coloring is a mix of red and purple hues. Response time was moderate off friction and above average in oil.

Manufacturer’s Intent: Notes Brunswick Product Manager Bill Orlikowski, ”The Wild Card is a solid color alternative to the Wild Thing. Same core (Paragon) same coverstock (ConneXion), with the differences being the solid color and finish of the ball. This ball is also finished first at 500, then directly jumped to a 2000 Micron pad. The Wild Card also is very complementary to the Wild Thing, Wild Ride and Maxxx Zone to create a wide range of ball motions in the High Performance line.”

Test Results: We put the Wild Card directly against a new Wild Thing and Siege, all three surfaced with a 2000 Micron pad. As expected, all three need some modicum of oil in the fronts and midlane, so we chose the PBA Shark and Kegel Dead Man’s Curve patterns. The Wild Card read the lane about a foot and a half earlier than the Wild Thing, and a foot and a half later than the Siege. Total hook also fit neatly between the two. The overall motion was very steady and smooth as the lanes went through the ugly transitional phases. Our testers preferred the 4.5 and 5.5” pin distances compared to the 3.5” the longer pins allowed us to be slightly straighter through the first 35 feet.

When to Use: The Wild Card will match up best on most medium volumes, with some uses on the heavier variety as well. Lower rev rates should utilize stronger pins as higher rev guys will likely like the 5”+ layout choices. Since the response off friction was moderate, we could square up more than one would expect for such a strong-rolling ball. High polishing created more length and lessened total hook, yet the breakpoint shape stayed essentially the same.

— Joe Cerar Jr.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.