Columbia 300: Enigma

by Bob Johnson 0

54 Hook 14.5 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The new Total Friction cover, along with the Encounter core, create an extremely aggressive move in the midlane with great continuation,” says Columbia’s Bugsy Kelly. “This combination of strong core and cover will handle heavier oil conditions and would be a great choice for any player on the right lane conditions.”

Core Design: The Encounter asymmetric core powers the Enigma. The RG is medium at 2.50, the differential is healthy at .052 and the PSA moderate at .013. We saw nearly 6 inches of track flare with our 4- and 5-inch pin distance drilling. This core also is used in the Dark Encounter (February 2012) and Wicked Encounter (July 2012).

Coverstock: The Enigma features the new TFT (Total Friction Technology) cover formula. Colors are a fusion of red, blue and yellow hues. The factory finish is sanded with two 800-grit and two 1500-grit Abralon pads. Response time off friction is moderate. Oil traction is above average. The Ra reading averaged 6.20, and the surface grit was 3900, great for medium-heavy oil.

Test Results: The fast-revving core and aggressively sanded cover combine to easily read any medium-heavy to heavier oil patterns. The mild asymmetry of the core also can help players shape the motion arc they desire. Slower speeds will need to smooth the shell with 3000 or higher grit to increase length and add some angularity. We all felt the core shape was forgiving with our slightly less-than-perfect releases on many of our test patterns. Its pin carry was among the best of this month’s balls, especially helping our lower rev rate tester to carry better on the oilier patterns. All in all, the Enigma will provide plenty of oil-munching power.

When to Use: With the Enigma’s box finish, we could play well when inside the oil line on all of our house shot test patterns. The strong mid-lane motion kept the breakpoint from being overly strong, even on patterns with very clean backends. Speed-dominant types and those with lower rev rates will be able to play closer to friction, providing the mid-lane oil holds up. On heavier Sport patterns, the Enigma was one of our favorites this month, as its strength and control matched up perfectly.

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.