Columbia 300: Vow

by Bob Johnson 0

51 Hook 15.5 Length 16 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Vow was our most successful ball on all of the patterns at the PBA World Series of Bowling this year because it’s easy to get through the front, has a great back-end motion and is very versatile,” says Bugsy Kelly of Columbia 300. “The versatility and amount of hook in the right part of the lane will make the Vow a great choice for a lot of different styles.”

Core Design: The Vow uses the popular Capsule 2.47 low-RG symmetric core shape. We saw nearly 6 inches of track flare with both pin-above and pin-below layouts. This core revs easily through the fronts and promotes a smooth to aggressive back-end motion, contingent on player style.

Coverstock: The Vow’s Bend-it pearl coverstock displays a quick and aggressive breakpoint shape as it responds nicely off friction. Its limited oil traction allows for easy push through the fronts and midlane. Colors are a mix of black, red and caramel. Box finish is sanded with 800, 1000 and 2000 grits, and polished with Ebonite’s factory finish. The RA value is 2.2, and the surface grit is 5100.

Test Results: The Vow is a “wow” ball, as fast revs, easy length and an aggressive down-lane move are what most player styles will see. It hooked about 5 to 7 boards less overall when compared to a like-drilled Oath (August 2012), which shares the Bend-it cover (albeit a dull solid) and Capsule core. Since the Vow is a polished pearl, the motion characteristics are quite different. We found we could begin play with the Oath, then switch to the Mass Eruption (November 2012) if we wanted to play near the track area, after breakdown. Later, if we were forced to move deeper inside, the Vow matched up perfectly with its aggressive breakpoint shape.

When to Use: Use on medium and lighter oil volumes, as the Vow needs to see friction areas in order to excel. On heavier fresh patterns, Columbia-heads should consider the Oath or Enigma (January 2013). Track area players can use the Vow, but should play close attention to layout choice in order to achieve the preferred motion shape at the end of the pattern. Using Ebonite’s Blueprint software, as we do during our testing process, can be very helpful.

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.