Hammer: Hardcore Brawl

by Bob Johnson 0

51.5 Hook 14.5 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: The symmetric Bullet core shape mirrors the Hammer Grind’s (July 2010). The medium RG of 2.56 promotes later midlane revs, while the .045 Diff will offer about 5” of track flare with aggressive layouts. This taller core shape allows for easier length.

Coverstock: The Violent Flip reactive formula is slightly less aggressive than the Hardcore Grind Violent, but the surface is duller with the four-stage uses of 800, 1k and 2k Abralon pads. Coloring fuses blacks and deep purples. Oil traction is above average and response time off dry is moderate.

Manufacturer’s Intent: Hammer’s marketing release offers the following: ”We’ve gone with a more aggressive coverstock for our new Hardcore series ball. The Brawl features our Violent Flip Reactive coverstock for more mid-lane friction and backend motion. Violent Flip Reactive has a very tunable coverstock that gives the Brawl a wide range of potential ball shapes and motions. The Brawl’s coverstock is a fairly strong one at 7 out of 10 in our FCC System.”

Test Results: Both Hardcore variations supply control with above-average hitting power for most light-medium to medium volumes of oil. Our higher rev-rate testers even found success on heavier volumes, albeit with a more direct line. The Brawl will provide a secure mid-lane read with a controlled to hard arc at the end of the pattern, contingent on bowler layout choice.

When to Use: The Brawl excelled on most THS (typical house shots), as well as some wet/dry patterns. We felt the Brawl gave us a few extra boards of area at the breakpoint and still delivered good carry power and continuation through the pin deck. Players looking for more open launch angles or the swing-it and bring-it approach should consider Hammer’s Jigsaw line or Widow series with their stronger asymmetric core designs. Players looking for more down-and-in attack angles will migrate toward the Hardcore and Vibe series. Overall, the Brawl offers above-average performance at moderate pricing. Our favorite layouts with wider usability traits were 4” pin variations both above and below the fingers.

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.