Brunswick: Versa Max

by Bob Johnson 0

49 Hook 15 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “Combining our technology from the previous CFT coverstocks, we’ve developed the CFT versa-max cover which is extremely versatile,” says Brunswick’s Billy Orlikowski. “This ball is designed for effortless skid through the front, a strong move at the breakpoint, and the most continuation of any Brunswick ball, even on very dry lane conditions. This ball is a new benchmark ball for Brunswick and will be a perennial favorite for tournament bowlers.”

Core Design: The dual flip I-Block symmetrical core has a medium RG level of 2.52. The 5 inches of maximum track flare come from the .054 differential. This shape also is used in the ulti-max (August 2011). We truly noticed a fast-revving, smooth down-lane motion with all three layouts (3.5, 4.5 and 5.5 inches from the PAP).

Coverstock: The solid black CFT versa-max solid reactive coverstock reminded me of the Quantum Raven in both exterior look and roll motion. There were subtle rivers of white coursing through the shell of this 500-sanded, rough buff high-polished surface. The 2.0 Ra matches perfectly with the medium cover. Our average grit reading was 5350.

Test Results: Brunswick has made a concerted effort to offer more motion shape options in its lineup. The company has especially been known for its benchmark roll throughout the line, ever since beginning reactive resin production in 1991. The new versa-max preserves this smooth, controlled breakpoint motion, but with a touch easier length through the fronts and early midlane. We found we had the ability to stay with this ball from game one to game six during testing on our medium-volume patterns. We never saw over-reaction downlane, and it rarely missed the breakpoint spot. Control with extended usability is the hallmark of this new ball.

When to Use: Players will find a multitude of uses for this benchmark-rolling ball from the Big B. Its medium-strength cover will match up best on medium and lighter volumes for most, except those with extreme rev dominance. We had similar looks with both pin above and below the fingers at similar distance from the PAP. Even higher drill-to-VAL ratios maintained a smooth down-lane motion. Pin carry was good from both inside and outside angles, but higher rev rates fared better from left of 20-board, as one would expect.

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.

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