Columbia 300: Freeze Hybrid

by Bob Johnson 0

45 Hook 16.5 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “New Era Hybrid is the perfect mix of solid and pearl materials, and is designed for great length and strong back end,” according to the Columbia 300 website.

Core Design: The Freeze Hybrid houses the same symmetric modified Messenger core found in previous versions. The RG is medium-high at 2.56 and the differential hefty with its .047 rating. Testing revealed nearly 5 inches of track flare with stronger layouts. Our traditional 5-inch layout produced a conservative 3 inches of track flare.

Coverstock: The Freeze Hybrid is colored with blacks, and blue and silver pearls. The factory finish is sanded with 2000 grit and highly polished. Response time off drier boards is quick, while oil traction is limited with out-of-box polish. Hybrid coverstocks get the length from the pearl additive and oil stability from the solid additive. The one-part solid and two-parts pearl make this hybrid unique. The ball’s Ra is low.

Test Results: We enjoyed playing with both the solid and hybrid versions of the Freeze line. Both balls supply effortless length due to cover strength and core design, but require finding friction areas on the lane and need to be used on medium volumes or lighter with out-of-box finish. When we employed surface sanding between 1000 and 3000 grits, both Freezes could be used on many medium to medium-heavy oil volumes. This was likely due to the New Era cover formula’s ability to change its inherent friction levels in a moment’s notice. Columbia previously used this cover on the Resurgence (August 2007) and Noize (December 2008).

When to Use: With the factory polished surface, most players will find the Freeze matches up best on lighter to light-medium oil volumes. Altering the surface with lower grits will increase usability for those with higher ball speeds and/or lower rev rates. Players looking to control the breakpoint motion shape when encountering friction should consider flare-reducing layouts positioned below the fingers. Our favorite in this environment was our 5-inch layout below the bridge on the centerline. The higher flare layouts had the pin positioned above the fingers and distanced 3 or 4 inches from the PAP. We also added a weight hole at 6.75 inches from the pin, which increased our flare capabilities noticeably. We enlisted Ebonite’s Blueprint software to help us coordinate everything accurately.

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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