Elite Phantom

by Bob Johnson 0

54 Hook 14.5 Length 15.5 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: The Depth Charge symmetric core has a low RG of 2.49 and a strong Diff rating of .054. We saw nearly 6” of track flare with stronger 3 and 4” layouts. The fast-revving low RG core creates an earlier motion in the midlane section of most oil patterns.

Coverstock: A 1500-grit supplies ample oil traction for the Ultra Grip reactive formula. Colors are a pin-bruising blend of blacks and dark blues. Response time off drier boards was quick, while oil traction was slightly above average.

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Ultra Grip Reactive cover combines with the Depth Charge core to create an aggressive combination. The ideal lane condition for the Phantom is medium to oily lane conditions.”

Test Results: With an aggressive core/cover combo, the Phantom will excel when added midlane or downlane traction is needed. This core shape delivers a consistent motion, yet displays some sensitivity to release position; ergo, good releases will carry a high percentage, while an off release is somewhat spotty with carry. This occurrence is not that uncommon, but it is advantageous when our release mistakes are less obvious. We also noticed the Ultra Grip cover formula was less affected with surface changes as compared to the SG90, FX95+ and E80M found in the other Elite ball releases this month. Slower ball speeds will find that applying polish is beneficial on shorter or lesser volumes as the .054 differential, when coupled with a stronger layout, is constantly seeking a dryer and cleaner surface.

When to Use: Layouts with aggressive 3 or 4” pin distances will help open up the lane much more than a longer 5” pin distance. We found we could use more direct lines with the 5” pin layout, allowing us to keep our breakpoint more in front of us. This worked best on the more demanding heavier and flatter patterns, as it’s nomally best not to curve the lane when encountering such patterns. All four of the new Elite balls provide above-average traction either in oil or off drier areas, but each offers a unique motion shape.

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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