Hammer: Swagga

by Bob Johnson 0

54 Hook 14.5 Length 15.5 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: Hammer’s brain-trust decided to re-enlist its original asymmetric Gas-Mask core, first used in the Black Widow (July 2006). This powerful core delivers the goods with its medium RG of 2.50, a 6” flaring Diff of .060 and an intermediate Diff strength of .016. This core offers a wide array of motion shapes, so pay close attention to your layout choice.

Coverstock: Swagga’s caramel, black and red mix is sanded with 2000 grit. The Level-2 reactive cover, also found on the Hammer Plague (July 2010), is designed for heavier oil. Oil traction is above average and response time off drier boards is moderately quick with out-of-box finish.

Manufacturer’s Intent: Says Hammer Brand Manager Jeff Ussery, “The Swagga has a higher-revving core motion with the Gas Mask core, which leads to a different shape of back-end continuation than the Plague. The balls will complement each other nicely and offer a lot of performance for the money.”

Test Results: We were excited to test the new Swagga knowing it houses the famous Gas-Mask core in a stronger cover. Our results found the Swagga read the midlane stronger, thus creating more of an arcing breakpoint shape on a similar oil pattern. We compared it directly against Hammer’s new super hooker, the Plague. The Swagga was about a foot later and a touch more angular. Total hook was comparable, as was the pin carry. The Swagga’s 4000-grit finish made it even closer to the roll and shape offered by the original Black Widow.

When to Use: Bowlers will have a multitude of breakpoint shape options to choose from. Our stronger layouts of 4” pins with aggressive drill and VAL angles gave us our preferred looks from deeper inside angles, or when facing oil carry-down. This was true on most medium to medium-heavy volumes. Our longer and smoother layouts worked best from outside angles of attack on both “house” and Sport conditions. On wet/dry patterns, we preferred box and duller finishes, and our layout preferences were more balanced with drill and VAL angles, such as the 50/50 would offer.

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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