What To Do With An Old Bowling Ball

Bowling balls age over time and become less useful for bowlers. Over time, the coverstock (outer shell) of the bowling ball becomes less reactive and doesn’t hook as much. Sometimes, it just needs a bake, but bowling balls do eventually wear out and need to be replaced. However, just because the ball doesn’t react like it did when it was new, doesn’t mean you should throw it away. Read below to find out what you can do with your old bowling ball(s).

Keep the ball if it is still usable.

If you are still bowling seriously, don’t get rid of the ball! Just because a ball is old doesn’t mean it is useless for a competitive bowler. There are niche circumstances where old, less reactive balls may be exactly what you need! A worn-out bowling ball reacts similarly to urethane bowling balls. The motion of a urethane ball is classic and will always be useful.

Older, worn-out bowling balls have much less reaction than new balls, but the reaction they do have will be consistent, controllable, and smooth.

When the oil is particularly torched, and your high-end balls are over-hooking, it might be time to bust out that old ball. It can be useful for producing a relatively small amount of controllable hook.

The reaction is similar to urethane, so if you are tempted to throw urethane, try using that old ball and see how it works.

If the ball is still usable, and storage space isn’t an issue, hang on to the ball just in case the lane conditions call for it.

If you only have one ball, and it is getting old/worn-out, although I recommend hanging on to it, I would definitely recommend getting a new ball with a ton of hook for when the conditions require it. If that is something you are looking for, check out our article on the bowling balls with the most hook potential.

However, hanging on to an old ball can also be a bit of a hassle when it comes to storage and transportation, so if you definitely want to get rid of the ball, here are some options for you.

How to get rid of a ball? Donate it!

There are many places/people that will gladly accept bowling ball donations.

High school bowling teams, special olympics, youth bowling leagues, etc. are all in constant need of equipment to make bowling more accessible for all who want to participate.

Bowling can be an expensive hobby to get into, so a lot of kids and beginner bowlers are hesitant to get involved with the hobby, so why not help them out a bit and expand the sport of bowling?

Where to donate the ball?

Call your local bowling alley or pro shop and ask them how you can donate the ball.

Many, if not most, bowling centers and pro shop operators will happily take a bowling ball off your hands, and get it into the hands of someone who is in need.

If they won’t take the ball from you and don’t have any advice about what to do with it, you still have a few options.

Consider doing your own research into local bowling programs and contacting them directly. Call the high school bowling coach. Contact the director of the special olympics. Look into local youth leagues and contact them. Get creative; think of someone who will gladly use an older ball as a way to get into the sport.

Last but not least, although most thrift/secondhand stores don’t take bowling balls, call around and try to find one that does. I know that my local Goodwill doesn’t take bowling balls, but Value Village/Saver’s does.

Take just a few minutes to find someone who will gladly accept your old bowling ball.

Other ways to get rid of the ball

OfferUp/Craigslist/LetGo etc.

Many people use bowling balls for things other than bowling. Arts & Crafts, garden decor, jewelry, etc.

Many of these people will take the ball off your hands for free/cheap when the goal isn’t to bowl with the ball. You probably won’t make much money if at all, but it’s a much better option than throwing the ball away.

Recycle the ball

Recycling isn’t usually an option given that most bowling balls you buy are either urethane or have a core. Recycling plants aren’t able to recycle these balls due to environmental or financial concerns.

However, if you have a completely plastic ball, such as a house ball, you may be able to recycle it. Call your local waste management company and see if recycling the ball is something they will do.

Lastly, you can just throw it away

If you don’t go over the weight limit, you can just put it into your garbage. This is definitely the worst way to get rid of the ball, but sometimes it is the only option.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment, or contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns!


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