Pin 5” from PAP below fingers
45-degree locator line angle
(Dual-angle: 45 by 5” by 75)
XH on VAL, 2” below PAP, 31/32” by 2 1/2” deep
Initial Surface Preparation:
I’ve been looking for a ball that can handle higher volumes, but has more of an angular shape at the break. The Siege works well for me when I need midlane roll, but is more controlled down lane. The C-(System) 3.5 has the sharper break down lane, but requires a defined area of friction in order to be most effective for me.
Why this ball?
The new CFT alpha-max cover was designed for faster oil absorption and a stronger response to friction, while maintaining the cleanness through the front part of the lane of the other C-(System) balls. I felt that the combination of these attributes would give me the reaction that I was seeking.
I chose a layout for the C-(System) alpha-max that was very close to what I have in my C-(S) 3.5. I’ve really liked the continuous back end reaction that I’ve gotten from the 3.5, and I wanted to be able to use the difference in coverstocks to get the right shape.
The first opportunity I had to use the alpha-max was on a fresh house condition on a new SPL lane surface. Given the amount of friction that we usually see in this center, I really didn’t think I’d be able to use this ball. I was expecting the ball to either check as soon as it hit the dry in back, or start burning in the midlane and be flat at the pins. What I got was a look in front that was similar to that of the Wicked Siege, and the angularity and pin carry of the C-(System) balls, but without the abruptness at the break or sensitivity to oil that I’ve sometimes seen in the C-(S) 2.5 and v4.5. I was able to use the alpha-max for most of the league session, making small parallel moves to the left to stay in the oil.
I also carried the alpha-max to my second-shift league on a Pro Anvilane surface. The league in front of us has a number of bowlers who use plastic, so there are weeks where we will draw pairs that play very tight in back. That was certainly the case for the first pair I drew, as I couldn’t get anything else in the bag to slow down quickly enough to carry. The alpha-max was the right choice for this condition. I did have to square up and play the lane more direct, but the ball was reading the midlane and tipping in the right spot, and I had no problem getting corners out. The second pair had more friction overall, but I was able to get my feet further left and float the ball from the oil to the dry, and still have an angle to the pocket for carry.
I also got the opportunity to use the alpha-max in a tournament on a condition with more volume on the outside and more overall length than the usual house shot. On patterns like this, I’ve gotten used to having to choke down and keep the ball more direct in order to get a reaction off of the end of the pattern. I didn’t have to do this with the alpha-max. While I did have to be careful with the ball speed, I was able to give the alpha-max some room on this condition, and still have it recover to the pocket. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the alpha-max was hooking from the out-of-bounds, but it did make the playable portion of the lane seem somewhat wider.
The bowlers I know have had a love-hate relationship with the C-(System) line. Those bowlers who are comfortable with giving the ball a lot of room to hook have had more favorable experiences, while those who prefer playing more direct have had mixed results. From what I’m seeing, the C-(System) alpha-max is different. While it did inherit the strength through the pin deck that has come to be associated with the C-(System) balls, the alpha-max doesn’t have the abruptness of its predecessors when it hits the friction, and thus it can be played up the oil line when the condition calls for it. However, it does have enough response to friction to where it will recover when you need to send it, even from deeper angles on the lane.
I can easily envision the C-(System) alpha-max becoming the first choice for many bowlers for heavier conditions. With my normal release, I can use this ball to open up the dry, and by going more up the back, I can play a direct line on higher volumes without worrying about whether the ball will get into a roll quickly enough.
NOTE: The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer and not of Brunswick Corporation.Ray Salas
Brunswick Amateur Staff