Brunswick Versa Max
Speed: 18.5 mph
Rev Rate: 400rpm
Axis Tilt: 10 degrees
Axis Rotation: 30-45 degrees
Ball #1 Layout:
45* by 5.5” by 45*
Tested first OOB surface but currently at 4000 abralon
Ball #2 Layout
45* by 4.5” by 80* with P3 hole
Tested first OOB surface but currently at 2000 abralon
The Versa Max is advertised to be the ultimate benchmark ball. With its higher RG core and solid coverstock, I knew it’d make an even better candidate for my benchmark ball due to my heavy forward roll. Ball #1 was drilled to be my true benchmark ball: the first one out of the bag at any tournament and always having a place in my bag. Ball #2 was drilled specifically for the USBC national’s pattern in that it would be a medium oil ball that starts up early and strong in the midlane with a smooth reaction off of the dry.
On 39’ medium volume THS:
Granted you can strike with anything on THS but WOW these things strike at will. With the out of the box surface, Ball #1 couldn’t miss. The clean cover and high RG core pushed the ball through the heads and the solid coverstock started reading the very last of the midlane and then the backend took over to shred rack after rack. I started practicing with a modest line over 3rdarrow and then began to play around more. I moved out to 2ndarrow and in to 5th. Regardless of where I stood and where the ball was sent, it went through the pins amazingly. Moving out to play 2ndarrow out to about 8, I just increased my speed and stayed more up the back of the ball. Doing so made the ball set up and read the midlane a little sooner but it did so in a more continuous manner so as to not overreact to the friction. If it wasn’t dead flush, this ball sent the headpin to take out anything left standing. When I got as deep as 5tharrow, the ball just kept cornering. There was almost no way for it to not get back to the pocket. The only way to not get it back to pocket was to completely miss it at the bottom. Now with my ball roll, 5tharrow is getting deep for me and where I like to play. Regardless, the Versa Max still maintained excellent ball roll and pin carry and was strong thoughout the entire pin deck. Didn’t leave a single weak 10 pin playing that far in. That alone makes it a keeper!
Ball #2 on THS wasn’t as flashy but got the job done equally well. No, it didn’t have all of the backend as Ball #1 but still had great carry across the lane. Obviously with a smoother shot shape it worked better from further out than Ball #1 but still held its own when getting in deep. Out of the box, Ball #2 was actually STRONGER off of the SPOT than Ball #1. However the change in direction was about 2 feet sooner and used more energy which didn’t allow for the same amount of backend. Overall, with the out of the box surface, Ball #1 hooked about the same amount as Ball #2 but did so a lot more on the backend.
I’m not a fan of polish unless the shot is extremely dry, so since my plan for these two were to be my benchmarks (#1 in general and #2 for nationals and other sport shots), I took the surface of Ball #1 to 4000 grit and Ball #2 to 2000 grit.
Ball #1 at 4000 grit made the THS look even easier than before (didn’t think that was possible) by smoothing out the overall motion but still keeping a lot of the recovery it had at the OOB surface. Ball #2 at 2000 actually decreased the overall hook for me on this THS and brought the breakpoint in about another 2 feet and really smoothed the backend out even. Although not normally ideal for THS, I knew it’d be perfect for when it really matters, the tough stuff!
43’ NCAA pattern #1 (3-4:1 ratio):
Bowling on this pattern made me fall in love with these two bowling balls. Everyone knows you can basically strike from anywhere on THS. But on this pattern, with both balls, I could strike at will from up the 2 board all the way into 4tharrow on the fresh. You aren’t even supposed to be able to play outside 8 on this pattern but the Versa Max still made it look easy out there because of the smooth roll off of the spot. From further inside the Versa Max, before changing surface, cornered a ton and gave me more miss room than anyone else at the end of the pattern. People literally asked “Are you sure that’s a Brunswick ball?”. This ball truly has the reaction shape like no other Brunswick ball you’ve seen go down the lane at the out of the box surface. Changing the surface to 4000 on Ball #1 and to 2000 on Ball #2 not only gave me left to right miss room, but also more front to back miss room thanks to the more steady move off the friction. Regretfully, I haven’t yet been able to throw these balls on the Nationals pattern, but the reaction shape I get from them after the surface change makes me more confident that these will be the balls to throw due to their ability to smooth out the pattern and to play more outside to start and just follow the pattern inside.
I’ll keep this simple. This is possibly my favorite ball of all time. If you are going to Baton Rouge, you NEED this ball in your bag. If you aren’t going to Baton Rouge, you STILL NEED this ball in your bag, PERIOD. GET ONE NOW!
Brunswick Technical Staff
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer and not of Brunswick Corporation