Bowling

The Down & Dirty of Interchangeable Thumbs

Today, let’s talk about interchangeable thumb systems. It is almost universally agreed that having interchangeable thumbs is yet another way to improve your game through consistency. They offer the ability to have the same feel in every ball, and the ability to have multiple sizes of thumb holes eliminating most tape use.

There are three major brands available today: Turbo Switch Grip, Ultimate and Vise. Let’s take a closer look at these options.

Turbo Switch Grip

General

Switch Grips are a 3-piece assembly (outer sleeve, inner sleeve, and slug/insert). They only allow the use of a 1-1/4” or 1-3/8” slug/insert. I keep saying insert because you can use a vinyl oval insert, or a molded thumb insert inside the inner sleeve as well. The locking mechanism is in the bottom of the hole, and is a 2-tab system that locks with a 90-degree twist.

Installation

Guide: http://www.turbogrips.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/6_7_15-Switch-Grip-Bro-2015.pdf

    

Tools Required for Install

  • 1-1/2” Drill bit with auto depth stopper
  • Optional reamer end mill (recommended)
  • Plug/Slug Cutter (recommended) or Router with shield
  • 1-3/4” sanding discs (Helpful)

The Ultimate Thumb Interchangeable

General

The Ultimate Thumb Interchangeable is very similar to the Turbo Switch Grip, having a few small differences. The Ultimate system is also a 3-part system (outer sleeve, inner sleeve, slug/insert), and locks with a 90-degree twist. It is also available in 1-1/4” or 1-3/8” slug/inserts. One difference is the locking system, while Turbo is a 2-tab system located at the bottom of the inner sleeve, the Ultimate is a 4-tab system located on the sides of the sleeve. Minor end user difference, but for the installer it makes a bigger difference. When Drilling a new Ultimate inner sleeve, you do not have to worry about drilling into and damaging the locking mechanism. 

Installation

The steps for installation are the same as the Turbo Switch Grip. Ultimate does not have an installation video available to the public.

Tools Required for Install

  • 1-1/2” Can have auto depth feature, but not required
  • Plug/Slug Cutter (recommended) or Router with shield
  • 1-3/4” sanding discs (Helpful)

Vise IT

General

The Vise I.T. (Interchangeable Thumb) is where things get interesting. The Vise system is completely different, as there is no outer sleeve although they do have a sleeve like ring installed at the top of the hole in the ball. The thumb slug has the locking mechanism attached to the bottom of the slug, and requires a 270-degree rotation to lock. They are available in 1-1/4” and 1-3/8”.

Installation

Guide: http://www.viseinserts.com/media/it_instruction_manual.pdf

Tools Required for Install

  • Vise IT installation kit. Which includes tools, drill bits, Ferrari ball jig
  • Plug/Slug cutter (recommended) or router with shield
  • Sanding discs

Conclusion

Having an interchangeable thumb system is the way to go. You will have a consistent feel in every ball. From a pro shop point of view: The Turbo and Ultimate systems are easiest to install, and are the cheapest initial investment to get started. Once you buy the Turbo kit you have all the tools needed to also be able to do Ultimate.

  • Ultimate is easiest to install, followed by Turbo, then Vise.
  • Vise and Ultimate have the most secure feel to them.
  • Turbo is a foolproof system that is the hardest to mess up.
  • A “Turbo Switch-A-Roo” or similar tool is recommended with all 3 systems.
  • When getting different sizes made I recommend getting 2 in each size ( 1 for your strike ball & 1 for your spare ball). Also color coordinating helps tremendously for organization. I carry 4 different sizes which is 8 grips total, knowing that both (insert color) ones are the same size helps.

 #Education is #CreatingTheDifference

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