Authority to review.
We have been exclusively in the bocce business for more than 25 years, have visited bocce facilities and attended bocce tournaments around the world, especially in Italy the original home of the sport, have patents on bocce products, sponsored the USA Bocce Federation Team to play in the USA and internationally. Of course we play as well. We know the game.
Why are the official ball sizes and weights 107mm and 920gms?
When the rules were ratified, decades ago ( as they have been for golf, tennis, basketball etc ) the preferred bocce ball material was phenolic plastic ( often referred to as a Bakelite material ). It was the most durable product at the time and had replaced wooden balls with nails banged into to cover the surface to protect the hard wood, and hollow, cast bronze balls ( still used in the Lyonnaise style of bocce ).
107mm was the chosen size ( woman can opt to play with 106mm ) . The weight? Simple, that was because a solid 107mm dia ball made from Phenolic Plastic weighs 920gm. Note that that it is SOLID material.
Resin balls ( 95% of what is sold in the USA ) cannot be made to meet that weight as the material and catalyst ( auto body filler material ) is too heavy. So cores from lighter recycled materials have to be used to bring the weight down. That makes a skin of Resin usually about a half inch thick. It is cheap to make but breaks off easily and a common complaint of Resin balls. Or make as solid Resin but then way to heavy at over 1050gms per ball. Read below.
What's a true Bocce Ball Made of ??
We wrote this bocce ball set review as a guide. Not all bocce sets are bad, but some are certainly better, much better than others. Read on!! We'll add other bocce ball reviews so check back.
Interested?? Read on, or at least look at the pictures.
Let's start out by getting the size of a bocce ball right. The only sizes allowed for play by the International Federation for Bocce and the United States Bocce Federation are 107mm for men and if women prefer they can choose to use 106mm balls. 115mm, 112mm, and larger sizes are NOT Expert, Competition or anything else even though that is how they are marketed. They are not "legal" but are just over sized balls, imported by companies that don't seem to know any better.
Sure kids can better handle and play with smaller balls like 100mm or 90mm or smaller. Just as they can a smaller football and it too could be made of foam, water-filled plastic etc.
- Almost every bocce set that is marketed in the USA by the "name brands" that sell everything from basket balls to Foosball tables and certainly most of the sets seen in the chain sports stores and on other websites are no longer made from materials suitable for a bocce ball and come out of China.
- They are made using the same low cost material that is used as auto body filler. The stuff used to repair dings after a fender bender. Its a 2 part epoxy resin that has a catalyst that when mixed with the binder hardens. That binder is mostly made from talcum powder. Once set, its easy to sand and to paint. But when scratched will show as white, due to that talc.
- So the "beauty" of those balls is barely skin deep. A few hours worth of play on any natural court surface like, clay, oyster shell etc will knock the skin off and leave you with chalky, whitish, looking balls that are very difficult to tell apart.
- In addition to this turning chalky the softer material means that the balls wear down in size very quickly.
- They more often than not don't roll true, due to the uneven skins and materials in the balls. ( see pics )
- Are very prone to cracking and splitting and most definitely chipping.
- Have short or limited warranties that cover "workmanship" . Note: Our Perfetta Club Pro sets (Made in Italy) and exclusively imported and distributed by Playaboule, is the only set on the market that has a 10 year warranty specifically against splitting and cracking.
- Its not because the balls are made in Italy, that makes them better. That would be like saying Italian wine is better than the wine from the Napa valley. Its the superior raw materials that are used and have been perfected over 40 years that makes the difference so obvious when the balls are put side by side with any of the other sets available, even after a days use. The company Perfetta only makes bocce balls ( they don't buy from someone else and put their brand on the balls ) and as such, has a reputation at stake as being recognized as the preeminent manufacturer of bocce sets, for club, tournament, professional players as well as for families and individuals that wants a well priced product that will give generations of use.
Important: There is a very simple check to see if balls are made with autobody filler material, mentioned above. Look closely at where the groove patterns that are machine cut ( never etched!!! Etching is a chemical process and never used to put the grooves in bocce balls ) in the balls either in a store or if you are lucky at unedited photos on a website and you'll see they they are white and that's the talcum powder showing through.
Thinking that these might be a good deal for our customers we purchased some sets to inspect. We would never post a product on our site if we did not see it first and know that it was something we would be proud to own. No you won't find it on our site, yes they are made in China, yes one of the photos above is of this set. Its a very cheap set and is because the balls are way undersized. This means that about a 1/3rd less material is required to make them so they should be cheaper, the balls in the photo must have been digitally "improved" (PhotoShoped)in a big way, because the balls are really a dull red and green color. OK for kids but for adults familiar with a correctly sized ball, we believe you will be disappointed. Can you believe it some sites actually call these a Tournament set!!. They are advertised as "premium, standard size, regulation size, tournament, professional, competition etc" NONE of those claims are true. They are 90mm dia and have a small 40mm target ball. Yes they are cheap and they should be for the size and materials used. Warranty, there is none.
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