Once I drilled a pin-up version of the ZEN, it became one of my favorite balls when shiny pearls are in play, especially on house shots: I used it in an 830 (268-266-296) to start qualifying and a 299 early in match play in the 2022 MAST Year End Championship at Spartan Bowl.
However, the ZEN MASTER that I thought was going to be a mainstay in my arsenal ended up getting eclipsed by other strong balls that simply were better in the Storm PROTON PHYSIX and NOVA.
I knew the ZEN SOUL would be somewhere in between and hoped it would be a benchmark type of ball similar to the Storm PHAZE II.
And while I had some success with the ZEN SOUL, it turned out to be too smooth for my super senior game and I passed it on to a senior friend who wanted to try a 14-pound ball.
I chose a strong pin-up drilling for my ZEN SOUL, with the pin above the middle finger and CG kicked right. With my PAP of 4 7/8 over and 5/8 up, the numbers are 4 1/4 pin-PAP, 4 MB-PAP and 2 1/2 pin buffer.
The Meditate Symmetric core has almost identical numbers for 14, 15 and 16 pounds, so my review is applicable for all three.
The box finish is 4,000-Abralon and my first efforts with it in practice on house and sport shots saw very smooth motion that required me to use direct angles. I also left more than a few flat 10s.
I roughed it up to 1,000-grit CTD by hand for the PBA60 Dick Weber Classic in Jackson, Michigan on the 45-foot Dick Weber pattern, using a direct angle to keep it in play for a solid 210-plus first game on one squad. But as soon as they transitioned and I had to edge in, the reaction was gone.
I used it on a house shot at an SSBA senior tournament in Iowa and started with 269, again playing fairly direct up the oil line, but as soon as I had to edge left as the track broke down, I lost reaction and got out of it midway through a 204 second game.
The one really good thing I saw is that the ZEN SOUL returned easily but didn’t overreact when I swung it in that 269 first game — always a valuable thing on house shots. If it was better for me when I had to move more into the oil, it would have been a definite keeper for me.
In the end I saw it as just too limited for me — if I didn’t play straight I had no look and it was so smooth carry could be an issue even playing straight.
My sense is that a weaker pin that perhaps would be above my bridge or ring finger would allow me a better chance to get in and open the lane up. But it also might be that the ZEN SOUL cover just isn’t quite strong enough for me to really get into the oil.
And I have enough medium balls that get in and go around it really well in the 900 Global WOLVERINE DARK MOSS and ALTERED REALITY, Roto Grip IDOL HELIOS, and Storm INFINITE PHYSIX.
The ZEN SOUL definitely falls into the classification of medium ball, as it’s a few boards stronger than the ZEN (surface determines how many) and a few boards weaker than the ZEN MASTER and other strong balls I mentioned earlier.
I think the ZEN SOUL could be good for any bowler looking for a smooth and easily controllable reaction, especially on Sport and Challenge shots, and especially players with more revs who can make it react better in the oil and downlane than I can at age 60.