Brunswick Fortera Exile Ball Review
By Tina Marie Caouette
Before I get into the heart of my review please take a moment to look over my Drill Sheet as well as the picture of the layout. I use these sheets for my records. If you have any questions please feel free to post them below and I will try to answer them as soon as I can. Also, keep in mind that what works for me may not necessarily work for you. Please consult a qualified Pro Shop or Coach to help customize a layout for your game. Initial test rolled on a typical house shot, however I did throw this ball on medium as well as longer shots varying from lighter to heavier volumes and will additionally add my thoughts.
My personal specs:
PAP: 4 ¾” over 1/8” up.
Speed: 18-19 MPH
Rev Rate: 325-350 (Tweener)
Dual Angle Drilling: 45 x 5 x 25
The Fortera Exile is the newest ball from Brunswick and released on June 27, 2014. This is a new era of ball motion for Brunswick. What I mean by that is for Brunswick balls or any balls at all this is the most angular ball I’ve seen on the market. Now that said there are a few details you really need to know about the Fortera Exile that will play into laying out the ball.
First, all that technical stuff I know you love so much! This was a long pin 3 1/2” so we were again limited to what I wanted to do with the drilling angles. In fact, on hindsight I should have drilled this differently for my style of play. I will go into more details below. The numbers for the drill angels are 45 x 5 x 25. This got the pin well above my ring finger, a little too high for my game I think; not recommend for fast ball speeds unless you plan to use it on dry or have a lot of axis rotation. The ball only has 7/8 side weight and the drill angels allowed for no weight hole to be drilled. The reason for this drilling was twofold: one, after watching it for a week at the Senior Masters I was amazed at how quickly it got angular; second, I was really looking for a ball for shorter patterns to begin with.
I have to admit I loved the color combinations of Red & Silver Pearl. This formed what Brunswick called the Fortify Reactive coverstock. The cover stock is Brunswick’s hottest creation using performance enhancing additive chemistry technology. It is finished with a 500 Siaair Micro Pad as well as Royal Compound and Royal Shine. My first take on the reaction to this coverstock (factory finish) with this drilling wasn’t good on a typical house shot. At least not with someone as speed-dominate as me. I found the ball was very inconsistent reading the lanes off the pattern. In fact, at times it traveled considerably longer and didn’t read the lane at all. A mishmash of a bit too much head oil, wrong drill angles for my game and speed never allowed the ball to pick up down lane. After talking to my ball drilled, Michael Tucker, we hit the ball with a 3000 Siaair pad. There was an instant change in the ball’s down-lane reaction, which was very angular with an amplitude of kinetic energy transferred to the pins. I loved this look on the house shot. Only problem is it didn’t last long and I was right back to where I started. The problem with the Fortera Exile on a typical house shot with my layout, it was too robust of the dry, but if I got in to chase the oil, it was too lengthy, never reading the lane.
I will say the core of this Fortera Exile is awesome if you have a mountain of hand or slow ball speed. This new Fortera Flip core does have a greater angular velocity than any other Brunswick ball I’ve seen ever on the market. Those such as I, who have a higher volume of speed, will have to rethink how they drill this bad boy. Why? As it already has length built into the Pearl Coverstock a pin up drilling, especially as long as I went, might not be for you. Of course, there is a side note I will get to later.
I tried a couple of different surface adjustments on this ball to get a look I liked. The difficulty was they never lasted longer than a game or two. I also tried this ball on an array of patterns. With this layout, the ball was a no show on anything in the medium/long to long as well as higher volume range at least for me. Of course, those with slower ball speeds or higher rev players will find this ball useful on an array of patterns regardless of the drilling angels.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved this ball as soon as I hit the shorter patterns or the lighter volume patterns. I still had to watch the length of the pattern but that was alright. This layout did allow me to throw the Fortera Exile on a pattern where normally I would have reached for a LT-48. The angular velocity as well as the stored energy made for one hell of a striking machine on these shorter patterns. I actually had to bring the surface up which only added to the strength of this ball. I still would recommend playing with the cover and not bowling with the original out-of-the-box surface. The original surface just seemed a bit too unpredictable off the end of the pattern. Of course, this is just my opinion.
If you are looking for that ball that makes you go, “How the hell did that make the corner,” well this is the ball for you. For those with slower ball speeds or high rev players the only drawback I see is the ball becomes angular. Really, really, angular the more you catch it at the bottom of the swing. Can you say 9 pin or 8 pin. I knew you could! I will say the ball shines the best when the front part of the lane is fried and the backend tames down a bit with carry down.
I really loved this ball but it was pattern limited with my game as least with these drill angles. This is the first time I tried this specific layout on any ball and although it has a place in my bag, I strongly feel that I am not tapping into the true potential of this Fortera Exile. I am going to plug and drill it with a different layout. Therefore, once I do I will add an amendment to this review and further discuss what I feel is one of the best balls to date Brunswick has produced.
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