Everything You Need to Know About Bowling Oil Patterns

If you’ve ever been to ALL STAR, you may have noticed that the lanes are coated with oil. This might make you wonder why they put oil on the lanes in the first place?

What is Lane Oil?

Lane oil is a liquid that is applied to the surface of the bowling lane. It’s typically made from a mixture of mineral oils, and it’s designed to help protect the lane surface and improve the bowling experience.

Why Do Bowling Alleys Put Oil on Their Lanes?

There are several reasons why bowling alleys put oil on their lanes, including:

  • Protecting the Lanes – The lanes are made of wood, and they are subject to a lot of wear and tear over time. Lane oil helps protect the surface of the lanes by providing a barrier between the wood and the bowling balls.
  • Consistency – Bowling alleys strive for consistency in their lanes to make the game fair for all players. With oil, they can create a consistent playing surface that allows the ball to roll smoothly and predictably.
  • Lane Conditions – Different bowling alleys may have different lane conditions depending on the type of oil they use as well as the pattern in which it’s applied. These variations can make the game more challenging and interesting for players.
  • Improved Performance – Lane oil can also improve the performance of the ball. When the ball rolls over the oiled surface, it creates less friction, which allows it to roll further and with greater ease.

Types of Lane Oil

There are several types of lane oil that bowling alleys may use including:

  • Prodigy – This is a popular type of lane oil that is used by many bowling alleys. It’s known for its consistent performance and its ability to create a smooth playing surface.
  • Summit – This is another type of lane oil that is designed to provide a consistent playing surface. It’s a bit more expensive than Prodigy, but many bowlers prefer it because it allows for greater ball control.
  • PBA – The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) has its own type of lane oil that is used in tournaments. It’s designed to be more challenging for professional bowlers, and it creates a more unpredictable playing surface.

How to Read Oil Patterns on Bowling Lanes

Oil patterns refer to the way in which oil is applied to the surface of a bowling lane. The patterns can have a significant impact on how the ball reacts on the lane.

Here are some tips on how to read oil patterns on a bowling lane:

Look at the Boards – The first step in reading an oil pattern is to look at the boards on the lane. There are usually 39 boards on a standard bowling lane, and they are numbered from 1 to 39. By examining the boards, you can get a sense of where the oil is applied and how it’s distributed.

Identify the Oil Pattern – There are several types of oil patterns, each with its own characteristics. The most common types of oil patterns include:

  • House Shot. This is a basic oil pattern that is used in most bowling alleys. It features a heavier concentration of oil in the center of the lane, with lighter oil on the outer edges.
  • Sport Shot. Sport shots are designed to be more challenging than house shots. They feature a more complex oil pattern, with oil applied in different lengths and concentrations across the lane.
  • Flat Shot. A flat shot is an oil pattern that is applied evenly across the entire lane. This creates a very consistent playing surface, but it can also be quite challenging.

Observe Ball Reaction – Once you’ve identified the oil pattern, you can start to observe how the ball reacts on the lane. Pay attention to how the ball moves as it rolls down the lane, and try to identify any changes in direction or speed.

Adjust Your Approach – If the oil pattern is heavy in the center, you may need to aim your shot slightly to the side to compensate for the extra oil. In any case, adjust your approach as needed.

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