The house oil pattern refers to the standard oil pattern found in bowling centers. While the oil pattern will slightly differ between Red Rock and Main Event, for example, these have a common pattern: There should be less oil on the outside, typically between the gutter and 10 board, and more oil in the middle of the lane. Look for it and you can use it to your advantage.
The purpose of a house oil pattern is to provide bowlers with more opportunities to get high scores. Both open bowling and competitive leagues have a house oil pattern for this reason although the amount of oil will differ – more challenging for leagues, obviously.
In general, a house oil pattern is 32 feet in length and buffed to 40 feet. There should be sufficient oil to aid bowlers but not too much as to hurt their game. The owners of bowling centers also use oil on the lanes since it aids in dressing the lanes and, thus, saves on maintenance costs.
Bowling proprietors and managers design their house oil patterns to be forgiving, especially for beginners and recreational bowlers. There’s a good business reason for it – bowlers who score higher are more likely to come back to the bowling center to enjoy the feeling of being winners. When they become serious about the game, they will then move on into more challenging conditions, which means more business more the bowling center.
Tips on Playing the Pattern
Look for the house oil pattern whenever you’re on the approach. Your awareness of it will definitely contribute to a good game and these tips can help.
- Throw a few practice frames to determine the play on the lane. Keep in mind that the oil can be unpredictable because everybody from beginners to professionals use the lanes. Knowing the oil pattern firsthand will be to your advantage.
- Play inside first by aiming at or near the third arrow on the lane. Then, play outside by aiming the ball at the second arrow. You will then be able to determine the oil pattern and figure out the best way to release the ball, either outside or inside depending on your goal.
- Make a miss room based on the oil pattern. Basically, even if you miss to the left or to the right, a physical mistake that happens even to the best bowlers, the lane’s oil pattern is such that it can help in making up for that mistake. You may just get a strike despite the mistake.
The house oil pattern can be your friend or foe, and it’s up to you to make that decision.