A PBA pro by the name of Andres Gomez referred to bowling as a “invisible golf course”. What does he mean by that? The clear oil pattern that is put out on the lanes is invisible to the naked eye. The oil pattern that is put out determines many factors for a bowler. Bowling competitively you come across a wide variety of oil patterns. Each pattern has its own little tricks and certain ways to attack them. If you walked into your local bowling alley and tried to hook the ball, it would be relatively easy. They would have what is called a “house shot” on the lanes. This is what a house shot would look like on a graph….
Notice the darker blue in the middle, this will allow your ball to slide easier down lane. In this case the lighter oil will allow the ball to hook. Once bowling balls hit the drier part of a lane they will hook. On house shots you can use any ball you have in your bag. There is basically “free hook” anywhere. For a competitive bowler that is a great thing to know. Getting your ball to hook at the correct part of the lane is what optimizes striking potential. Now you are probably wondering Coop what does a harder oil pattern look like? One of the hardest oil patterns I have ever bowled on is called “US Open”. On a graph this is what it looks like…..
This oil pattern is highly difficult even for the pros. The darker blue across the lane means there is not “free hook” and you have to be much more precise with each shot. You also have to have the correct ball in your hand to create the right reaction on this pattern or you will struggle. This pattern also has out of bounds areas where the ball will not hook at all. All of these factors make this pattern very difficult to strike on. In terms of oil patterns, bowling balls, and the variables of bowling this is barely scratching the surface. More articles to come on my favorite sport.