Bowling Oil Patterns – An Explanation For All Bowlers

You’re a bowler looking to get better, but you can’t seem to find the answer you’re looking for. You’ve been able to increase your average score and vertical jump in recent months, but now it seems something is holding you back more than ever. It could be that you just need the perfect bowling oil patterns explained to you.

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What Is Bowling Oil Patterns? 

Oil may not appear to be a bowling product to discuss, but it is rather cool – at least in terms of chemistry! 

Oil impacts what happens to the ball after it leaves your hand and glides down the lane. When oil is put throughout the floor of a bowling alley, it reduces friction between the surface of the ball and the lanes it is rolling on. 

All that friction may lead to wear and tear, so we need oil now and again to keep this from happening. Some furnishings may get more irritated than others without oil, resulting in slower speeds or broken bowling alley equipment.

Oil is usually placed in the center of bowling lanes since they tend to wear out more often. By spreading the oil evenly, you can be sure your ball will not go to the gutter and knock down pins as expected. 

Bowling Oil Pattern Explained

A bowling oil pattern is a surface on which you roll your ball during a bowling game. The bowling oil pattern has a huge impact on how the ball rolls down the lane.

Bowling Oil Patterns - SportPreferred

Bowling Oil Pattern.

There are two types of bowling oil patterns: house and sport patterns. 

The “House Pattern” is ideal for leisure and league bowlers. It has a broader error range and relieves some of the burdens by being simpler to regulate. As a consequence, this one is a lot of fun to play!

Sport pattern is a very sophisticated pattern used by professional and extremely experienced bowlers PBA members. They have established that there are 16 distinct oil patterns to play on. Eight are Animal Patterns, while the other eight are Legend Patterns.

PBA Animal Patterns

PBA Animal Patterns - SportPreferred

PBA Dragon 45:

The 45 ft oil pattern for this lane is designed for longer distance players who aren’t afraid of playing outside the lane. 

PBA Dragon 45 - SportPreferred

PBA Dragon 45.

The outside area will be much slower, so you might want to lay off on those hooks for a while and play up the middle or near some string pins.

PBA Wolf 33:

Wolf’s oil design is quite similar to Cheetah 33 but with a slightly different texture. 

PBA Wolf 33 - SportPreferred

PBA Wolf 33

On the other hand, the texture influences the contemporary reaction to a rebound. It can handle urethane and plastic and ball cores with larger differential and lower RG, resulting in an excellent performance on this pattern. The average distance is 33 feet.

PBA Cheetah 33:

The Cheetah oil pattern is an ace solution when worn lane surfaces need fresh oiling. This pattern is used for its advantage over the lane due to its length. 

PBA Cheetah 33 - SportPreferred

PBA Cheetah 33

The pattern’s length enables it to maximize the area close to the gutter, thus putting an end to speedy hooking when there isn’t enough floor available for hooks to come in contact with their target and deliver a strike!

PBA Viper 36:

The Viper pattern is the most common bowling oil pattern. The viper pattern consists of two lanes that are both hooking and a third lane breaking down. This pattern is created by the presence of oil on the outside of the lane and dry spots on the inside.

PBA Chameleon 39:

Another design with a length of 39 feet is regarded as one of the most challenging. Depending on the player’s style and tactics, you may need to start further within.

PBA Scorpion 42:

The length of this oil pattern is 42 feet. You will find it challenging at first and decrease your possibilities of making blunders. In exchange, the distance and form of PBA Scorpion 42 are known to many individuals, making you feel more at ease with your shots.

PBA Shark 45:

Many bowlers struggle with the 45′ Shark pattern, the longest PBA experience pattern. They find this bowling lane extremely slippery, making it difficult for them to play as well as they would want. 

For a beginner bowler who is unsure what to do when faced with such a lane, we recommend keeping your ball speed low so that you don’t come in too hard and miss the pocket entirely.

PBA Bear 39:

The Bear 39 is the most recent pattern in our lengthy designs. It has a range of up to 39 feet, making it simpler for many bowlers to maintain their fingertips on top of the ball as it reaches its goal. 

Because there are so many various lane surfaces available these days, you should experiment with balls with low RG and low difference to improve hook potential. If you like a more left-to-right pattern, consider utilizing balls with a high RG and a medium difference!

PBA Legend Patterns

PBA Don Carter 39:

The PBA Don Carter 39 is 39 feet long, as the name implies. This lane necessitates a lot of surface modification, so practice some surface changes that work for you ahead of time and keep them in mind when you go on the lane! 

This one has a smaller margin for a mistake, so make sure you’re preparing enough to know what will happen when the games start!

PBA Don Johnson 40:

PBA Don Johnson’s oil pattern moves quickly from left to right, but that doesn’t mean it’s too far for you! It can play more like Badger, so take caution with your approach and intentionally twist the ball inside on its path to the pocket.

PBA Johnny Petraglia 36:

PBA Johnny Petraglia 36 - SportPreferred

PBA Johnny Petraglia 36

When you bowl on the Johnny Petraglia oil pattern, your bowling ball will travel down the lane smoothly. You can get your ball to curve exactly where you want it if you’re attentive to the angle of entry and energy development. It runs like silk and doesn’t slip across the lane too frequently.

PBA Earl Anthony 42:

Using the 42 feet Earl Anthony provided, you will likely be required to alter your ball’s direction more often than usual. 

PBA Earl Anthony 42 - SportPreferred

PBA Earl Anthony 42

The best way to do this is by using a ball with less surface friction and better energy retention right when it hits the lane. This oil pattern is pretty well known amongst avid bowlers and seems to provide minimal trouble for most.

PBA Carmen Salvino 44:

This 44 feet oil pattern strips the oil three times per hour, and it generally makes the ball shoot across the lane. This is a great pattern for professional players.

PBA CP3 42:

Chris Paul, the NBA’s most popular player, introduced his unique bowling pattern to the PBA. This lively design is already a favorite of many hardworking bowlers across America. 

CP3’s characteristics include easily controllable balls and ample lane versatility. A powerful experimental ball is highly recommended, particularly for those with high rpm rates.

PBA Dick Weber 45:

The design for oil bowling lanes is one of the longest, at 45 feet. It may take some time for a newbie to adjust to this amoeba-shaped lane. However, after mastering it, you’ll discover that the game becomes more entertaining. According to all accounts, bowlers who play from the inside of the lane do better; thus, stay on the inside of your lane and have fun!

PBA Mark Roth 42:

Mark Roth’s initial oil pattern distance was 42 feet. On the other hand, newer lane surfaces are said to be able to accommodate patterns as long as 45 – 47 feet with ease. The Oil Pattern is known as “Roth” and is balanced in terms of surface friction and lane reactivity on these lanes, allowing your equipment selection to influence how you move the ball down the lane.

Further Reading:

How to Read Oil Patterns on Bowling Lanes?

Don’t be concerned. We won’t hold you accountable for your ability to discern the oil pattern from a reasonable distance on sight. 

Still, the bowling alley should offer you a copy of their own used/preferred oil pattern as a default whenever they deal with bowlers. You may always inquire respectfully if an employee or owner has a public copy posted (if one is not available online).

A new updated oil pattern is now available at bowling alleys throughout the world. You should become acquainted with it as soon as possible because it is an important game component! The more familiar you are with these layouts, the better off you’ll be in terms of knowing where to focus your attention and how to adapt to them. 


The bowling oil patterns are explained. It’s not as difficult to understand as you may think, yet it affects your game more than you realize. Understanding this part of the game is the key to scoring higher and getting extra strikes. 

We hope you understand everything after this post. Thank you for taking your time.

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