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What Is the Hardest Oil Pattern in Bowling?

what is the hardest oil pattern in bowling

Many people do not realize that bowling lanes each have a unique oil pattern. The oil pattern affects how the ball goes down the lane. Certain oil patterns are more difficult than others, and serious bowlers need to know how to perform based on the most common oil pattern types.

Most bowlers agree that the hardest oil pattern is the US Open Pattern. This creates a flat condition, and the pattern is 41 feet long, making it longer than other patterns. This is not the only pattern the US Open uses, but it is the one they use the most.

To find out more about the toughest oil pattern and more, keep reading. In this article, we learn about how to master the US Open Pattern and other important facts related to bowling oil patterns. Let’s get started.

Mastering the US Open Pattern

As we already mentioned, the US Open Pattern is typically considered the hardest oil pattern to master in bowling. It is difficult because the pattern is longer than many others and it creates a flat condition. During the US Open tournament, this pattern is especially difficult because the bowlers don’t know about the pattern until 30 minutes before the tournament starts.

Mastering the US Open Pattern takes a lot of precise accuracy. You have to be able to hit within a 2-inch width margin in order to get a strike. Because the oil is even, there is almost no chance for a hook in the case that you miss the two-inch margin.

In other words, you need to have precise target-making skills in order to master this pattern. Regular bowling alleys do not offer this pattern because of how difficult it is. The US Open is the only location that uses this pattern because of its difficulty.

Most US Open bowlers rotate their hands whenever releasing the ball. They do this by flicking their fingers up, causing a rotation. Even with this technique, the ball will not hook massively, but it is the best technique for getting a stroke on this pattern.

Since the technique is so difficult, you’ll be happy to hear that there is no best ball for the lane. Because the lane is flat and typically only used by professionals, bowlers simply get to choose their favorite ball based on their preferences, strength, and technique.

What Is the Longest Bowling Oil Pattern?

Now that we have learned the hardest bowling oil pattern, you might be curious about the longest. The US Open Pattern is 41 feet long, which is longer than most other patterns, but it is not the longest. The longest pattern is 52 feet long, and it is called the Badger.

Because this oil pattern is so long, it covers 603 boards. More shockingly, it uses 30.15 milliliters of oil, which is notably more than any of the other patterns. This pattern is best for those who don’t use a lot of hook since the length makes it difficult for the ball to hook after reaching the breakpoint.

Very few bowling alleys ever use this pattern. The extreme length makes it nearly impossible for average players to play on, and even professional players can have a lot of trouble with this oil pattern.

Since this long oil pattern is rarely used, there is not a lot of consensus about which ball is best for it. Many recommend using some sort of ball that conserves energy by creating an angle once it leaves the oil. You should not use a stronger ball because it will not give you a good entry angle from the beginning.

Can You See the Oil Pattern on a Bowling Lane?

Anyone who has gone to a bowling alley knows that the oil pattern is typically invisible, especially if the bowling lane was just oiled. As of late, the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) has created a blue oil for visibility. This allows professional bowlers and viewers to see the pattern before they take the shot.

Can PBA Bowlers See the Blue Oil?

Although you will not be able to see blue oil at your regular bowling alley, the PBA World Series bowling allows the visible blue oil to be used. This blue oil does not make much of a difference for the professional bowlers since they are already highly familiar with the design. Although they can see it, it simply isn’t that different for their already experienced talents.

However, the blue oil does make the alley more interesting to look at on TV. Plus, it allows the commentators to talk about strategy in a way that makes sense to the viewers since they can actually visualize the oil pattern on the lane.

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Did you know that most professional bowlers wipe down their bowling balls after each shot? Oil track is excess oil that is left on a bowling ball after a shot. When a lane is oiled too much, the amount of oil tracked on your bowling ball will greatly affect the way it rolls. Using a bowling ball wipe pad like this one after each shot can help keep excessive oil off of your bowling ball.

What Is the 31 Rule in Bowling?

In order to master just about any oil pattern you come across, you have to know the 31 rule. The 31 rule is an equation that allows you to estimate where the bowling ball will exit the oil pattern. Although this equation will not give you an exact estimate, it gets you close enough that you can begin to master oil patterns as they come.

In the simplest terms, the rule of 31 subtracts the number 31 from the pattern’s length. The resulting number tells you where the bowling ball exits the pattern, which is where the ball will begin to hook.

Let’s look at an example. Using the US Open Pattern, which is 41 feet long, you will subtract 31 from 41. Doing this basic math, you will get 10 as the exit point, otherwise known as the breakpoint. The breakpoint is really important because that is where the bowling ball hits friction and has the ability to hook.

The closer the breakpoint is to the bowling pins, the less hook your ball can make. What this means is that you will have to have more accurate throwing abilities the closer the breakpoint is to the pins.

In contrast, you’ll need to throw the bowling ball further away from the center pin if there is a high possibility for a lot of hook at the end. This will happen if the breakpoint is further away from the bowling pins at the end of the lane.

Using this rule of 31, you can angle your ball more accurately so that you can hopefully get a strike. Once again, this may not give you an exact number, but it will get you close enough so that you have a better chance of mastering the lane and oil pattern.

Final Thoughts

Oil patterns dramatically affect your experience with bowling. If you do not know how to master the oil pattern, all of your strikes will happen by chance, not skill. Some oil patterns are more difficult than others. The most difficult is generally considered the US Open Pattern because of its length and flatness.

This pattern tends to be so difficult that it is almost exclusively used by the US Open, which is why it is named the US Open Pattern. Once again, this is not the only pattern the US Open uses, but it is mostly their favorite.

If you want to start mastering oil patterns, you can start using the 31 rule to calculate the breakpoint of the ball. If you are more interested in just watching bowling, you have the PBA to thank for the visible blue oil, which makes your viewing experience much more enjoyable.

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