Oiling patterns

Apart from the blocked lane and reverse block oiling patterns, there are others that are used by bowling alley proprietors, in open-play, league and tournament play. Some of these include:

Top Hat/Wall – Oil is only applied to the middle few boards, leaving the outside boards and back end completely dry. Derided as “adult bumper bowling” because it is such an easy condition, conducive to scoring strikes. If the bowler rolls too wide, the ball will hook back even with little horizontal spin instead of falling into the gutters. This condition is usually only used in open-play or in some casual leagues, as it removes the need for high levels of skill.

Asymmetrical patterns – Used in some lanes to counter the natural advantage that left-handed rollers would have on most symmetrical oiling patterns. More oil is placed on the right hand boards so that it doesn’t wear away as quickly. Although there are no BTBA rules against asymmetrical patterns, they are not generally used. With such a pattern, right handed players would benefit from a more heavily oiled lane in the first few games of the day.

Christmas Tree – Considered by many to be the fairest condition, oil is applied across the lane with slightly more in the middle, while the back-end is left dry. Most different types of bowlers can roll on this lane, without having an unfair advantage. The thin layer of oil on the outside boards also means that skill is required to hook the ball without ending up in the gutters.