Greased lightning! Why bowling lanes are so well-oiled

3D Bowling

You've most likely done it at some point in your bowling career.

In your steely determination to get that strike at your work party, you accidentally overstep the approach and land your foot on that greasy lane surface. You completely lose your balance and land on your rear, watching sheepishly as your ball veers off into the gutter.

Have you ever wondered why bowling lanes are always so well-oiled? It's not just to keep them shiny and gleaming.

In fact, how much and where oil is applied on a bowling lane - a practice known as the 'oil pattern' - has a significant impact on the trajectory the ball and how it travels down the lane.

Generally, the more oil there is, the less friction a ball will have with the lane. This means that it will achieve less spin.

It's obviously counterproductive to oil every part of a lane in the same manner. Otherwise, how would those bowling league professionals on TV achieve those wicked hooks?

To optimise the flight of a bowling ball, different areas of each lane are treated with different amounts of oil.

For example, at most public bowling alleys, there is usually more oil in the centre of the lane compared to the sides near the gutter. As a bowler spins the ball down the middle of the lane, it will pick up some of the oil, helping it glide along the less-lubricated flanks.

Different leagues may employ a variety of oil patterns to make it even trickier for the pros - for example, a completely oiled surface, which will demand a lot more discipline from the bowler.

Ready to experiment with oil at your AMF? Head down to your local centre for a corporate party today!