How to Play on PBA Chameleon Oil Pattern?

pba chameleon oil pattern

Any of you may assume that the PBA chameleon oil pattern is going to be like most typical house shots. But as the name implies, looks are deceiving. The Chameleon is actually one of the more challenging ones from the Animal Patterns.That’s because, the lane surface type, age, wear and tear typically dictate where to play on the Chameleon. Therefore, to excel on this bowling oil pattern, bowlers have to be versatile in multiple bowling styles. The name is truly justified because we all know how Chameleons change their color to outsmart their enemies. Okay, enough chitchat, let’s get into the main discussion.

What is the PBA Chameleon oil pattern?

The current rendition of the Professional Bowling Association (PBA) approved Chameleon oil pattern is 39 feet in length. This medium-volume pattern is really flat with a 1:2 ratio but at the same time, it gives a lot of structure close to the gutter. The volume oil total on this pattern is 25.4 mL where the total amount of Forward Oil is 13.7 mL and Reverse Oil is 11.7 mL.

The Total Boards Crossed in this pattern are 508 Boards (274 Forward Boards and 234 Reverse Boards). On each board, there will be 50 uL of oil. The conditioner and its transfer type are customizable. So the pattern will differ from house to house. Most PBA bowlers love the Chameleon oil pattern as it can be attacked from multiple angles. Let’s find out how you can bowl like a pro on this pattern.

How to attack the PBA Chameleon oil pattern?

The trickiest part about the PBA Chameleon oil pattern is the different options you have. Based on your specific lane surface several different angles and a variety of equipment can work. Your best bet will be to keep it simple and have an open mind while throwing your ball on this pattern.

To be honest, there is no defined starting point. So we are not gonna use the ‘Rule of 31’ today. Your breakpoint could be anywhere on this pattern. The tracked-down areas of the lane surface may force the bowlers to start farther inside. Hence, the lane play strategy will be based on a player’s bowling style. 

According to the PBA Experience, this is how straight, tweener, and power players should attack the Chameleon pattern—

Guide for Straight Bowlers (< 250 rev rate):

Bowlers who make their ball go straight will be more comfortable starting between the gutter and first arrow. But if it doesn’t work as anticipated, straight bowlers should end up in the track area which is 8-12 boards of the lane. To start, go for an aggressive ball and move a little deeper. During carry down, I would suggest you move further outside or switch to a weaker bowling ball.

So what should you do when the lane starts to break down? First, check where are you playing. If you are bowling in the middle or near the track area, you should consider moving to the outside part of the lane. And what if you’re already playing out? Then I’d recommend changing to a less powerful ball. Or you can just move deeper. See what’s easy for you.

Guide for Tweener Bowlers (250-350 rev rate):

So what should a tweener do? If you’re a right-handed tweener you need to start somewhere between the 5 and 12 boards. When the lane begins to break down try to move deeper. Oppositely, if you’re a left-handed tweener your start point should be near the first arrow (4-6 board).

When it’s time to adjust to the carry down, a great number of bowlers remain in the same area and switch to an high-rev bowlers. You can do the same and at the same time move a little deeper. Instead of doing that, you can also opt for a weaker ball and move further outside. When there is a noticeable breakdown in the lane, you can either move deeper inside or stay in the same place. You also have the flexibility in choosing balls. However, if you go for a stronger ball on the broken-down lane, you will have better pin carry. So choose wisely.

Guide for Power Bowlers (350+ rev rate):

As for power dominants, the Chameleon is gonna be your best friend. Some power players tend to begin close to the track area or go deeper. But do keep in mind, that this pattern will allow your style of play multiple angles. So have an open mind when you face this pattern. When the lane starts to break down after a few games, you can either change to a weaker bowling ball or move slightly deeper.

As a chameleon has no significant color, the nature of the Chameleon pattern is also inconsistent when it comes to carrying down adjustments of high-rev bowlers. Different power bowlers express different opinions. So you have to see for yourself how you and your team are playing on this pattern. This will give you an idea of how you can adjust. Don’t forget to observe how other bowlers (similar styles to yours) are doing it and try different lines and see what suits you best.

Despite your bowling style, you should practice from multiple angles to find the starting point that is comfortable for you. This strategy is applicable for both right and left-handed bowlers. Try to stay clean as much as possible. Just a heads up, it’s a low-medium scoring pattern, and so, the pattern is gonna yield some of your big scores.

Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?

Let your bowling ball be your guide when playing on the PBA Chameleon oil pattern. All styles of bowlers in the PBA claim that a medium bowling ball, meaning, a mild cover, paired with a strong drilling pattern; or a strong cover paired with a weak drilling pattern, works best on this pattern. Some high-end balls may also work based on your bowling style.

Because of the Chameleon’s uniqueness, Elite has added the PBA Chameleon High-Performance Bowling Ball to its Professional series, made solely for playing on this pattern. But this ball is rare and hard to come by. So here are some of my top favorites.

The Roto Grip Idol is fairly clean on this medium pattern. The Hammer Web Hybrid and the Hammer Purple Pearl are going to be good when you need to round out the flat oil at the beginning. You can surely play straighter with a comfortable hook. Then I’d suggest using the Track Kinetic Obsidian to open up your angles and get some midlane traction.

Another great ball to use on this pattern is the Hammer Obsession, but be careful, don’t throw it too hard as it is a pretty strong ball. Some of the best bowling balls you can use on the Chameleon are— the Columbia 300 Resurgence, the Storm Gravity Evolve, the Ebonite Destiny Solid, the Storm Phaze II, and the Storm Axiom.


And scene. Do remember, the information added here is a good starting point, but not the complete guideline. You will surely need some invention or creativity of your own. There is always room for improvement and change. So do see, how you can coordinate with this pattern, exactly how a chameleon does! That’s it for today, mates. Good luck!


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

Recent Posts