How to Play on PBA Marshall Holman Oil Pattern?

Understanding Marshall Holman Oil Pattern

The 22 career PBA Tour titleholder, Marshall Holman is best known for his fiery demeanor,  flamboyant, and overall success as a professional ten-pin bowler. After being a part of the PBA Hall of Fame, he had an oil pattern named after him- the PBA Marshal  Holman oil pattern which is an Experience Pattern. So did you even bowl on this pattern? Or soon is it going to be your first time? Yes, or No, you must know about a bowling oil pattern before you roll your ball on it. So if you’re interested to know everything about this amazing pattern, continue to read further.

What is the PBA Marshall Holman oil pattern?

Before we jump into how to tackle the Marshall Holman pattern, let’s take a look at the pattern specs. The newest edition of the PBA Marshal Holman pattern runs 37 feet in length with 50 uL aa9o@oA3@of oil per board. The 3.16:1 oil ratio makes the pattern pretty tough to play.

The Forward Oil total on this pattern is 17.8 mL and the Reverse Oil Total will be 10.25 mL. So that gives you a total of 28.05 mL of Total Volume Oil. The Total Boards Crossed in this bowling oil pattern are 561 Boards, where the Forward Boards Crossed are 366 boards and Reverse Boards Crossed are 295 boards.

How to Play on the PBA Marshall Holman oil pattern?

Previously, the PBA Holman pattern was 41 feet, but recently there were some changes, and now it is a 37’ shorter distance oil pattern. Plus, the oil ratio is significantly flat, so playing this pattern is not going to be too easy. For non-experienced bowlers, the pattern will seem quite tough and they are more likely to struggle with this.

To play the PBA Marshal Holman oil pattern, you have to know how to keep your ball from over-hooking or under-hooking. But what if you get your ball too far outside? You have to know how to play so that you have enough bump room for the ball to come back nicely. You want your ball to roll smooth and see the clean reaction off the friction no matter how long you’re bowling on that particular pattern.

You also don’t want a ball that is gonna bounce too hard on the lane. If your ball is suddenly bouncing a little too much and if the over-hooking is making you uncomfortable, you should consider going for a moderately strong, or in other words, a less hooking bowling ball. Make sure the ball you’re using has a sanded or matte surface for better performance.

Now, where do you start? Well, you know the drill. Let’s use the ‘Rule of 31’, shall we? So pattern length is 37 feet. So if you subtract 31 from that, you get 6. Clearly, your breakpoint is going to be a bit outside. So rolling your ball in-between the second and first arrows would be a wise decision. Don’t worry, you don’t necessarily have to stick to the 6 board for the breakpoint. It can happen anywhere as far right as 4 and as far left as 8.

When I bowled on the PBA Marshall Holman pattern, I treated it like any other house pattern, and let me tell you, I got lucky. That’s all I will say. You can attempt that. But if that doesn’t seem to work for you, use the abovementioned directions and see what the results are.

One important lesson to learn to play this pattern is that if you go too far out without proper balance, the ball will go into the gutter or hit the 6-pin on the face. Similarly, if you migrate inside more than you should, you’re gonna see some consequences too. If you go too left, the ball won’t be able to hit any pins on the right and only knock down a few on the left which will be a horrible shot. Make the adjustments gradually. Don’t make any sudden irrational moves and you will do fine.

Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?

A benchmark ball for the PBA Marshall Holman oil pattern would be the Roto Grip Idol Pro. This will definitely ensure a smooth and clean ball reaction. However, this may react differently for some bowlers on this pattern. It can start rolling out won’t back to the pocket. This is when you can take the Brunswick Quantum Forest Green Solid bowling ball out of your arsenal. With a solid symmetrical ball, you will immediately notice a better bounce off the friction.

When you notice that the PBA Marshal Holman pattern has transitioned a lot, you should consider switching your ball again. If it is a matter of over-bouncing off friction, go for the Roto Grip Hyper Cell Fused or Motiv Venom Shock. These balls will surely provide better length. The Storm Marvel-S would be another amazing ball to roll on this pattern. When I played on this pattern, this is the only ball I used and I scored pretty decently. So, yeah, I can vouch for that.

Some other smooth reacting non-shiny symmetrical balls you should use on this PBA pattern are— Motiv Supra Enzo, Storm Crux Prime, Roto Grip Haywire, Roto Grip Disturbed, Brunswick U-Motion, and Hammer Web Pearl (Jade/Smoke).


Whenever we hear about a  pattern being a little tough, we get discouraged and never even attempt to play it. But that’s wrong. There’s nothing wrong with gaining a new experience. So if you’re looking for some real challenge, the PBA Marshall Holman oil pattern would be a nice place to start. Just roll your ball nice, relax and keep those angles square and that’s all. So keep on bowling and 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.

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