Do you have a tournament coming where you’re gonna the PBA Wolf oil pattern? Are you not sure how to play this pattern? Because of its difficulty level, the pattern is mostly used for serious competitions and championships. Plus, houses love to lay out this pattern oftentimes to let bowlers practice. Clearly, out of all the PBA Animal patterns, the Animal is the most popular one out there. So how do you beat the odds on this pattern? Can you make the Wolf your friend? So many things to learn! So without any further delay, let’s jump into the main discussion.
What is the PBA Wolf oil pattern?
The Professional Bowling Association (PBA) approved Wolf oil pattern is 32 feet in length, making it one of the shortest bowling patterns. The newly upgraded 32 feet pattern has a Total Volume Oil of 27.55 mL where the Forward oil total is 16.5 mL and the Reserve oil total is only 11.05 mL. But here’s the tricky part— the oil ratio of the pattern makes it pretty flat. Short + Flat, do you see how challenging the Wolf pattern can be?
By looking at the pattern specifications I can tell that this pattern will play slick and you’re not gonna have a lot of room for error. As the oil type and the way it will be transferred are customizable, your experience will differ from house to house. Generally, you will get 50 uL of oil on each pattern board (the lighter version will have 40 uL of oil per board). The Total Boards Crossed in this oil pattern are 551 Boards (330 Boards- Forward and 221 Boards- Reverse).
How to attack the PBA Wolf oil pattern?
Petting the Wolf is not gonna as easy as petting a dog. Practically speaking, the PBA Wolf oil pattern is actually very challenging. Even professional bowlers often struggle to score 200+ in a game. So to get a decent score, first you need precise practice and of course, some specific methods. You have to learn to control your speed, learn to hit accurately and make proper adjustments whenever needed. Once you can score above 200, you got it!
Shorter patterns are pure evil when you try to shoot straight. Even when you attempt to pick up those spares, the ball is gonna hook with a lot of angles. Hence, your first target should be hitting the pockets so you can score maximum strikes. To play this pattern you’re gonna need a bowling ball that listens to what you command, meaning, it has to be very controllable. If you miss even by a single board, it will mess up your shot.
So let’s be a smart fella and use the ‘Rule of 31’ first, shall we? We know, the PL is 32. Now, if we subtract 31 from that, it gives us 1. As scary as it sounds, it is true. If you start somewhere between the 1st and 2nd arrows, you’ll safely make that breakpoint happen over the 1st board. So you can see, you’re gonna have to play a lot from the outside rather than inside.
On the PBA Wolf oil pattern, you can move around with your feet. You can stand in the middle or a little to the right. But avoid the left at all cost. Without proper research when I played the Wolf pattern from the inside, my ball was hitting only 3-5 pins on the left side. Yes, it was horrible! So if you miss the left of 5 at the breakpoint, your ball will take off on you.
Playing around the 10 board and then hooking the ball at the edge of the pattern (on board 1) is your best shot to win on the Wolf pattern. If you’re weak at throwing gutter balls, now is your time to be good at it. I know, carry down on this short, flat, and super heavy pattern can be insane. Hence, you need to move further and further right as the lane transitions, rather than moving left. Using the right piece of equipment, hooking it on the lane on point, and keeping up the consistency is your path to success.
Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?
So how do you stay safe from the Wolf attack? To start with, I think, the urethane balls will be an amazing option. Instead of urethane, you can use a high RG and low differential ball with some surface. A low flaring ball will also do the trick. You can start with something like the Storm Pitch Black or the Roto Grip Hot Cell.
When the lane starts to break down, you can use the Hammer Purple Pearl Urethane. Depending on your lane surface, if your gutters are very responsive, you might end up in the gutter a few times. But the key is not to be afraid. Just follow the transition and after you see a lot of carry down from urethane, don’t be afraid to start throwing sanded resins for a better reaction.
A good benchmark level ball for the PBA Wolf is the Brunswick Cutting Edge Solid or the Hybrid one. You can dominate the pattern if you use any of these bowling balls— 900 Global Aspect, Storm First Pitch, Storm Hy-Road Nano, Pyramid Path Rising Black Solid, Motiv Purple Tank, and Motiv Desert Tank. A friend of mine scored a perfect game using the Roo Grip Dare Devil, but I guess she got lucky that day.
Moral of the story— right ball for the right job in the correct part of the lane and flawless execution. This article is not to give you a complete guideline. Rather it’s a basic one to help you get started on the PBA Wolf oil pattern. The pattern will test you on every level. Don’t overthink and keep on practicing. With enough practice, no pattern should be too tough to tackle. So good luck and happy bowling!