How to Play on Phantom Oil Pattern?

phantom oil patternDid you know the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association (MHSIBCA) has its own oil pattern? Honestly, I just got to know about that a few weeks ago and thought I should write about it. One of the well-recognized is the Phantom oil pattern. Besides MHSIBCA, many bowling centers are also laying out this pattern for players. So what’s so great about this oil pattern? Can you play well on it? Let’s find out, shall we?

What is the Phantom oil pattern?

The Phantom oil pattern is a 50ml load pattern with a 1 to 3.45 ratio that stretches 42 feet down the 60-foot bowling lane. For reference, most PBA or sports shots are 3:1 or lower. So the Phantom oil pattern is going to be pretty challenging for new bowlers.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association was using the Allen oil pattern before they changed it to the Phantom oil pattern very recently. Glad they did it right before the regional and the state tournaments. During a time like this, participants are eager to know more about this pattern. How well they can play on it? How easy or tough it is? Well, let’s see what the pattern sheet tells us.

With the Kegel’s Flex Lane Machine, oil is laid down on the lane. Both tanks of the machine contain the Kegel conditioner using a selected tank configuration that is applied on the lane. The Total Volume of Oil on this pattern is 26.70 mL, where the Total Forward Oil is 14.85 ml and the Total Reverse Oil is 11.85mL only. So you can clearly see here that the lane is going to be pretty slick and deep.

How to attack the Phantom oil pattern?

As soon as you know about a bowling pattern length, you should make a quick calculation to find out the breakpoint of your bowling ball on the lane. So, first and foremost, let’s find that out. As per the ‘Rule of 31’, your bowling ball is going to exit the pattern somewhere around the 11 board (42-31 = 11). So when you throw your bowling ball on the Phantom oil pattern, you gotta start somewhere around the 13-14 board, and then you can see your breakpoint near the 11 board.

Since it is a 42-foot oil pattern, expect a later transition on the Phantom, and you gotta play quite straight on this pattern. As it is comparatively a deeper pattern, it will take longer for your bowling ball to travel down the lane. The more time it is on the lane, the more the friction will be. So opting for a stronger ball will be a smart decision.

With this tougher pattern, you may want to improve your game to the next level for the upcoming season. How can you do that? Of course, using the right techniques is the key. As mentioned, the Phantom pattern is going to play longer and you’re going to end up playing a little close toward the headpin. Not to mention, your angles are gonna have to be straighter than usual.

As your expected breakpoint is board 11, you can move further inside and play a lot straighter and still manage to hit the pocket. Because being 42 feet long, you might end up seeing your breakpoint from board 8 to board 13. a little bit of hooking is also possible on this oil pattern. How? Let’s say you want to see your ball’s exit point at 9 board, so you should release and make your ball roll over the 18 board.

One thing I liked about this pattern is that the transition is pretty slow, meaning, your lane is not going to break down right after a game or two. As the lane transitions, you can start moving a bit to the left. However, you can only do that if you start from the right and let your ball do the work at the end of the pattern.

Another thing you should remember while playing on this pattern is that you gotta keep the ball in front of you and roll it close to the pocket. If your local house is laying down the pattern for you and your team, make sure the lane has a good amount of friction and the outside is also playable.

Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?

To bowl with perfection, you need to use the right bowling ball to not jeopardize your game. So what can be a good benchmark ball for that? Before I answer that, make sure you have a symmetrical-cored bowling ball in your arsenal. It’s not like asymmetrical balls won’t work on this pattern. Turbo ran some analysis, and it is confirmed that some of the symmetrical bowling balls seem to be performing better than asymmetrical bowling balls.

But there is a catch. The symmetrical balls only perform better on the freshly applied oil pattern. When the lane starts to break down, asymmetrical balls will save you from trouble. During the transition, an asymmetrical ball will roll down the lane better and then make its move toward the pins.

For the Phantom oil pattern, you can use any of these amazing symmetrical bowling balls—Storm Axiom Pearl, Storm Match Up Hybrid, and Hammer Black Widow 2.0. If you are opting for an asymmetric-cored bowling ball, you should get your hands on one of these— Radical Tremendous, Storm Alpha Crux, and Columbia 300 Melt Down.

Pick any of these bowling balls and adjust your throws according to that. During practice, the first few shots (or even one or two games) will be out of balance. But don’t worry, you will get the hang of it soon.


To improve your game, the best option is always to go to practice. But why not make your practice perfect? That’s why you need to follow the tips and tricks I have mentioned in this article and use the right bowling gear to do that. As always, keep having fun while bowling, and good luck!

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