How to Play on Red Square Oil Pattern for better score?

Understanding Red Square Oil Pattern..

Think of the hardest bowling oil pattern you possibly can. Are you picturing a flat lane pattern? Well, allow me to introduce you to the most peculiar and tough oil pattern -the Red Square by Kegel! You will get frightened just by looking at the pattern sheet. The Red Square is completely flat side-by-side. As you know, when your average is under 200, your scores are shown in red. It is believed that most experienced bowlers are going to have ‘red numbers’ on this pattern. Hence, the name ‘Red Square”. So how about we learn how to beat all the odds on this sports oil pattern, shall we?

What is the Red Square oil pattern?

The Red Square oil pattern (1040) is one of the Landmark bowling patterns from the Kegel’s sports series. This is probably the hardest pattern you will ever come across. It is not impossible, but it definitely puts up a challenge. The Red Square runs 40 feet long with 35 feet Reverse Brush Drop.

Different houses are going to have different amounts of oil per board. Designed for the ever-popular Flex lane oil machine, both the Fire and Ice conditioners will be used to lay out the pattern. However, your local bowling alley might even use the Kegel Curve Lane condition which is also fine. What’s significant about this pattern is that it is completely flat with a ratio of 1:1. In other words, nothing changes for where the oil is applied. The only change you will see is how much oil is applied every time.

The Forward Oil Total at this setting is 15.725 mL and Reverse Oil Total is 9.435mL. Combine those together and you get a 25.16 mL of Total Volume Oil. From left to right, the oil concentration is equal on the Red Square pattern. The only separation going on is between the oiled part and the buffed area at two square-like distances. I can see why some bowlers are not so hyped about this pattern.

How to attack the Red Square oil pattern?

On the Kegel Red Square oil pattern, there is just as much oil on the outside as there is on the inside. The amount of oil is the exact same across the lane horizontally. The key to playing on this pattern is knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are and utilizing the strengths the best way possible.

There is no right or wrong shot on this pattern. If you’re comfortable playing straight, go ahead, do it. If you want your ball to hook, you are welcome to do that too. Just make sure you are able to repeat your shots over and over again. If you put yourself in a position where you make your spares and leave the achievable ones, you’re gonna do fine. Take advantage of those lucky doubles.

Now, let’s use the ‘Rule of 31’. So, 40-31 = 9. You can see, that the calculation is indicating that somewhere around the 9 board is where your bowling ball will exit the pattern. Since the pattern is extremely flat a difference in 1 board will create a lot of differences. Let’s assume, you want to play up the 10 board and so your ball is rolling over the 2nd arrow. So what will happen if you miss left and hit the 11 board? Your ball is going to react the exact same as it would on the 10 board but now, your ball is gonna go high. Oppositely, if you miss right and hit the 9 board, your ball will again react the same but now, it’s not going to hook enough and hit the pins light.

So, that’s what is so tough about the Red Square oil pattern. Even if you miss one single board on this pattern, it makes it very difficult to strike. When the lane is fresh, this is when you are likely to struggle more. So how to deal with that? Well, break down the pattern.

Once you break the pattern down, you can create a bump out to the right and that can lead to higher scoring. But here’s the catch. If you miss more marginally, or miss 3 or 4 boards left off your hand, you’re basically gonna hit the 4 pin in the face. On the other hand, if you miss three or four boards right off your hand, and the pattern is not broken down for that, then you’re going to be hitting the 6, or 10 pins in the face which is tough.

So when you find the right number of board to roll down your ball, stick to that and maintain the accuracy. So to attack the Red Square, break down the pattern at the beginning and keep your speed low and the shots consistent.        

Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?

To bowl on this brick of pure oil, you should opt for smooth bowling balls. This is because the moment your bowling ball enters the friction area, it will start reacting. This will allow you to have a slightly larger miss room (1 board inside, and 2 boards outside). So to not have any bad shots, stay away from asymmetrical-cored balls or strong pearls. The ball reaction will be violent if you use those kinds of balls. I will also discourage using a ball with too much surface. It will just burn all of its energy down the lane and hit the pins weakly. Your best option for the Red Square pattern would be symmetrical-cored solids or the medium-strength pearls/resins/hybrids.

You can start with a matte urethane to break down the pattern. For that, you can use The Hammer Purple Pearl, the Storm Phaze II, or the Roto Grip Idol. After that, you can move inside and use a resin or hybrid bowling ball. To achieve consistency in your gameplay, you can use the Roto Grip Hyper Cell Fused bowling ball. With the asymmetrical balls expert a longer ball travel down the lane.

Some of the other bowling balls you will absolutely love using on this pattern are— 900 Global Zen Master, Storm Soniq, DV8 Activ8, Track Heat Lava, Roto Grip Hustle Ink Solid, Storm Electrify Pearl, and Track Kinetic Black Ice.


Can you make your scores red in the Red Square bowling oil pattern? As mentioned, the pattern is tough but nothing is impossible. You just gotta find the loophole to dominate this pattern. For that, there is no substitute for practicing. If you have a challenge coming with this pattern, now is a good time to start. Last but not the least, 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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