PBA Don Johnson Oil Pattern: How To Play?

PBA Don Johnson Oil PatternHave you ever played on a PBA experience pattern? Does your local bowling center create the opportunity for advanced or pro bowlers to practice on such lanes? Great, then it’s time you throw some balls on the PBA Don Johnson oil pattern. It is one of their Legend, AKA the Hall of Fame patterns. And, yes, the oil pattern is named after the 26 PBA tours winner and the ever-popular professional American bowler, Don Johnson (May 19, 1940 – May 3, 2003). How amazing is that! If you want to experience why this bowling pattern is loved by many legendary bowlers, including Don Johnson himself, continue to read further.

What is the PBA Don Johnson oil pattern?

The Professional Bowling Association (PBA) accredits some of the best sports oil patterns. The pattern of oil we are discussing today is the PBA Don Johnson oil pattern, named after the legendary American bowler. Did you play on this challenging oil pattern before? Even if you didn’t, you may have learned about it from PBA Experience, the USBC Sport Bowling program.

The PBA Don Johnson is a 40 feet long oil pattern. The total amount of Forward Oil is 18.15 mL and Reverse Oil is 12.55 mL. So that gives you the Volume Oil Total of 30.7 mL on the lane. The Total Boards Crossed in this bowling oil pattern are 614 Boards, where the Forward Boards Crossed are 363 boards and Reverse Boards Crossed are 251 boards. There will be 50 uL of oil on each board. The oil transfer and conditioner type are customizable.

How to attack on the PBA Don Johnson oil pattern?

First thing first, let’s find out the board where you can expect your breakpoint or the exit point to be. So, by using the rule of 31, I will take the PL (pattern length) 40 feet minus 31 is 9; (40-31=9). You don’t necessarily want your breakpoint to be on the 9 board. Considering the overall oil condition, this is where you want your bowling ball to exit the oil. With the right bowling strategy, you can move a bit inside and throw the bowling ball as straight as possible. Although your exit point on Don Johnson could be anywhere as far inside as 12 and as far right as 8. I’d say, it’s safer to play inside. If the track is well-defined, you can play inside without having any worry and throw it more to that 11 or 12 spot down the lane.

To experience the best kind of result, you will be needing excellent control and accuracy on the PBA Don Johnson oil pattern. As a bowler, you should know that you can try different boards/lines across this oil pattern and use various methods to finally find out what is the best scoring side for you. After throwing a few shots, see whether you’re playing better in the middle part of the lane or not. Make adjustments if you think are needed. Some of you might find it easy playing on the corner while others may find it easy towards the middle.

Hooking your bowling ball on a long oil pattern is risky. However, the length of the PBA Don Johnson may not be too long for some of you, and so, you might attempt to hook your bowling ball. Well, if I were in your place, I wouldn’t do that. So I will discourage that personally.

By looking at the oil volume and viscosity of PBA Don Johnson, it looks like the lane is going to break down slowly, unlike the 40 feet on Kegel Abbey Road. But that doesn’t mean the lane won’t ever break down. As soon as you notice some change, try to move inside and expect your ball’s exit point to be around 12 (more or less).

Don’t be too afraid to play further inside on the PBA Don Johnson pattern. My friend, Chris was telling me that he played 10-15 and still did fine. But He did warn me to not play outside 8 board as it will be out of bounds. So when you are facing this pattern, imagine the 7-1 arrows as the gutter. This will surely keep you on track.

Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?

Most PBA tournament players love aggressive bowling balls. But can you use them for the PBA Don Johnson oil pattern? I will say a medium to a high-performance bowling ball with lots of backend motion and controllable reaction would be the best bowling gear. For this particular pattern, I would suggest using a bowling ball that has good balance and something that lets you control the ball speed nicely. Of course, do make sure it has accuracy and you can easily repeat shots to achieve consistency and a high score. Avoid bowling balls that tend to hook at an extreme angular shape at the breakpoint.

A great benchmark bowling ball for the PBA Don Johnson oil pattern would be the Storm Marvel-S from the Master line. The ball is just perfect for controllable backends, plus, it reads the lane on time and delivers predicted results. Roto Grip Hyper Cell is an amazing alternative if you don’t have the Marvel-S. Basically, these two are most commonly thrown in this pattern and often recommended by bowling coaches. The Roto Grip Haywire and Storm Crux Prime are some amazing substitutes if you can’t get your hands on the other balls I have just mentioned.

Another bowling ball you can opt for is the Storm IQ Tour Solid bowling ball. Although, the ball will ensure the best performance when the lane starts to break down. If I were facing the PBA Don Johnson pattern, I would not start with this ball on the very first game. You can also go for Storm Hy-Road Pearl instead of Storm IQ Tour.


And cut! That’s it for today, fellas! As long as you can maintain consistency and keep your bowling ball under control, you have nothing to fear. I hope this article was helpful enough for you to know more about this PBA sports pattern. If you have a tournament coming, get ready for the challenges you are about to face. 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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