PBA Earl Anthony Oil Pattern: What You need to Know

Understanding Earl Anthony Oil Pattern

The 43 career titleholder, Earl Roderick Anthony (April 27, 1938 – August 14, 2001) was and still is one of the most respected professional bowlers in history. Best known for this breathtaking success in bowling, PBA has established a bowling pattern and named it after him— the Earl Anthony oil pattern. Have you played on this before? Or is it the first time you’ve heard about this pattern? Whatever your answer is, first, let’s get to know about this legendary Hall of Fame PBA oil pattern and how to play it. So if you’re interested to know more, continue to read further.

What is the PBA Earl Anthony oil pattern?

The number of titles Earl Anthony holds is 43, and so is the oil distance on this pattern which is 43 feet. Coincidence? I guess not! The Earl Anthony oil pattern is considered a premium based on its qualities for execution and repetition, which Earl Anthony exemplified. This 43 feet pattern has the most unique design in which the oil actually widens down the lane instead of narrowing.

The oil volume can vary from house to house. Typically you will see either 40 uL or 50 uL of oil per board. When it is 50 uL of oil on each board, the Forward Oil total will be 16.45 mL and the Reverse Oil Total will be 13.75 mL. So a total of 30.2 mL will be your Total Volume Oil. The Total Boards Crossed in this bowling oil pattern are 604 Boards, where the Forward Boards Crossed are 329 boards and Reverse Boards Crossed are 275 boards.

When you will face the lighter volume pattern (40 uL), the total amount of the Forward Oil is 13.16 mL and the Reverse Oil is 11 mL. So that gives you the Volume Oil Total of 24.16 mL on the Earl Anthony lane. The conditioner type and the oil application system are customizable which is approved by PBA Lane Maintenance Program (LMP).

How to attack on the PBA Earl Anthony oil pattern?

Not only the late and great pro bowler Earl Anthony has a center named after him in Dublin, California, but also he has a PBA pattern named after him that requires you to be extremely accurate and precise, just like he was. If you are soon to participate in the PBA Earl Anthony Open Tournament in May 2022, this guideline is just for you!

This PBA Experience pattern is not only hard to play because it is flat, but also because of how the oil is applied to the lanes. On the front part of the lane, the oil is highly saturated, and then it starts to get really dry from there. Unlike most patterns, it widens on the outside. Therefore, there will be oil both on the outside and the inside. Imagine a typical house pattern. The Earl Anthony pattern is a heavier and non-forgiving version of the THS.

Now, what I’d love to do is calculate my expected breakpoint of the bowling ball on the lane. For that, I will use the ‘Rule of 31’. Pattern length – 31= 43- 31, it give you 12. So, the 12 board is where your ball will make a move to the pocket. Don’t worry, it won’t strictly have to be there. Your ball’s exit point on Earl Anthony could be anywhere as far right as 8.

Personally, I believe, the best way to attack this pattern is to play a bit outside instead of inside. You also need to use a ball that can give you a little earlier and of course, consistent roll towards the pocket. Playing outside is safer because your ball will roll end over end and reduce the complexity of your ball skidding and grabbing repeatedly. Moreover, it will open up your angles and ensure the best entry angle. If you’re not comfortable playing outside and decide to play a bit inside, you will end up with spares. Just make sure they’re makeable ones instead of those ugly splits.

This exceptionally designed oil pattern force bowlers to make top-tier shots from multiple angles. When it starts to break down, opt for unique moves, scrutinize the boards, and release your ball to achieve precision, just like Earl Anthony did. Try to keep your angles tighter at the beginning and as the pattern breaks down, start to move a bit inside and make some room for your ball and for yourself. This method is applicable to one-handed bowlers only. If you’re a two-handed bowler, you should switch to a higher surfaced asymmetrical ball. You should start a little inside and then bounce right when the time is right.

When I bowled on this pattern, I played pretty much like my typical house line on it. The only difference was there wasn’t much room for error. One thing I learned that if you go too far out, the ball won’t come back. Similarly, when you go too far in, the ball is gonna go left. I made some adjustments by moving a little to the left. That worked fine for me.

Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?

To have the performance of a lifetime, you will be needing a cleaner bowling ball for the Earl Anthony oil pattern. By cleaner ball I mean, a comparatively weaker, shinier bowling ball for the most part. On the hook spectrum, make sure they are a little high-end. However, to break down the lane, you can use a bowling ball with enough surface. If the Grit isn’t too much you can continue using that even on your 4th or 5th game.

A great benchmark ball for the PBA Earl Anthony oil pattern would be the Roto Grip No Rules Exist. I have played on this pattern with this ball and luckily scored 276 (which is my highest so far). If you are not comfortable with an asymmetrical bowling ball, The Storm Marvel-S is a nice place to start. The Roto Grip Hyper Cell is a nice alternative if you don’t have the Marvel-S.

You’ll also enjoy bowling with the Hammer Web Pearl (Jade/Smoke), Motiv Venom Shock, and Motiv Supra Enzo (bring the surface down to 2000 Grit if possible). The Roto Grip Haywire, Brunswick U-Motion, and Storm Crux Prime are also some great bowling balls to score some strikes on the PBA Earl Anthony oil pattern.


I know it can be discouraging to play on tough patterns. But once you get the knack of it, the regular THS will seem easier. So even if you aren’t in the PBA Experience Leagues, you can give this pattern a try. It will only boost your confidence and prepare you for your future battles. See ya later, fellas!


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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