How To Bowl On Different Lane Surfaces

By BowlersMart IQ Metro Detroit Head Instructor – Mike Calhoun

Today we are going to talk about different lanes surfaces and their characteristics. The modern game is built around slicker oils and harder lane surfaces which are called synthetic. Where back in the day the game was built on softer lane surface and lacquer. The most common surface back then was wood.

Characteristics of Wood Lanes When Bowling

The common wood surface was made with pine, the most used concept of the wood surface was to use pine for the last 45 feet. Now with that being said we now WOOD is softer and thus produces a very high friction content. When a surface has a high friction content and soft surface, it definitely slows the ball down quicker and starts the hook process earlier. So cleaner bowling balls, polished balls would be a popular choice that depending on your personal style and lane play.

Characteristics Of Synthetic Lanes When Bowling

Now the modern-day game is built around slicker oils, harder lane surface which we call synthetic. In turn, we tend to use more conducive and stronger bowling balls with surface to help start the process earlier since the surface is slicker we need help to do so.
There are a few different types of synthetic lane surfaces such as guardian, HPL, lane shield etc. Each will have their own characteristic of how the lane will play, and then throw your personal style in the mix this can be quite the cat and mouse game at times. Guardian lane surface is commonly deemed the closest to the old wood surface with how that surface and its characteristics play. HPL / lane shield are kind of in the category that falls between synthetic and wood and will allow various types of bowling balls that could be used for lane play.

Putting The Pieces Together When Bowling

With understanding and knowing your personal tendencies and then adapting yourself to encounter what each surface has in store. This is where the game begins to get fun and more in-depth.  This will allow you to make a ball choice, surface change which is a science in itself alone. Now factor in the modern-day equipment, the physics that goes into developing the oils, patterns and the coverstocks, cores and it becomes a science. Being familiar with these lane surfaces and yourself takes practice and that is the best way to overcome and prepare yourself.
The next time you go practice somewhere, do not ask for fresh oil patterns, just bowl. Doing this has allowed me to adapt to some extreme and difficult conditions, it allowed me to learn more about my capabilities and help turn my weaknesses into strengths., such as speed control and hand positions.
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a better-understanding on a way to attack each of these surfaces. Remember the more you know the better prepared you will be.

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