I had my first experience bowling on the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships pattern on Sunday at the Greater Iowa Bowling Association tournament at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo, Iowa, and I feel a little closer to knowing what we want to do in Baton Rouge.
However, the pattern almost certainly played softer than what we'll see in Baton Rouge and I'm attributing that to "house memory" — leftover oil in the middle of the lane from Cadillac's house shot that wasn't completely stripped off before the Open Championships pattern was put down.
I base that mostly on what my teammate Steve Richter has said after bowling on the pattern numerous times at his center. He has tried various avenues of attack and has found them fairly difficult, which is what you'd expect from a 2.2-1 pattern.
At Cadillac, I had a good look with a mid-pin box finish MODERN MARVEL on the fresh playing fairly straight up the lane just outside 10 board. There was a little miss room both right and left if you threw it very good but they were touchy.
I crossed with Lennie Boresch Jr., the former PBA exempt player who is going into the USBC Hall of Fame in April; Jacob Bedard, a solid power player with slow speed; and Zack Berschorner, a high-speed power player who had a great day in the tournament.
My 228-223 start had me comfortably high on the pair but that would not last long as the lanes transitioned.
The format was 10 games with four on a pair and as the day went on, I slowly moved in, eventually changing to a pin-up 2,000 Abralon MARVEL and then to a box shiny mid-pin FRANTIC and box shiny pin-up CROSSROAD.
NOTE: Click on the ball reviews section of my blog and you can see details and reviews of some of the balls I mention here.
The move at first went from square to opening up the lane slightly and getting push based on angle, not the pattern.
But as we went further left there was a lot of skid in the middle — far more than Richter had seen in any of his times bowling on the pattern. And I attribute that to house memory.
Bedard started 140-190 and then shot 1,030 the next four (258-265-268-279) as he moved in and opened up the lane with a shiny Roto Grip NOMAD DAGGER.
With slow speed, high revs and "secret" tilt based on his Sarge Easter grip, Bedard had a sick reaction with a huge breakpoint and great carry those four games that got a little worse the last four as he finished at 2,261 for 10.
Berschorner used speed and super high revs to play far straighter but also strike at will — I've rarely seen so many messengers smashing 10-pins —- as he started with just 628, but then went 239, 290, 228, 255 and 233, before a 167 ninth game on our most hooking pair derailed him. He shot 224 his last game to finish at 2,264.
Zach and Jacob finished second and third behind Matt Smith.
I was eighth at 2,151 and Lennie Boresch Jr. was sixth at 2,161 and our problem was simply a lack of power leading to weak carry. Eight of my 10 games were between 214 and 232.
I simply don’t see the middle having push like that in Baton Rouge.
The wild card here is that Cadillac has the Brunswick Pro Anvilane synthetics that are harder (meaning less friction) than the newer Prolane synthetics in Baton Rouge. That would theoretically produce more skid at Cadillac.
Richter compared what he saw when the lanes transitioned to being like bowling on one of the short PBA patterns where you have to go away from the pocket and hook the ball a lot to create area and ball reaction.
Again, angle creates hold.
So I think Bedard’s look going 20 to 25 at the arrows out to 5-10 at the breakpoint will produce a better reaction than Berschorner playing up the track with speed and power.
A player like Bedard may be able to play in that range when the lanes transition and perhaps have that much swing, but I doubt there will be the push he had. But it certainly appears that once the lane transitions, power players will have miss room right.
The question is whether straighter players (like my Turbo 2-N-1 Grips teams) will be able to stay right or find anything edging in after the transition.
On the fresh I could miss right and have it recover one shot and wiggle the next, which is what Richter has reported.
We will know a lot more when the solid team of former PBA Tour champions and players is webcast on Thursday afternoon in Baton Rouge. If starting around 5 board or farther out is in play that team likely will show us.
My hunch is that my teams will end up starting fairly straight around 7-9 board with some guys perhaps balling down and/or using speed to stay right as long as they can and some of us moving in and playing them a bit like a tough version of Cheetah — going away from the pocket with a ball that turns the corner solidly like the CROSSROAD.
We're tentatively going to have a team practice April 6 that should tell us a lot more … along with all the bowling that will be going on in Baton Rouge.
Here is my blog after the pattern was announced in the Feb. 10 webcast.
Below is the note USBC lane man Eric Pierson offered a Milwaukee area league that is bowling on a converted pattern meant to be like the 2012 USBC OC pattern. I also think that Eric is going to be on Above180.com soon and I will provide a heads-up when that happens.
Pattern Theory Explanation
Nationals Pattern 39 Feet
The last few sessions will be bowled on another medium pattern. It is a simulated version of
what will be used at the USBC Open Championships. Differences in lane surface, lane machines
and environment make it impossible for the pattern to be "the same." I have spent some time
making adjustments to what is actually in Baton Rouge to get a similar "feel" here at Foxrun.
Overall the pattern will be 39 feet in length. The volume is similar to the other patterns we have
bowled on this year but slightly higher at 29 mils. Being a medium length pattern, the lanes
should allow for multiple angles to play. Some bowlers will like an outside line, some will play
the track and some could play slightly deeper. The point is medium patterns allow for multiple
breakpoints unlike the short and long patterns which were more defined on where to attack the
Multiple angles is always a goal when setting up patterns for national events. Another goal is to
have good ball reaction on fresh oil by having enough oil to hold up for multiple squads without
having so much oil there is no reaction of the fresh oil squads. We achieve this by having a good
blend of oil side to side and also having a steeper taper from foul line to end of pattern.
The oil side to side is very blended and tapes out around a 2: 1ratio, well within the Sport
bowling requirements. The seemingly high volume of oil is placed with much of it in the first 30
feet of the lane. The remainder of the pattern tapers off slightly giving the ball a chance to slow
down and start its hook phase.
As with most nationals l?atterns you should see very little room for error. Shots to the right will
fight to get back to the pocket and shots inside your target should go high. This is definitely the
case at the USBC tournament. I believe here at Foxrun we have the same.
Don't get too caught up in the pattern being exactly like what we will see in Baton Rouge this
year. Use the league to get a feel for the angles you may try to play and the area you do or don't
have when making good and bad shots. Breaking down the lanes, if done properly should create
good scores. It is key to play the lanes together to create that higher scoring ability. There are
always good scores, but the best scores come from teams who work together.
Equipment used will vary quite a bit. I think the key is to use layouts and surface that help the
ball pick-up in the right place on the lane and control the backends. Too much surface could
actually damage the pattern. I recommend 4000 to 2000 for most bowlers. Surface 1000 or
stronger could be used for lower rev styles.
Most of all, the important aspect is to get the ball on the lane at good angles. Too steep in the
front or too strong on the back is what gets bowlers in trouble. Slightly straighter angles and
smoother breakpoints help break down the lanes properly. Then as friction is created, the lane
should open up into game two and three.
USBC Lane Technician