The Professional Bowlers Association has unveiled three distinct new lane conditioning patterns that will debut during the GEICO PBA Summer Swing in the Milwaukee area May 20-June 2, expanding the PBA’s current library of “animal pattern” lane conditions.
The new lane conditioning patterns, named the Badger, Wolf and Bear, are a continuation of the animal pattern theme the PBA introduced in 2005 to not only test the versatility of the players and demonstrate the variety of scoring challenges PBA players face, but to give PBA members, grassroots league bowlers and fans an easier way to identify specific types of conditions.
The Badger will be the longest animal pattern ever (52 feet). Conversely, the Wolf will be the shortest animal pattern ever (32 feet). The Bear will be a flat pattern of medium length (40 feet), similar to what has been used at the U.S. Open in recent years and characterized as the most difficult test in professional bowling.
The way lane oil is applied (in shape and volume) to the 60-foot playing surface of a lane is a strong factor in the scoring pace of a professional bowling tournament, testing the skills necessary for success and the strategic approach the players must take.
"We listened to players and fans looking for more diversity in our lane maintenance program and have developed patterns that will give everyone fresh looks," said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. "These new animal patterns have dramatically different, uniquely challenging characteristics."
The original animal pattern system, featuring the Chameleon, Cheetah, Scorpion, Shark and Viper patterns, eventually became the foundation for the PBA Experience League program which allows grassroots United States Bowling Congress league bowlers across America a chance to bowl on the same lane conditions PBA players compete on in national and regional tournaments. The original animal patterns will be used again at this fall's PBA World Series of Bowling V in Las Vegas.
All eight animal patterns, in addition to PBA major tournament patterns, will be used and available for future PBA national, PBA50 and PBA regional tournaments plus PBA Experience league play. All of the new patterns are USBC Sport Bowling-compliant, which generally means flatter ratios of oil across the lane and demanding more precision by players than on more typical "house" conditions found in bowling.
Clark said there was a lot of synergy in debuting the new PBA patterns at the upcoming GEICO Summer Swing in Milwaukee. The Swing features four events in three different bowling centers and will be the first time the PBA airs on the CBS Sports Network.
"The best players in the world will develop fresh strategies to attack the lanes and fans will be entertained by the results," Clark said.
The Badger condition will be applied on the wood-based lane surfaces at AMF Waukesha in Waukesha for the qualifying and match play rounds for the PBA Badger Open, May 20-21. The Wolf condition will be applied to the synthetic lanes at AMF West in Milwaukee for the PBA Wolf Open, May 23-24. The Bear condition will be used on synthetic lanes at AMF Bowlero in Wauwatosa for the PBA Bear Open May 27-28.
A combination of the three patterns will be used for the culminating PBA Milwaukee Open. The “cashers” round, featuring the top qualifiers based on total pins from the three previous events, will employ the Bear pattern. The three subsequent match play rounds will feature the Bear, Wolf and Badger patterns, respectively. Whoever is high qualifier for the PBA Milwaukee Open stepladder finals will select the pattern for the TV finals. Five TV shows (including the special GEICO King of The Swing event) will be taped June 1-2 at Bowlero for airing on consecutive Tuesdays at 7 p.m. ET beginning June 11 on the CBS Sports Network.
The PBA's online bowling channel Xtra Frame will have live coverage of every GEICO Summer Swing event's qualifying and match play portions.
A complete description of the new animal patterns, along with graphs illustrating how oil is applied for each pattern for PBA members, is available here (from pba.com under the “resources” tab). Along with the new patterns, the PBA has created a new series of animal pattern logos which will be used in conjunction with each pattern.
More information about the GEICO PBA Summer Swing, including entry and ticket information, is available at pba.com.