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How to Play Bourbon Street Bowling Pattern: Step-By-Step Bowling Guide

Bowling alley lane background with white text how to play the recreational bourbon street bowling pattern

Bowling patterns are among the least known aspects of bowling, especially among beginners. This is widely due to the fact oil patterns are invisible obstacles that affect your game, but you can’t see it.

However, knowing the basics of oil patterns and the most common patterns you’ll come across in bowling can only benefit you. Not only can this knowledge give you an edge when bowling competitively, but it can also help you improve your bowling skills overall.

The bowling pattern we will focus on in this article is the Bourbon Street Bowling pattern. We will share the technical aspects of the pattern, who the pattern is for, how to play on the pattern, and more. 

Because we’re Bowling For Beginners, we won’t jump directly into the Bourbon Street Bowling pattern. So, before we get specifics, we’ll start by defining bowling patterns in general. 

A bowling pattern, or oil pattern, is the manner in which a lane is oiled. Each bowling pattern is oiled according to a predefined plan and a machine. Some of the most well-known bowling patterns were created by Kegel, a large manufacturer of bowling lane oil. Patterns of this type have several difficulty levels. 

The bowling pattern you play on has the potential to completely change your bowling experience. For instance, if you normally play on a house pattern, like the Main Street oil pattern (which is commonly used in bowling alleys), suddenly switching to the Route 66 or Dead Man’s Curve will be a challenge. 

The main things you need to know about bowling patterns as a beginner bowler: dry areas make your ball curve, and oily areas allow your ball go straight.

Bourbon Street Oil Pattern- What Is It

The Bourbon Street Bowling pattern is part of the Kegel Recreation series of bowling patterns, and it is 40 ft long. It uses a total oil volume of 23.45 ml, with 15.6 mL of forward oil and 7.85 mL of reverse oil.

The pattern is made up mostly of combined oil (forward and reverse oil), which is situated up the middle of the lane from the foul line to the 30 ft mark. There is also forward oil from the foul line to the 3-foot mark near the gutters and dappled here and there up the middle of the lane. 

Orange (has heavier oil) and white (least oil) color gradient of the kegel recreational pattern bourbon street

How To Bowl on The Bourbon Street Bowling Pattern 

The Bourbon Street Bowling pattern is one of the easiest oil patterns to bowl on. Though, if you’re used to playing on a different pattern, you could run into some difficulties. 

If you typically bowl straight, you won’t have any issues with this pattern. Just roll the ball straight down the lane and target what’s known as the pocket.

The pocket is the space between the headpin and one of the pins directly behind it (3 pin for right handers and 2 pin for left handers). Using this method, you should be able to easily get spares and even strikes.

Bourbon Street Bowling

But if you regularly hook your ball, you’ll need to put just a little more thought into how you play. The pattern can be difficult to hook on if you’re unprepared. To determine how to hook on this pattern, it’s important to use the rule of 31.

This is a calculation of where your breakpoint should be (the point at which your ball hooks toward the pins). To calculate your breakpoint using the rule of 31, you’ll subtract 31 from the length of the pattern, which is 40. 

Your answer will be 9 – that’s the board your ball should hit before it turns and goes toward the pins.  When you execute your hook according to this rule, you shouldn’t have any issues scoring highly on this pattern. 

Start off by standing in the middle of the approach, and then take 4 steps toward the foul line. During your fourth step, release the ball. If you find that you’re not hitting your target, you’ll need to change something about your stance, approach, or release.

There are so many factors that can affect your bowling results that it can be difficult to determine exactly what needs to be changed. But with trial and error, you’ll get it.

People have the most success on this pattern when they play narrow, and that means releasing the ball near the middle of the lane. Once you get to the outside of the lane, you will have an increased chance of getting a gutter ball. 

I Bowled A Tournament On Bourbon Street | First Tournament Vlog

What Ball to Use for Bourbon Street Oil Pattern

Which ball should you use on the Bourbon Street oil pattern? The answer depends on your bowling style. If you bowl straight, a spare ball (plastic ball) will work just fine. It is geared towards beginners who bowl straight. It is also good for picking up spares. 

Brunswick Tzone Deep Space Bowling Ball (Plastic)

A great option to consider is the TZone Deep Space bowling ball by Brunswick. A plastic ball that is great for straight line bowling. The Brunswick TZone Deep Space is not to be overlooked. It's also a great entry-level bowling ball for beginners trying to get a handle on different lane conditions.

Bowling for Beginners may receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link, at no additional cost to you.

For those who like to hook the ball, a urethane or reactive ball is ideal. Either of these balls will give you a higher hook potential than a plastic ball would.

Trying to play on this oil pattern with a plastic ball will only frustrate you – it won’t hook much. But if you go with one of the balls that we recommend, you will get the hook that you’re looking for.  

Bowling for Beginners may receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link, at no additional cost to you.

Know that reactive balls hook more than urethane balls and that your bowling stance, approach, and release all factor into how your ball behaves as it goes down the lane. 

Red bowling ball on kegel recreational bourbon street oil pattern that has more oil in the center than on the sides.

Is the Bourbon Street Oil Pattern for Beginners?

Absolutely! As a beginner, it’s easy to become discouraged when you get gutter ball after gutter ball. Luckily, you probably won’t deal with that with this pattern.

The pattern is rated as one of the easiest oil patterns out there, and if you happen to throw your ball a little too far to the right or left, it’s not guaranteed to go into the gutter. The pattern is forgiving – much more so than other Kegel bowling patterns.

At the same time, avid and pro bowlers can also have fun with this pattern. Though, they won’t get as much of a challenge with this pattern as they would with some others. 

Female bowler in red shirt in bowling alley holding a red bowling ball has one shot left for a strike

Pros and Cons of the Bourbon Street Oil Pattern

Not sure if you should bowl on the Bourbon Street oil pattern? This section is for you. Knowing the pros and cons of the pattern can help you decide whether it’s a good match.


  • This bowling pattern is one of the easiest to bowl on. So, your chances of getting frustrated by repeated gutter balls are low.
  • It’s a good pattern for beginners who are still learning the game.
  • People of all skill levels can enjoy this pattern.


  • If you’re an experienced bowler, you might find this pattern too easy.
  • If you hook your ball, you could run into some snags. Though, if you follow the tips in this guide, you should be fine.
Female bowler in bowling alley holding red bowling ball smiling, had a perfect swing and got a strike

Where to Play on the Bourbon Street Oil Pattern

Many bowling alleys will have this pattern available for bowlers throughout the year. If you’re not sure if your local bowling alley has this pattern, call them and ask.

If they don’t have it, see if they know when it will be available and plan an outing then. 

The bowler used the dots on the lane to instead of throwing the red bowling ball on wood alley with blurred bowling at the arrows.

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So, there you have it – everything you need to know about the Bourbon Street oil pattern. It’s a great choice for beginners and can help you define and reinforce your skills.

Now, it’s time to get out there and try it! We hope this guide has been helpful and that you have a great time bowling on this pattern.