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How to Play Highway to Hell Oil Pattern: Steps and Tips

How to play the kegel highway to hell oil pattern

Your lane’s condition has a monumental impact on your ability to score in bowling. So, it’s wise to learn all you can about the oil patterns you may play on – and the Highway to Hell oil pattern is one of the most memorable.

If you’ve heard about the pattern and want to know how it can affect your bowling experience and score, we can help. In this blog post, we’ll tell you how the Highway to Hell oil pattern is created, how it affects your ball’s trajectory, how to bowl on it for the best possible score, and more.

Let’s get right into it!

What is the Highway to Hell Oil Pattern? 

The Highway to Hell is a 40-foot oil pattern that gives professional bowlers everywhere trouble. The pattern starts with oil spread horizontally from the foul line to the 15-foot mark. After that point, there isn’t much oil at all. Soon, you’ll know what that could mean for your game. 

Red and white gradient image of the highway to hell bowling 40 feet pattern showing how the oil is applied.

How Highway To Hell Oil Pattern Affects Your Ball’s Trajectory

Without getting too technical, when a portion of the lane is dry, the ball will not hook much on it and will go mostly straight. In areas where the lane is oily, the ball will hook more and could go into the gutter. 

Keep these things in mind as you think about the Highway to Hell oil pattern. 

Woman in a bowling club for bowling is throwing ball and getting little ball reaction

The Main Benefit(s) Of the Highway to Hell Oil Pattern

The main benefit of the Highway to Hell oil pattern applies to professionals who are looking for a challenge. The oil spread on this pattern makes getting a strike extra challenging.

A secondary benefit is that it can help high-scoring bowlers further refine their skills. 

Friends playing in bowling club and rolling a urethane ball

The Drawbacks of Bowling on the Highway to Hell Oil Pattern

Though the high difficulty level of the Highway to Hell oil pattern often translates to a welcome challenge for some, that’s not going to be the case for everyone. Bowling on this pattern can quite literally take the joy out of the game.

Even bowlers who have some experience under their belt may find that it’s way too much of a challenge. Also, the pattern takes a healthy dose of precision to recreate. It’s much more intricate than other oil patterns, requiring a specialized machine and professional know-how on the part of the bowling alley staff. 

Cheerful friends at the bowling alley with the balls trying to learn how to get greater axis rotation on their roll

Is the Highway to Hell Oil Pattern for Beginners?

If you’re a beginner or recreational bowler, the Highway to Hell oil pattern is not going to make for the most enjoyable bowling experience. The way it’s oiled practically guarantees that your ball will go into the gutter at least once during your game.

And if you’re unlucky, it may happen several times. You might want to steer clear of this pattern (and maybe try an easier one) if you’re not looking for a tough challenge. 

Young man bowling with female friend photographing at club after the lane man applied fresh oil

How to Bowl on the Highway to Hell Oil Pattern

If you’re a professional bowler or just someone with a lot of experience, and you’re looking for a challenge, the Highway to Hell oil pattern may be for you.

If you find yourself on this pattern, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you’ve got the right ball – a spare or symmetrical ball just won’t cut it in most cases. Light balls won’t work well, either. 

You need a ball that can power through that oil at the beginning of the lane (without over-hooking) and hook at the end. There’s ongoing debate concerning which bowling balls work, but starting with a highly reactive asymmetrical ball will give you the best chances of success on this oil pattern.

Hammer Black Widow 2.0 Bowling Ball
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After that, it should be a matter of adjusting your throw during the game as you get a feel for the lane conditions. You might be wondering where to stand and which lane board to aim for as you release the ball. The truth is that the answer to this question is uncertain and depends on the ball that you choose.

Track Stealth Bowling Ball (Reactive Solid)
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Since each ball behaves differently, your bowling style will need to be adapted in real-time. You’ll need a lot of time at the bowling alley to refine your skills on this pattern. 

BOWLING ON HIGHWAY TO HELL | My First Vlog

Where to Play on the Highway to Hell Oil Pattern

The Highway to Hell oil pattern is not nearly as common as the Easy Street pattern, which is typical at American bowling alleys. So, you’ll need to call bowling alleys around you and inquire about their available oil patterns.

For whatever reason, they may not have this oil pattern available for play. And if they do, they may only offer it on select lanes. Keep that in mind. 

Ask for organized, competitive play, there’s no way to tell whether the organizers will use this pattern at a specific tournament. However, there have been instances where this pattern was the standard in the tournament.

So, if you’re in a league and want to ensure that you’re prepared for all lane conditions, you should definitely get your bearings on this pattern.

Bowling club with bowls on wall, was a great decor idea

Adjust Your Expectations When Playing on the Highway to Hell Pattern

Don’t go into your game expecting to play like you would on any other oil pattern. The Highway to Hell requires a very different approach. If you’re not prepared for that, you’ll be in for a frustrating game.

Accept that you’ll need to make some adjustments and take some time to learn the pattern. Only then will you be able to play to the best of your ability.

Targeting Adjustments for Bowling. Easy Tip to Achieve Higher Scores.

Dos and Don’Ts to Keep In Mind

Now that you know a bit more about the Highway to Hell oil pattern, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

Do

  • Use a ball that hooks sharply at the end of the lane. Reactive resin and urethane balls are best suited to this task. 
  • Adjust your throw as you play. You may need to make so many adjustments that it may take several games and bowling alley trips to find your stride. 
  • Take your time to learn the pattern. Playing on the Highway to Hell pattern is not a race; it’s very much a marathon. 

Don’t:

  • Use a spare or symmetrical ball. They won’t give you the back-end reactivity that you need to get into the pocket.  
  • Use a light ball. It won’t be powerful enough to make it through the oil and stay on course toward the pins. 
  • Expect to bowl like you would on any other oil pattern. The Highway to Hell oil pattern is high on the list of difficult bowling patterns. Prepare for a challenge, or you’ll be very disappointed.

Other Tips to Use While Bowling

While you’re practicing your game and learning the ropes of the Highway to Hell pattern, consider these tips:

  • Put some steam on your release. Doing so will help ensure that your ball will make it through the oil at the beginning of the lane without going into the gutter. 
  • Try different bowling balls. You may need to experiment with a few different types of balls before you find one that works well on this pattern. 
  • Hook the ball at the end of the lane. This will help you get into the pocket after getting through the oil at the start of the lane. 
Young friends playing in bowling alley is playing highway to hell that is 40 feet in length.

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So, there you have it: everything you need to know about the Highway to Hell oil pattern. The Highway to Hell oil pattern is not for the faint of heart. It’s a challenging pattern that is best suited for experienced bowlers.

If you’re up for the challenge, give it a go – who knows, you might just come out victorious!