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Red/White/Blue Lane Maintenance

In order for leagues and tournaments to be conducted in the fairest possible way, USBC promotes Red/White/Blue lane maintenance and lane conditioning procedures be as fair and equitable from squad to squad, day to day, and weekend to weekend as possible. A checklist is provided to bowling centers across America to ensure Red/White/Blue lane maintenance for league and tournament oil conditioning procedures adhere to the carefully crafted guidelines presented below so that every bowler has a fair opportunity to compete. has established a BowlVersity section to the site which archives information and articles ranging from instructional content to lane play and lane conditions content. You can find articles about the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Red, White, and Blue patterns discussing all three patterns including some insight into each pattern from a player's perspective. The checklist items presented below are simply guidelines the USBC asks proprietors and bowling center maintenance teams to follow on a regular basis to ensure an ongoing and consistent policy of fairness in lane conditioning procedures for competitive environments.

Here are 13 checklist guidelines you may find of interest. Local bowling centers are working at making your lane conditions adhere to the patterns and maintenance procedures the USBC requires:

  • The same type of oil is being used on each shift or squad as compared to others.

  • The same type and mixture ratio of cleaner is being used on each shift or squad as compared to others.

  • The same pattern is correctly being used on each shift or squad as compared to others.

  • No significant changes to the buffing brush, transfer roller, and/or cleaning systems have been made.

  • On the first shift of the day, lanes should be started no earlier than two hours prior to start.

  • On the 2nd shift of the day, lanes should be run immediately before the start time.

  • On the 2nd shift of the day, all lanes used on that squad must be conditioned again.

  • The lane machine cord must not drag on any part of the lane and should move only in the gutters.
  • Must make sure the cleaner and conditioner tanks are full before starting the procedure and the recovery tank is empty.

  • The lane cleaner volume must be checked and re-filled, if necessary, every 16 - 20 lanes.

  • The lane conditioner volume must be checked and re-filled, if necessary, every 16 - 20 lanes.

  • The lane cleaner recovery tank must be checked and emptied, if necessary, every 16 - 20 lanes.

  • Tapes must be taken and approved (suggested for leagues but mandatory for tournaments).

An actual checklist USBC provides every bowling center virtually contains this same data and each bowling center must sign an authorized form by a center management team member for every scheduled tournament competition after maintenance has been completed. It is evident that the requirements for fair lane conditions is a well planned process. Regardless of which pattern of lane conditioning is chosen by a given center maintenance staff for given competitions, leagues or tournaments, adherence to these guidelines must be followed.

It is worth mentioning that any of the three patterns used by USBC, the Red, White, or Blue pattern, has three approved modifications for each pattern which may be selected for use. Each modified pattern uses a varying amount of oil conditioner in the center of the lanes and toward the edges of the lanes as to enhance or diminish forecasting the paces of scoring intended by proprietors.

It also needs mentioning that there exists multiple lane machine options for purchase provided by several manufacturers and all are readily available for use by proprietors. All lane machine models and makes must be certified and approved for use by USBC.

Players may notice varying lane conditions from center to center even if the same lane condition pattern is used. Several factors cause a variance in conditions. Climate differences may cause variations in bowling balls reacting differently form center to center or from city to city across the country. Desert environments will cause a given lane condition to react differently than will high humidity climates.

Temperature changes also affect lane conditions as they do with bowling balls. Humidity differences in centers across the country can easily cause bowling shoes with the same sliding soles and braking heels to respond differently. It is the responsibility of the bowler to adjust accordingly to changes of lane conditions if USBC procedures are followed.

Lanes are allowed up to 40,000th of an inch tilt tolerance as per USBC requirements. Because lanes from center to center can vary in tolerances, bowling balls can actually become airborne microscopically for short distances of travel and will, therefore, react differently than if delivered by the same player on a smooth and level lane surface. There are many reasons why bowlers get different ball reactions which are out of USBC guidelines and controls. That is why the checklist guidelines presented above help proprietors provide fair and equitable playing conditions with certified lane machines and lane maintenance products for their valued customers.

We hope this article successfully provides some insight into the scheduling planning of lane conditioning by certifies USBC bowling centers across America. While visiting, take some time to check out the Perfect Scale® ball rating feature which helps bowlers compare bowling balls by leading manufacturers and how they can match with various lane conditions including the Red, White, and Blue pattern oil volumes. Also, by referring to the "Drilling Layouts" feature found on the home page, layout options are suggested by the manufacturers for the latest bowling balls in today's market including diagrams of the layouts. Finally, please consult a certified instructor or local bowling professional to learn more about the Red, White and Blue pattern lane conditions and how to improve your initial alignment and adjustments on these pattern. has become the No. 1 e-tailer of choice for bowling equipment by the consumers of America. Once you have found any item you wish to order, please be reminded that every item at our site comes with free shipping an no hidden charges. To place your order, simply follow our easy online order instructions 24 hours a day, every day. Thanks for visiting