The Science Behind Golf Balls

There is quite a fascinating story behind the modern day golf ball. Today’s golf ball is a bit of a marvel with its aerodynamics, turbulence, and air pressure.

In Scotland, golf was first played with wooden golf balls and golf clubs. I know a guy that visited Scotland who owns pawn shop Cumming and saw a lot of the old historic landmarks. The “featherie” golf ball was introduced in 1618, a feather made golf ball. This was a handcrafted ball that was made from tightly pressed goose feathers stuck inside a sphere of cowhide. Once these dried, the cowhide shrink while the feathers expanded, making the golf ball hard. Since these golf balls were handcrafted, they were typically more expensive than even the golf clubs, allowing only a small minority of people to be able to afford to play.

The next, golf ball that came into play was the Guttie. This ball was made from the Gutta tree that is found in the tropics with its rubberlike sap. The sap was heated up and shaped into a sphere to create this golf ball. These balls made golf more affordable since they were made out of rubber and were able to be easily repaired and cheaply produced. These golf balls had a smooth surface, though, which prevented it from traveling as far as the Featherie golf ball. Based on this fact, golf ball developers came up with the dimpled golf balls that we now see predominantly today.

Aerodynamic drag is reduced by the golf balls dimples. When the golf ball is smooth, it causes aerodynamic drag, slowing the ball down. This is because the ball leaves a pocket of low-pressure air as it sells through the air, creating drag.

Adding dimples to the surface of the golf ball causes the pressure differential to decrease and reduce the drag force. Turbulence is created around the golf ball, thanks to the dimples, that then makes the air more closely clasp the golf ball. The end result is less drag and a smaller wake.

Every golf turn immense officially used dimpled golf balls after they were discovered. The standard weight and size of golf balls were created in 1921. These days, you can find a wide range of golf balls to fit your golfing style, weather condition, distance, and many other factors.

The dimpled golf balls are common these days, and show us a wonder of physics.