The first ball with which Golf was ever played was a ‘hairy’ ball (though mostly forgotten now). Most people would say that Golf was played with ‘feathery’ or ‘featherie’ ball when it was introduced. and had dominated golf for over 200 years. In the first four hundred years of golf, there were four types of balls used – the Hairy, the Feathery, the Gutty and the Haskell.
The invention of golf ball dimples happened accidentally. In the mid-1800s, the most widely-used golf balls then were known as gutties, which were first created by Robert Adams Paterson using molded tree sap of Gutta Percha tree getting the name Gutty from the name of the tree.
When golfers inevitably dinged up these balls, they found that the damaged ones had more consistent ball flights than the new, undamaged balls.
After that discovery, golf ball makers began etching raised protrusions into balls. In the early 1900s, another inventor found that indentations in golf balls performed far better than raised protrusions. In 1905, an English manufacturer named William Taylor registered a patent for a golf ball dimple design. Before long, all golf balls featured dimples that would be more or less recognizable today.
As ball technology advanced, so too did dimple science. In the modern era, dimple patterns are thoroughly tested using high-tech equipment to find the optimal design for distance and control.
So why are dimpled balls better than the smooth ones?
As a lay person we would think that smooth golf balls would travel farther than the dimpled ones we use today. But that would be wrong. And there’s actually some fun physics behind the dented ball design. As a smooth ball, without ‘dimples’ flies through the air, the air comes in contact with its front, travels smoothly over it and separates from it at the back. That separation leaves a “turbulent wake region” behind the ball, which creates a drag on the ball. If ‘dimples’ (small hollows which are present on the surface of a golf ball are called ‘dimples’). are added to this imaginary smooth ball, the drag reduces because the turbulent wake is minimised.
A smooth, solid ball won’t fly nearly as straight or far as a golf ball with dimples. The dimples on a golf ball “create a thin turbulent boundary layer of air that clings to the ball surface and allows a smooth flow of air. Due to the thin layer of turbulent air, the dimples create on a golf ball in flight it travels straighter and farther. Dimples also help with the lift.
While on the subject of Gold balls, let us seek answers to a few curious queries a few of us might have:
Q. How many Dimples are there in a Golf Ball?
A. There cannot be a simple number as the answer to this question. The number of dimples varies depending on the model and manufacturer. Most often, the number of dimples per golf ball falls between 300 and 500. The 2017/18 model of the popular Titleist Pro V1 has 352 dimples on it, while Titleist’s other flagship ball from the same year has 328 dimples. A manufacturer created a record of sorts with a whopping 1,070 dimples on a golf ball.
Q. What size and shapes are the ‘dimples on a Golf Ball?
A. The size of golf ball dimples is measured by their depth. The average depth of a golf ball dimple is roughly 0.010 inch. The circumference of dimples also varies from model to model. While most dimples are spherical in shape, they don’t have to be. Some even have hexagon-shaped dimples. Golf ball dimples, essentially, are required to have a symmetrical arrangement and must be within a specific range of radius and depth for optimal performance.
Q. What is the weight of a Golf Ball?
A. The weight of a Golf ball varied dramatically for the most part of the game’s history. With older golf ball designs dating back hundreds of years, the most consistent thing about their weights, shapes, and sizes was the inconsistency. But in the modern era, as with all the Games played professionally sizes of almost all things are strictly specified. Golf’s governing bodies have set out clear regulations for how much a golf ball shall weigh. As per current regulation, a golf ball is required to have a mass no more than 1.620 ounces, or 45.93 grams.
Q.What is the size of a Golf Ball?
A. The general size of golf balls has a history similar to the golf ball weights. In the past, there was great variation among golf balls. But now balls are required to have a consistent size. According to the existing rules, the diameter of a golf ball must not be less than 1.680 inches, or 42.67 mm.
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