When most people think about the game of golf, the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s a favorite pastime of CEOs and retirees. But, golf is so much more than just trying to hit a ball into a very small hole. The game of golf is more of a science than a game, and it starts with the golf ball. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the golf ball is a marvel of modern engineering. Here, we’re going to take a look at what goes into making a golf ball.
Back in the day (aka Ancient Rome), golf balls were made from a leather pouch that was stuffed with boiled goose features and was called a “feathery.” As the game evolved so did the equipment it was played with. There was a time golf balls were constructed from wood and gutta-percha, which was an early form of rubber.
During the 1800s, the golf ball was made out of tires and featured a core that was made from rubber bands wound together. This gave the golf ball more range when hit and soon became the standard in the game. But, during the early 20th century, the golf ball went through a major design overhaul, which was the earliest iteration of the modern golf ball as we know it.
The modern golf ball replaced the old wound rubber version with a solid core construction. The manufacturing process of the modern-day golf ball begins with a solid molded core that’s injected with hot plastic and cooled to form the exterior. The dimples which are a recognized feature of the golf ball are added later in the manufacturing process to lessen the impact of air on the ball during flight. The size and amount of dimples of a golf ball will determine how far or high it travels through the air.
The result is a two-piece golf ball which can be tweaked with additional layers of varying hardness. Golf ball engineers also tweak this design by creating three, four and five-piece golf balls that are used by every player from the beginner to the PGA Tour pros.
While the manufacturing process has changed considerably through the years, the core of the modern-day golf ball still resembles the elasticity of rubber bands. The layers that are added to the core are called mantles and vary from rubber or plastic depending on the manufacturer.
During the 1980s, the DuPont Company invented a golf ball that was made from a thermoplastic resin called “surlyn,” which was impervious to the cracks and nicks of a golf club. Many of the premium golf balls that are made today feature a similar material made from even softer urethane, which is more durable and results in more spin when hit with the golf club.
It’s hard to imagine the amount of planning and attention to detail that goes into making something so small. So, the next time you think you’ve lost your golf ball, look again.
A lot is changing in the golf world, new players are taking the spotlight, new tournaments are being played. Above all, defunct rules are being replaced by new and more flexible rules. If you have been away for too long, chances are you are unaware of the new USGA rules. The old and defunct rules have been revamped to cater to players' ease and comfort allowing much leniency in the sport.