Many people love golf. Some love to play golf while some love to watch. But one question that everyone asks is, what are golf balls made of and what’s inside a golf ball? The composition of golf balls has changed a lot throughout history.
You might think that a golf ball is just like any other ball; however, it has a specific composition that profoundly impacts the game, such as dimples help increase spin and wind resistance. The rubber cover adds control and increases the distance of the ball.
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History of Golf Balls:
The first golf ball ever was made in the 15th century. And guess what? It was made of wood. The beechwood was mainly used to design the wooden golf balls back then. After the wooden golf balls, the feather balls became operational.
The feather balls were designed in Scotland during the 17th century and had the main core of goose feather, which was wrapped through bull’s hide, and finally, it was painted with white color. Then in the 19th century, the gutta-percha balls replaced the feather ones. They used the gutta-percha gum, which was first boiled and then turned into a ball.
Then finally, in 1901, the first rubber ball was made in Great Britain. Since then, resin and rubber have been the main components of modern golf balls.
The first thing we need to discuss while talking about what golf balls are made of is their core. The core of the golf balls is often made up of rubber, but sometimes golf balls even have a liquid center. There are three compression numbers for a golf ball, i.e., 80, 90, and 100. 80 describes that the golf ball is mainly for women and juniors. The 90 compression rating is considered as the average and made for average golfers. In contrast, the 100 compression means that the golf ball has a tight and firm core made for advanced golfers.
Golf Ball covers:
1. Urethane cover:
Urethane is basically a polymer that makes a really soft golf cover. This provides the golfer with great control and an incredibly soft feel when chipping and putting the golf ball. The golf balls which have urethane cover are a bit pricey, but they are totally worth the price.
2. IONOMER cover:
The IONOMER cover features a hard surface and is extremely durable. These covers are not as soft as the urethane covers, but they provide pretty good control, which is suitable for amateur and new golf players. These covers also provide less spin. Due to this, the ionomer-cover golf balls are preferred by those who face a hard time keeping the ball straight off the tee. These balls are generally less expensive and extremely good for long-distance play. The most famous IONOMER material is Surlyn, a type of plastic ionomer with outstanding durability, providing more distance.
How is a Golf Ball made?
The process of manufacturing a golf ball starts by shaping a solid piece of rubber and then inserting it into a dimpled plastic ball. The complete method of manufacturing golf balls consists of the following steps:
1. Forming the core:
A solid piece of rubber is first shaped into a circular form and used as the golf ball’s core. The process also involves a lot of chemistry as the rubber is modified from its original state.
2. Compression Molding:
The next step is compression molding. It consists of the creation of the covers and the dimples of the ball. This process involves a combination of pressure and heat. The pressure can sometimes be up to 1 ton, while the heat may be up to 300°F (149°C).
Something worth noticing is that the number of layers determines how long will a golf ball take to be completed. For example, two-piece golf balls can be manufactured easily and finished within a day, but a 3-piece golf ball might sometimes take as long as a month to complete.
Any left-over rough spots are smoothed out, and the color is applied to each ball.
4. Pad Printing:
Most golf balls have some design or logo printed on them, such as the brand name, etc. The logo or any other design is applied through a method called pad printing, which involves an inked stamp being applied on the surface. After this, the ball will be covered with polyurethane to seal the design to prevent it from damage in the future.
Yes, the manufacturing process is almost complete, and now the balls are ready to be put in packages and shipped to the retailer or any eCommerce company.
In short, manufacturing golf balls isn’t an easy task as it requires a lot of hard work and care. And they do deserve all this work as they might end up being a part of PGA tours. The manufactures definitely deserve a big clap for their backbreaking work.
Why are dimples important in Golf Balls?
We all know that dimples make our smiles cuter, but they serve even a more practical purpose when talking about golf balls. The dimples reduce the air drag, ultimately helping the ball travel faster in the air and increasing its distance.
But how do these indents reduce air drag? Well, do you remember the lift and drag we learned in physics during our high school? If you don’t, let us remind you that these are the aerodynamic forces that help an object stay in motion during flight. The air basically enters the dimples and then exits, which results in reduced drag. And as a result, the distance is increased, and it can travel higher as compared to a ball without any dimples.
Do Golf Balls break over time?
Most of the golf balls are highly durable, especially the ones from reputable companies. They don’t break down, unlike the baseballs, which lose their air and break down eventually. However, the golf balls do lose their novelty over time.
The basic cause of replacing golf balls is that they can get lost easily. According to studies, more than 300 million golf balls are lost each year. It’s recommended that you should buy them in bulk and avoid keeping them in rough conditions and temperatures.
Why design is important for Golf Balls?
Each golfer has their own skills on the golf course, and golf balls are designed in such a way to help golfer maximize their performance and take their game to the next level.
The reason why there is so much variation in golf balls is to help golfers find the perfect match according to their abilities. Some balls work best with a fast swing, while some perform better with a slower one.
So, in the end, everything depends on the golfer and the golf ball too. That is why it is advised that you always choose a golf ball according to your skills so that it will work out for you and maximize your performance.