The Origins of Golf Balls
Golf used to be played using primitive equipment in an unorganized and casual manner. These were times dated around the 1500’s wherein the clubs and the balls that were made explicitly for golf were just made from wood.
The development of golf balls started out during the 1600’s. In 1618 they released a golf ball made out of feathers called the “Featherie.” It was simply handcrafted and made from goose feathers that were tightly squeezed into a cow or horse hide sphere. While it is wet the ball is formed then as it dries up the hide tightens up meanwhile the feathers would start to expand resulting in a hardened ball. Since this is a handcrafted ball, the consistencies of the balls were unstable. Most of these balls quality was based on the skills of the maker. Also, the prices were sky high because of their production manner. They can even be priced higher than golf clubs during these times.
The 1800’s dated the expansion of golf due to railways that were spreading across different territories. The GuttaPercha ball was then introduced to the market and this marked the slow inevitable disappearance of the handcrafted Featherie balls. Unlike the Featherie balls, these are made of a rubber like substance that is found in a Gutta tree. The ball was formed by heating up the rubber and forming the small sphere that was eventually called a golf ball. Since rubber can be reshaped by heating, repairing the balls when damaged was something very attractive to the masses. The only downside to using the Guttie, as they call it, is the distance it traveled which was short in comparison to the Featherie and this is contributed by the smooth surface it had.
In order to advance the distance characteristics of the Guttie, patterns on the golf balls surface were incorporated into the ball design. The interest of investors grew during the 1890’s largely due to industrialization. This allowed the Guttie to be produced using a mould, which would increase production and ensure a level of both quality and consistency. The pattern developed during that time was called a ‘Bramble’—these were raised bumps surrounding the ball that increased its distance to the same length as a Featherie ball. This is also the last time we’ll hear of the Featherie as the handcrafted balls were killed during this decade of mass production.
In 1898, a ball made from a one-piece rubber core was widely accepted due to its capability of adding an extra 20 yards to a golfers hit. Though they looked just like the Guttie, this addition has made them popular during the British and US Opens. The guttapercha was now just a casing in order to hold a solid rubber core that was threaded together using a rubber thread as well. These were called the Haskell balls and since the development of a thread winding machine these balls were mass produced resulting in even cheaper prices than their current market.
The following years were a period of carrying out different tests in terms of the patterns on the golf balls
These tests gave birth to the dimple pattern that people know today. This pattern was placed in the Haskell ball in 1905. It was a pattern that maximized the balls lift while minimizing the drag of the ball. This was widely accepted and loved that it slowly became a standard to the sport. And for more details visit rockbottomgolf.com.
The standardization of the golf ball came in 1921. Specific weights and sizes were implemented thus focusing the experiments done to create better versions of a golf ball. Today, golf balls have different uses that are based on the golfer. Golf balls are now produced in order for practice only, distance, or control. These are the balls we know and love in today’s sport.