In this article, we will be discussing the history of golf balls and how they are made. We shall be looking at the components of a golf ball, such as what it is made from and how it is formed.
We shall also be looking at the different types of golf balls, such as how they are used to play and their history.
Finally, we shall look at what steps you can take to ensure that you buy only quality products and understand the qualities of a good ball.
History of Golf Balls
The first golf ball was made in the 16th century and had no rules around it. As time went on, they started to get small rubber balls that were used in England during a time when the King banned his people from using anything other than wooden clubs.
Golf got popular again due to Queen Victoria who fell in love with the game so much that she set up 9 courses in around England. Eventually in the late 1800's a rubber ball was used which had to be hit with a wooden club.
The first famous brand of Golf Balls were made by Coburn Haskell in 1888, and he later partnered up with Spalding who are now one of the best brands of golf balls still today.
They had a patent on a process called the B.F.Goodrich Process, which was when they took rubber and heated it up in an airtight container to make it soft before striking it with a machine that would get pebbles into the ball to give it more surface friction. This produced what we now know as PGA and USGA approved balls.
In the 2018 season, Golf was played in 185 different countries with over 41 million people playing worldwide.
Materials of Golf Balls
The golf ball is made from several materials, including rubber, plastic and polymers.
Rubber is what is used in the core of the ball as it gives the roundness while also giving you more distance. Rubber from the sap of the 'Hevea brasiliensis' tree is used for this purpose as it has a higher elasticity than any other rubber available.
The golf ball itself is covered with a hard layer of plastic and polymers which help it last longer for the players.
Different balls are made from different materials, such as the ‘Eagle’ ball being made from two pieces of molded thermoplastic elastomer surrounded by a thin layer of Surlyn.
Other balls include those that are made from a resin coated urethane dimpled ball.
How Golf Balls are Made?
- A rod of rubber is heated up to make it soft and tacky, then cooled down before hitting with a machine that will get pebbles into the ball to give it more surface friction. This has led to new innovations in the golf ball industry, such as ‘distance’ balls and the likes.
- The rubber is then put into a mould with hard plastic that is heated up before being cooled down so it can be evenly spread out around the rubber centre of the ball. Then small balls are placed in it to help keep its shape before being hit with a metal rod to help spread the plastic evenly.
- After this, the ball is cleaned up and given a final polish before being sent off for Quality Control tests to make sure everything has been done correctly.
- Finally, the golf ball is boxed up ready to be sold in stores around your area so that you can go out and purchase one!
The main tests done on golf balls is what we call ‘compression and restitution’. This means that a machine is used which compresses the ball, it is then tested to see how much force was needed in order for the ball to compress and bounce back quickly.
This test determines if the ball would be ideal for further use, as if it bounces back too slowly or doesn't bounce at all then the ball will not be suitable for a game of golf.
The next test is done on a machine called an Indenter which measures the hardness of the outer plastic and inner rubber to determine how much force it would take to damage the ball. The harder your ball is then the less it will be damaged if it hits a rock or anything else on your golf course.
Other things that are tested for is the size of the ball, as you can't play with a golf ball that's too small or too big.
This also determines the quality of the surface finish to make sure there are no scratches or anything which could affect the way you play.
The last test is to check the colour of your golf ball to make sure it doesn't have any foreign materials in it that would affect how it plays.
Finally, you are given a Certificate of Quality which is a guarantee of the quality and standards that your golf ball meets.
Future of golf balls
Golf might be considered as a slow sport but that doesn't mean it can't improve on its technology.
A new concept has been developed from the traditional and ancient method of hand-stuffing golf balls, where it involves injecting molten resin into a mold.
Golf ball manufacturers have done this to make sure they could optimize their production rate and also to reduce cost as the equipment that would otherwise be needed for hand-stuffing is a lot more expensive.
The ball is cooled down by rapidly rotating it around in hot water after being injected with the molten material instead of using some mold that would need higher costs to maintain. Before, hand-stuffing was used to make a golf ball but it has now been changed to injection molding.
In the future, we will also see new materials being used for golf balls. The most popular one would be Graphite as it can allow a club head to pass through smoothly and with less friction. It would also make the ball go faster than before so that you could have a better chance of winning a game.
Another thing being researched is a golf ball with improved aerodynamics to allow it to fly farther and straighter by reducing drag that would be caused when the club head hits the ball at an angle as opposed to directly. This would enable less energy to be used so you can save your energy for another day on the golf course.
So that was the golf ball you're using now. If it had been manufactured according to an ancient method through hand-stuffing, it would have taken a lot longer for your golf ball to reach you and also be so much more expensive.
Hopefully in the future we will be able to see even better technology being used on our beloved sport of golf. Technology keeps improving and it's really interesting to see how far we can get with the materials used for this game of ours.
The improvement in technology also enables us to create more efficient equipment that you can use on the course, alongside all the other gadgets such as GPS watches and app-enabled rangefinders. Golf is a sport where you need the right equipment to give yourself a better chance of winning.
So that's all for today's article on how golf balls are made and also what will be used in the future, thank you so much for reading this article and please feel free to leave any comments or feedback below. I hope you'll be satisfied with whatever your needs