History of the Golf Ball | (2023)

Golf balls have evolved throughout the history of the game. Wooden balls were used until the early 17th century when shuttlecocks were invented. Due to its superior flight characteristics, the feather remained the standard ball for two and a half centuries.



1. And there was Feathery

A feather is a hand-sewn ball of leather filled with boiled and pressed goose feathers and covered in dye.

The feather balls were a great improvement over the wooden ball, but they were very expensive and not perfectly spherical, often giving them erratic and unpredictable trajectories. An additional disadvantage was that the ball's spikes rotted when the ball got wet, and the ball also burst open after hitting a hard surface.

(Video) Evolution of the golf ball

2. A gutta-percha ball

For these reasons, the quill pen was replaced by the gutta-percha ball in 1848. Golf balls and golf ball covers were manufactured until the early 20th century. The juice had a rubbery feel and could be rounded by heating and shaping while hot.

The gutta percha balls were first painted white to hide the dark colored gutta percha sap.

The new ball flew farther than the pen and cost much less, making the game accessible to the underprivileged. It also made standardization easier and brought the game to a higher level of precision.

With industrialization, the production of gutties became mechanized. They were made in molds and could be made with textured surfaces that further enhanced their aerodynamic properties, accessibility, and consistency. Players noticed that the gut's smooth, perfectly spherical surface didn't fly as far as the marked feather. So manufacturers began to intentionally create defects in the surface for a more consistent ball flight. Hand-hammered gutta-percha golf balls could be purchased by at least the 1860s, and the most notable pattern of the period, the "Bramble" with round, raised bumps instead of dents, was in fashion from the late 1900s to 1908.

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The "gutty" tended to break mid-air, forcing a rule adjustment and allowing the player to play a new ball from where the largest fragment had come to rest. This would be the last time the rules of golf would have to be changed to reflect the characteristics of the golf ball and not the other way around.

3. The rubber core ball and the rolled ball

In 1898, a wealthy American amateur golfer named Coburn Haskell, along with Bertram Work, an engineer for the Goodrich Rubber company, introduced the rubber-centered rolled ball. The 'Haskell', as it came to be known, was widely adopted in 1901 after having proved its worth at the British Open and the US Open. These balls were similar to gutties but consisted of strings of rubber wrapped around a solid rubber core and covered with gutta purcha.

Alternatively, balata was sometimes used as a cover material for golf balls. Balata is a hard and resilient substance extracted from the gum of the matón or balata tree (Manilkara bidentata). Balata covers can still be found on the most expensive golf balls today.

With the creation of an automatic winding machine and the use of a hawthorn cover that allowed for better control, the average golfer gained an additional 20 yards off the tee with these next-generation golf balls. The manufacturers have optimized the length, spin and "feel" properties of the balls. Rolled balls were particularly valued for their soft feel.

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Research examined the role played by covers, and for the first two decades of the 20th century players could choose from at least 200 differently named balls. In 1908, the Englishman William Taylor received a patent for a golf ball with studs that flew better and more accurately than golf balls with spikes. AG Spalding & Bros. acquired the US patent rights and introduced TAYLOR's GLORY studded ball. Up until the 1970's, the GLORY ball and most other pocket golf balls had 336 equally sized holes with the same pattern, the ATTI pattern. The ATTI pattern was an octahedral pattern divided into eight concentric straight lines and was named after the leading manufacturer of golf ball molds.

Other inventions included coatings of varying thicknesses and multiform markings, from brambles (made of raised spherical knobs, as mentioned above) to recessed crescents and triangles, each claiming to surpass the others. and squares (“mesh”). The only real innovation in the faceplate of a golf ball during those 60 years came from Albert Penfold, who invented a mesh golf ball for Dunlop. This pattern was invented in 1912 and was accepted into the 1930s.

Today, the patterns have been replaced with waves that emphasize buoyancy effects and minimize ball drag. Its exact form and general distribution is the subject of ongoing studies by manufacturers.
verGolf Ball Facts>>

From the 1930s through the 1960s, the major innovations in golf balls related to the development of the core. The first rolled bullets consisted of a solid or liquid-filled core with a layer of rubber thread and a thin outer covering. In the 1960s, development of ionomer materials began, primarily under the SURLYN® brand. by Du Pont, became the biggest golf ball innovation of the 1980's. The 1970's also saw dimple pattern innovations from major golf ball manufacturers. In 1973, Titleist introduced an icosahedron pattern, dividing the golf ball into twenty triangular areas. In the late 1980's and into the 1990's solid three piece golf balls began to appear as opposed to the three piece golf balls from the major golf ball manufacturers. These solid, three-piece golf balls encapsulate two layers of thermoplastic that cover a core.

4. Layered balls

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Multi-layer balloons were developed in the second half of the 20th century. They typically consist of a three- or four-ply design (referred to as a three- or four-piece ball) made from various synthetic materials such as surlyn or urethane blends. They come in a variety of game features to meet the needs of players of different skill levels.

Several patents for four-piece golf balls have been filed, but not all have been commercialized. An example is Sun, USA Pat. inside 5,273,286 for a multi-concentric section golf ball filed in 1992.

Some Japanese manufacturers have also filed patents for innovative four-piece balls. One shows a golf ball with a liquid-filled core, a layer wrapped around the core, and inner and outer skin layers composed of an ionomer material. Maruko's main goal is to provide a golf ball with good distance, well-defined spin and greater durability. Another describes a golf ball with a solid rubber core containing an oily substance, an oil resistant cover layer, a rolled layer and an ionomer cover layer.

The Titleist Pro V1 Solid Core golf ball was the first non-coil golf ball to gain widespread acceptance among professional golfers. Wounded balls have all but disappeared from golf.

Many manufacturers produced balls to new standards, but most were rejected for tournament use. A few years ago, the USGA banned the Polara ball because it undermined the integrity of the game. The ball's inventors engaged the USGA in costly lawsuits, but the ban was upheld.

(Video) The History of the Golf Ball

Many attempts have been made to develop a golf ball that can do everything for every golfer, a golf ball that has great distance, exceptional touch, and exceptional durability. However, today's golf balls have failed to deliver everything.

See also:
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