“You’d think a guy who has broken 35 bones in his body would have a high pain threshold, but mine is pretty low. I got hit in the shin with a golf ball once and it almost brought tears to my eyes. I’ve had broken bones that didn’t hurt as bad.” – Evel Knievel
By Ian Hardie
I was talking to a golfer the other day who had recently been reading the series of posts How have golf balls changed? and wanted to know a little bit more about the golf ball
“How are golf balls made?” was the question they actually asked me
I considered going into great detail about the process but instead I figured I would be better to find some sort of video that showed the making of a modern golf ball instead, which after a bit of digging
I have managed to find a really good video that shows how most golf balls are made
Before I get to that though, let’s have a quick review of how golf balls got to the point they are at these days
The very first ones that were used to play the game of golf back in the early 1400’s were made of solid wood – which can’t have given very many consistent shots!
Meaning that before long another type of golf ball – the much more user friendly ‘Feathery’ ball – was developed and used for play
Made of wet feathers that were forcefully stuffed into a leather pouch and then sewn together
I’m not sure if that would have been much of an improvement over the wooden ones either but it must have been as the ‘Feathery’ was used for well over 300 years until the first big leap in golf ball technology came along courtesy of the ‘Gutta Percha’ ball in 1848
An extremely revolutionary ball that only survived in the market for around 50 years before it was superseded in 1898 by the first version of the golf balls we use today
The Rubber Core Golf Ball that was developed by Coburn Haskell of Cleveland, Ohio
A golf ball that went a long way further than the ‘Gutta Percha’ did as well as being considerably more durable and a lot cheaper to produce – and therefore to buy!
Something that the newly emerging market of golfers around the world found appealing
It’s three-piece construction method of tightly winding thin strips of rubber around
A small rubber core and then being finished with a thin cover became the standard in golf ball construction until the introduction of the Spalding Executive ball in 1972
It’s new two-piece construction method – which in simple terms meant that it was made by covering an inner ball with an outer cover – became the industry standard and was the forerunner of the balls that a lot of golfers will be playing with right now
Although not all golfers these days will be using a two piece golf ball
As construction of them is now an extremely scientific and technical matter as you can see from the following descriptions of three fairly common golf balls – that I found on their respective websites;
“……………….golf ball’s revolutionary 5-Layer Construction, Progressive Velocity Technology and Seamless LDP 322 dimple pattern work in conjunction to promote game-changing performance.”
“The multi-component construction of the …………………..golf ball utilizes a softer compression ………………process core technology, features a responsive ionomeric casing layer and an improved high-performance………………………..cover system with a 352 tetrahedral dimple design.”
“The ……………………….344 Speed Dimple Technology, combined with the large energetic gradient growth core, allows it to produce a consistent ball flight that is virtually unyielding to the wind. The addition of …………………………a newly developed……………coating, increases friction between the club and ball by 20%, resulting in added greenside spin and control without sacrificing distance.”
After reading those descriptions you could be forgiven for thinking that the golf balls that you use are engineered by NASA or at the very least by a retired rocket scientist or two!
It’s what the golf ball companies of the world would like you to believe
So that you will keep paying the prices they ask for the golf balls that they make!
In reality though the bulk of the golf balls that you will buy and use are made by the extremely simple process that you will see on the video
There may be the odd variation to the process depending on the golf ball being made but like a lot of things in life
What really goes on behind all the marketing propaganda will surprise you!