They say there is more than meets the eye.When it comes to golf balls, this idiom may be the perfect way to describe them.
Though they all look the same – dimpled and small – not all of these balls are the same, and it is not just about the color they come in. Far from being cute white balls, physics and chemistry are involved in their manufacture. The science of a golf ball is a legitimate field of study among sports technicians and other kinds of scientists, because the ball’s interior, as well as its exterior, can make or break a player’s shot. The reasons for this are explained below.
Getting to the core
Slicing several golf balls open to see their insides will not necessarily display the differences between them. At first glance, they all look the same – cores of varying colors depending on the brand. But the scientific secret lies in what the cores are actually made of and how many pieces it is composed of.
Plastic cores are often the composition of one-piece balls. These are not good for playing in tournaments and should only be used for practice. Driving ranges frequently use these types of balls as they are inexpensive, durable, and reusable.
On the other hand, two-piece balls are made out of two materials – a single solid core (rubber or hard plastic) and a cover. This is frequently used by ordinary golfers, as well as those with low and medium handicaps. It is perhaps the most popular kind of golf ball in the market. Some say it is a good choice for use because it is easy to compress.
Advanced golf players, however, prefer the use of three-piece balls. As the name suggests, these are composed of three parts, like the Earth’s crust –a gel-like core, elastic windings, and a cover. These are better balls than the previous two because they offer the player more control over the ball. It has a higher spin rate than the other balls, which provides players with a better feel for the ball.
There are also four-piece balls in existence. They are essentially improvements from the previous ball.
The core material is important because it affects the “responsiveness” of the ball in relation to the power of the player’s shot. It can help improve the speed of a shot, as well as produce more spin.
It is said that bigger cores are better, but there is a price to pay because the cover will have to be made thinner as well. This means that golf balls with bigger cores and thinner covers are not very durable and will wear out quicker.
The number of dimples on a golf ball’s surface actually serves a purpose. They affect the ball’s aerodynamics – controlling distance, speed, trajectory, and spin control. The general idea is that balls with more dimples equate to higher flights.
Companies manufacturing golf equipment pieces have tinkered with different shapes and sizes of dimples on golf balls. An average golf ball would have 300 dimples. The most number of dimples any given ball could have is 500. But more does not always equate to better.
A golf ball with more dimples will fly higher, but it will also cover less distance. Therefore, a balance between these two attributes must be reached to produce the best quality golf ball.
Clearly, there is more to golf balls than meets the eye. This is why professional golfers think twice – even several times – before choosing a ball to play with. They are not just small instruments to hit around. Rather, they can make or break a player’s performance.