Golf ball
Overview
 
A golf ball is a ball
Ball
A ball is a round, usually spherical but sometimes ovoid, object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch, marbles and juggling...

 designed to be used in the game of golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

.

Under the Rules of Golf
Rules of golf
The rules of golf are a standard set of regulations and procedures by which the sport of golf should be played. They are jointly written and administered by the R&A the governing body of golf worldwide except in the United States and Mexico, which are the responsibility of the United States Golf...

, a golf ball weighs no more than 1.620 oz (45.93 grams), has a diameter not less than 1.680 in (42.67 mm), and performs within specified velocity, distance, and symmetry limits. Like golf clubs
Golf club (equipment)
A golf club is used to hit a golf ball in a game of golf. Each club is composed of a shaft with a grip and a clubhead. Woods are mainly used for long-distance fairway or tee shots; irons, the most versatile class, are used for a variety of shots; Hybrids that combine design elements of woods and...

, golf balls are subject to testing and approval by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association
United States Golf Association
The United States Golf Association is the United States' national association of golf courses, clubs and facilities and the governing body of golf for the U.S. and Mexico. Together with The R&A, the USGA produces and interprets the Rules of Golf. The USGA also provides a national handicap system...

, and those that do not conform with regulations may not be used in competitions (Rule 5-1).
Wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

en balls were the first used golf balls until the early 17th century, when the featherie ball added a new and exciting feature to the game of golf.
Encyclopedia
A golf ball is a ball
Ball
A ball is a round, usually spherical but sometimes ovoid, object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch, marbles and juggling...

 designed to be used in the game of golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

.

Under the Rules of Golf
Rules of golf
The rules of golf are a standard set of regulations and procedures by which the sport of golf should be played. They are jointly written and administered by the R&A the governing body of golf worldwide except in the United States and Mexico, which are the responsibility of the United States Golf...

, a golf ball weighs no more than 1.620 oz (45.93 grams), has a diameter not less than 1.680 in (42.67 mm), and performs within specified velocity, distance, and symmetry limits. Like golf clubs
Golf club (equipment)
A golf club is used to hit a golf ball in a game of golf. Each club is composed of a shaft with a grip and a clubhead. Woods are mainly used for long-distance fairway or tee shots; irons, the most versatile class, are used for a variety of shots; Hybrids that combine design elements of woods and...

, golf balls are subject to testing and approval by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association
United States Golf Association
The United States Golf Association is the United States' national association of golf courses, clubs and facilities and the governing body of golf for the U.S. and Mexico. Together with The R&A, the USGA produces and interprets the Rules of Golf. The USGA also provides a national handicap system...

, and those that do not conform with regulations may not be used in competitions (Rule 5-1).

History

Wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

en balls were the first used golf balls until the early 17th century, when the featherie ball added a new and exciting feature to the game of golf. A featherie is a hand sewn leather pouch stuffed with chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

 or goose
Goose
The word goose is the English name for a group of waterfowl, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller....

 feather
Feather
Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

s and coated with paint. Enough feathers to fill a top hat were boiled and placed in the pouch. As the ball cooled, the feathers would expand and the hide would shrink, making a compact ball. If there were openings in the cowhide, stitching were used to close them up. The stitches mimicked the effects of dimples, therefore, the need for a layer of turbulence around the ball was not discovered until much later.

Due to its superior flight characteristics, the featherie remained the standard ball for more than two centuries. Despite this, there were drawbacks. An experienced ball maker could only make a few balls in one day, so they were expensive. A single ball would cost between 2 shillings
Shilling (United Kingdom)
The British shilling is an historic British coin from the eras of the Kingdom of Great Britain and the later United Kingdom; also adopted as a Scot denomination upon the 1707 Treaty of Union....

 and sixpence and 5 shillings, which is the equivalent of 10 to 20 US dollars today. Also, it was hard to make a perfectly spherical ball, and because of this, the ball often flew irregularly. When playing in wet weather, the stitches in the ball would rot, and the ball could split open after hitting a hard surface.

In 1848, the Rev. Dr Robert Adams Paterson (sometimes spelt Patterson) invented the gutta-percha
Gutta-percha
Gutta-percha is a genus of tropical trees native to Southeast Asia and northern Australasia, from Taiwan south to the Malay Peninsula and east to the Solomon Islands. The same term is used to refer to an inelastic natural latex produced from the sap of these trees, particularly from the species...

 ball (or guttie). The gutta was created from dried sap of a Malaysian Sapodilla Tree. The sap had a rubber-like feel and could be made round by heating and shaping it while hot. However, since the ball was round, it fought the air, creating little lift and going only short distances. Accidentally, it was discovered that defects in the sphere from knicks and scrapes of normal use, could provide a ball with a truer flight than a pure sphere. Thus, makers started creating intentional defects in the surface by hammering the ball to give it an evenly dimpled shape which would cause the ball to have a more consistent ball flight. Because gutties were cheaper to produce and could be manufactured with textured surfaces to improve their aerodynamic qualities, they replaced feather balls completely within a few years.

In the 20th century, multi-layer balls were developed, first as wound balls consisting of a solid or liquid-filled core wound with a layer of rubber thread and a thin outer shell. This idea was first discovered by Coburn Haskell of Cleveland, Ohio in 1898. Haskell had driven to nearby Akron to keep a golf date with Bertram Work, then superintendent of B.F. Goodrich. While he waited for Work at the plant, Haskell idly wound a long rubber thread into a ball. When he bounced the ball, it flew almost to the ceiling. Work suggested Haskell put a cover on the creation, and that was the birth of the 20th century golf ball. The design allowed manufacturers to fine-tune the length, spin and "feel" characteristics of balls. Wound balls were especially valued for their soft feel, and continued to be popular until the early years of the 21st century.

Modern balls usually consist of several layers of various synthetic materials like surlyn or urethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

 blends. They are usually classified as two-piece, three-piece, or four-piece ball according to the number of layers. They come in a great variety of playing characteristics to suit the needs of golfers of different abilities.

Regulations

The current regulations mandated by the R&A and the USGA state that diameter of the golf ball cannot be any smaller than 1.680 inches. The maximum velocity of the ball may not exceed 250 feet per second (76.2 m/s) under test conditions and the weight of the ball may not exceed 1.620 ounces.

Until 1990, it was permissible to use balls of LESS than 1.62 inches in diameter in tournaments under the jurisdiction of the R&A. This ball was commonly called a "British" ball while the golf ball approved by the USGA was simply the "American ball". In those earlier times, when rules were stretched to accommodate some fun in a friendly round players would slip a small ball (British) into play for into the wind shots.

Aerodynamics

When a golf ball is hit, the impact, which lasts less than a millisecond
1 E-3 s
A millisecond is a thousandth of a second.10 milliseconds are called a centisecond....

, determines the ball’s velocity
Velocity
In physics, velocity is speed in a given direction. Speed describes only how fast an object is moving, whereas velocity gives both the speed and direction of the object's motion. To have a constant velocity, an object must have a constant speed and motion in a constant direction. Constant ...

, launch angle
Angle
In geometry, an angle is the figure formed by two rays sharing a common endpoint, called the vertex of the angle.Angles are usually presumed to be in a Euclidean plane with the circle taken for standard with regard to direction. In fact, an angle is frequently viewed as a measure of an circular arc...

 and spin
Rotation
A rotation is a circular movement of an object around a center of rotation. A three-dimensional object rotates always around an imaginary line called a rotation axis. If the axis is within the body, and passes through its center of mass the body is said to rotate upon itself, or spin. A rotation...

 rate, all of which influence its trajectory
Trajectory
A trajectory is the path that a moving object follows through space as a function of time. The object might be a projectile or a satellite, for example. It thus includes the meaning of orbit—the path of a planet, an asteroid or a comet as it travels around a central mass...

 (and its behavior when it hits the ground).

A ball moving through air experiences two major aerodynamic forces, lift
Lift (force)
A fluid flowing past the surface of a body exerts a surface force on it. Lift is the component of this force that is perpendicular to the oncoming flow direction. It contrasts with the drag force, which is the component of the surface force parallel to the flow direction...

 and drag
Drag (physics)
In fluid dynamics, drag refers to forces which act on a solid object in the direction of the relative fluid flow velocity...

. Dimpled balls fly farther than non-dimpled balls due to the combination of two effects:

First, the dimples on the surface of a golf ball cause the boundary layer on the upstream side of the ball to transition from laminar to turbulent. The turbulent boundary layer is able to remain attached to the surface of the ball much longer than a laminar boundary and so creates a narrower, low pressure, wake and hence less pressure drag. The reduction in pressure drag causes the ball to travel farther.

Second, backspin
Backspin
In racquet sports, backspin , is a shot such that the ball rotates backwards after it is hit. The trajectory of the shot involves an upward force that lifts the ball...

 generates lift by deforming the airflow around the ball, in a similar manner to an airplane wing
Wing
A wing is an appendage with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid...

. This is called the Magnus effect
Magnus effect
The Magnus effect is the phenomenon whereby a spinning object flying in a fluid creates a whirlpool of fluid around itself, and experiences a force perpendicular to the line of motion...

. Backspin is imparted in almost every shot due to the golf club's loft (i.e., angle between the clubface and a vertical plane). A backspinning ball experiences an upward lift force which makes it fly higher and longer than a ball without spin. (see Baez) Sidespin occurs when the clubface is not aligned perpendicularly to the direction of swing, leading to a lift force that makes the ball curve to one side or the other. Unfortunately the dimples magnify this effect as well as the more desirable upward lift derived from pure backspin. (Some dimple designs are claimed to reduce sidespin effects.)

To keep the aerodynamics optimal, the golf ball needs to be clean, in order to avoid any impediments to the aerodynamic effect of the ball. Thus, it is advisable that golfers frequently wash balls. Golfers can wash balls manually, but mechanical ball washer
Ball washer
A ball washer or ball shagger is a piece of equipment for cleaning dirty golf balls. Because golf balls have a dimpled surface to improve their aerodynamic properties, increasing both distance and control, and are used primarily on grassy surfaces, they tend to collect dirt and grass easily, which...

s are also available.

Design

Dimples first became a feature of golf balls when English engineer and manufacturer William Taylor registered a patent for a dimple design in 1905. Other types of patterned covers were in use at about the same time, including one called a "mesh" and another named the "bramble", but the dimple became the dominant design due to "the superiority of the dimpled cover in flight".

Most golf balls on sale today have about 250 – 450 dimples, though there have been balls with more than 500 dimples. The record holder was a ball with 1,070 dimples — 414 larger ones (in four different sizes) and 656 pinhead-sized ones. One odd-numbered ball on the market is a ball with 333 dimples, called the Srixon
Srixon
Srixon is a brand owned by SRI Sports Limited, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., specializing in golf and tennis. Srixon is most well known globally for its golf balls, holding the largest number of golf ball patents worldwide, and having previously supplied other leading...

 AD333.

Officially sanctioned balls are designed to be as symmetrical
Symmetry
Symmetry generally conveys two primary meanings. The first is an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance; such that it reflects beauty or perfection...

 as possible. This symmetry is the result of a dispute that stemmed from the Polara, a ball sold in the late 1970s that had six rows of normal dimples on its equator but very shallow dimples elsewhere. This asymmetrical design helped the ball self-adjust its spin
Spin (physics)
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is a fundamental characteristic property of elementary particles, composite particles , and atomic nuclei.It is worth noting that the intrinsic property of subatomic particles called spin and discussed in this article, is related in some small ways,...

-axis during the flight. The USGA refused to sanction it for tournament play and, in 1981, changed the rules to ban aerodynamic asymmetrical balls. Polara's producer sued the USGA and the association paid US$1.375 million in a 1985 out-of-court settlement. Polara Golf
Polara Golf
Polara Golf is brand for a line of golf balls that correct hooks and slices, based on the physics of their design. Aero-X Golf, Inc is the manufacturer that created the Polara Ultimate Straight and Polara Ultimate Straight XS golf balls featuring “Self-Correcting Technology” that reduces hooks and...

 now manufactures balls with “Self-Correcting Technology” for non-tournament play.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office
United States Patent and Trademark Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that issues patents to inventors and businesses for their inventions, and trademark registration for product and intellectual property identification.The USPTO is based in Alexandria, Virginia,...

's patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 database
Database
A database is an organized collection of data for one or more purposes, usually in digital form. The data are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality , in a way that supports processes requiring this information...

 is a good source of past dimple designs. Most designs are based on Platonic solid
Platonic solid
In geometry, a Platonic solid is a convex polyhedron that is regular, in the sense of a regular polygon. Specifically, the faces of a Platonic solid are congruent regular polygons, with the same number of faces meeting at each vertex; thus, all its edges are congruent, as are its vertices and...

s such as icosahedron
Icosahedron
In geometry, an icosahedron is a regular polyhedron with 20 identical equilateral triangular faces, 30 edges and 12 vertices. It is one of the five Platonic solids....

.

Golf balls are usually white, but are available in other high visibility colors, which helps with finding the ball when lost or when playing in low-light or frosty conditions.

As well as bearing the maker's name or logo, balls are usually printed with numbers or other symbols to help players identify their ball.

Selection

There are many types of golf balls on the market, and customers often face a difficult decision. Golf balls are divided into two categories: recreational and advanced balls. Recreational balls are oriented toward the ordinary golfer, who generally have low swing speeds (80 miles per hour or lower) and lose golf balls on the course easily. These balls are made of two layers, with the cover firmer than the core. Their low compression and side spin reduction characteristics suit the lower swing speeds of average golfers quite well. Furthermore, they generally have lower prices than the advanced balls.

Advanced balls are made of multiple layers (three or more), with a soft cover and firm core. They induce a greater amount of spin from lofted shots (wedges especially), as well as a sensation of softness in the hands in short-range shots. However, these balls require a much greater swing speed that only the physically strong players could carry out to compress at impact. If the compression of a golf ball does not match a golfer's swing speed, either the lack of compression or over-compression will occur, resulting in loss of distance. There are also many brands and colors to choose from, with colored balls and better brands generally being more expensive, making an individual's choice more difficult.

Marking and personalisation

Golfers need to distinguish their ball from other players to ensure that they do not play the wrong ball. This is often done by making a mark on the ball using a marker pen
Marker pen
thumb|MarkerA marker pen, marking pen, felt-tip pen, flow or marker, is a pen which has its own ink-source, and usually a tip made of a porous, pressed fibres; such as felt or nylon.-Permanent marker:...

. Special tools for marking balls with the players names or initials are also available. Alternatively, balls can be printed with lettering, a pattern or a picture. Companies and event organisers commonly have balls printed with their logo as a promotional tool.

Non-standard and novelty balls

A number of designs of novelty ball have been introduced over the years, mainly as practical jokes for the amusement of fellow golfers, but also as "cheater" balls that do not conform to the Rules of Golf
Rules of golf
The rules of golf are a standard set of regulations and procedures by which the sport of golf should be played. They are jointly written and administered by the R&A the governing body of golf worldwide except in the United States and Mexico, which are the responsibility of the United States Golf...

. All of these are banned in sanctioned games, but can be amusing in informal play:
  • Breakaway balls are brittle and hollow, and shatter into many small pieces when hit.
  • Exploding balls are similar, but employ a small explosive device that disintegrates the ball when hit. Many courses have banned these as the charge can damage the turf, the player's club or even cause injury, leading manufacturers to develop the breakaway.
  • Stallers are far softer than a normal golf ball, allowing them to be compressed far more easily and are given greater backspin when hit. Both of these give the ball a huge amount of lift, producing shots that climb very high into the air with very little distance traveled over the ground. In the right conditions, such a ball may travel backwards along its flight path or even perform a loop-de-loop.
  • Sponge balls are softer still; they are generally used as indoor or backyard practice balls, but some are deceptively similar in appearance to a normal ball. Such a ball will travel less than a quarter of the distance of a normal golf ball.
  • Wobblers have a center of mass that is not in the exact center of the ball or is loose within the ball. When putted, the ball will move unpredictably off the intended line.
  • Floaters are less dense than a regulation golf ball so when hit into a water hazard, they bob on the surface when a normal ball would sink.
  • Super-distance balls have deeper dimples and are heavier than allowed by regulation, which allows them first to maintain momentum and second to maintain a thicker "envelope" of still air around them which reduces turbulence and wind resistance. Marketers of these balls generally advertise a 12-yard gain on most distance shots.
  • Night golf balls Glow in the dark golf balls either luminous balls or inserted glow sticks.
  • Streamers unravel into ribbon of up to 12 feet or more after being struck.
  • Water-filled novelty balls are packed with water and create the illusion of evaporating when struck
  • Laughers are golf balls that laugh and giggle while in motion

Radio location

Golf balls with embedded radio transmitters to allow lost balls to be located were first introduced in 1973, only to be rapidly banned for use in competition. More recently RFID transponder
Transponder
In telecommunication, the term transponder has the following meanings:...

s have been used for this purpose. This technology can be found in some computerized driving range
Driving range
A driving range is an area where golfers can practice their swing. It can also be a recreational activity itself for amateur golfers or when enough time for a full game is not available. Many golf courses have a driving range attached and they are also found as stand-alone facilities, especially...

s. In this format, each ball used at the range has its own unique transponder code. When dispensed, the range registers each dispensed ball to the player, who then hits them towards targets in the range. When the player hits a ball into a target, they receive distance and accuracy information calculated by the computer.

World records

Canadian long drive champion Jason Zuback broke the world ball speed record on an episode of Sport Science with a golf ball speed of 328 km/h (203.8 mph). The previous record of 302 km/h (187.7 mph) was held by José Ramón Areitio, a Jai Alai
Jai alai
Jai alai is a sport involving a ball bounced off a walled space. It is a variety of Basque Pelota. The term, coined by Serafin Baroja in 1875, is also often loosely applied to the fronton where the sport is played...

player.

External links


History

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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