The best part of history is that it stores the facts and figures of the past for the next generation. Nevertheless, it is an uncomfortable subject matter for many people since it may compel to remember dates. But if you are a golf enthusiast, we believe you would love to know the history of golf balls!!
History of the golf ball is ignited particularly for its connection with the great Roman Empires. After the essence, the ball has gone through a wide array of modification, enhancement, upgrades, and development. In this article, we shall focus on the journey of that sparkling development history. Are you ready? Let’s start!!
Ancient and the medieval age of Golf Ball
According to a popular story, once a bored shepherd hit a simple round shaped stone with his crook. By no other than luck, the stone rolled into a hole of the ground that made him delighted. The matter encouraged him to repeat his newly invented game. After that he invited his friends to join the game for more fun. But we are unfortunate enough not to know any historical evidence in support of this story. Likewise, it is still unknown regarding who invented golf as a game first!!
Originated by the Romans?
Some historians claim that the Emperors of Rome used to play a game named ‘Paganica’ in around 80 B.C. In the game, they drove a feathery ball with a bent stick. The ball with a diameter of 17.5 cm was much bigger than the modern day golf ball.
They (historians) further state that the Romans spread the game in Northern Europe including Britain. However, there is no historical evidence of this story also and no pictorial or written evidence of ‘Paganica’ does exist. Therefore, it is really difficult to say if the Romans were the forerunner of the modern golf game.
Is it the medieval age when golf started rolling?
There is a common belief and agreement among many historians that golf as a game got momentum from Scotland during the Middle Ages. At this time, use of stick and ball in the game was prevalent for centuries.
During this time, golf ball stared to squeeze to 10 cm though the club didn’t change. The most interesting part is that golf started to come out from the confinement as the Emperors’ game.
The Aftermath: Development by the Scottish
The modern day development in the golf ball and overall game started in Scotland in the early 18th century. The island nation is best known for whiskey, butter, and notable novelist Robert Louis Stevenson among other things and personalities. But you can add your list of best golf ball from Scotland.
Scotland invented a feathery golf ball comprising boiled goose feather wrapped with leather sack. They named the game as Golfie. Expert stitching to join the sack and smooth painting on it gave the ball a spectacular look. Only very few privileged persons could play with this soft and expensive ball.
The golf enthusiasts in Scotland gradually developed new golf balls with better durability. They began to use dried goose feather instead of boiled one and got those wrapped with seasoned hide of cow. The new balls could cover more distance. But the continuous hunger of the players to send the ball far more distance fuelled the inventions of newer golf balls.
Invention of Gutty Ball
With the invention ‘Gutty’ ball, the players got inspired to make great and bigger shots. The ball was made of Gutta Percha which is a tough plastic substance from the latex of several trees resembling rubber while containing more resin. Gutty ball was harder and more durable.
Smooth and plain surface of the ball didn’t allow it to travel longer paths. Therefore, the golfers came up with an innovation to create an irregular surface of the new gutty ball by hammering on it. This move helped the players to cover surprisingly extensive distances. This hammered version was basically the predecessor of golf ball dimples.
Later on the golf ball manufacturers started making balls with consistent dents and irregular & less paint on the surface. The process of making dimples on the golf balls became easier for the metal press techniques. For this reason, golf ball gradually became affordable.
Rubber Core Modern Golf Ball
Coburn Haskell started the trend of making golf ball by rubber core and plastic through BF Goodrich Company since 1898. Basic technique of making the ball was to wrap the Gutta Percha covered rubber core with a high-tension rubber thread.
In today’s golf world, you will find both the two-piece and three-piece golf balls. Where two-piece balls have rubber core and durable thermoplastic resin coating, three-piece balls have core, plastic coating, and thread.
Dimple: The New Era of Development in Golf Ball
In 1908, dimpled or dented golf ball entered into the market on the back of improvising the nicked Gutty Ball. Invention of dimple paved the way to precise control on the ball with lower spinning and covering higher distance. Soon after its introduction, this new ball created a huge buzz in the market.
In 1970, the whole golf world experienced a new dimension in the development of ball. Feeling the requirement and expectation of the golfers, manufacturers introduced Polybutadien, a petroleum based polymer in making balls. Where the use of this soft material made the ball bouncy, manufacturers deployed zinc with it to make the ball hard and durable.
Types of Present-Day Golf Ball
Currently, there are some leading golf ball manufacturers like Pinnacle, Callaway, Titleist, and Nike who have been investing billions of dollar each year for the research and development of the technology of high-performance golf balls. Now, you will find two types of popular golf balls in the market.
Syrilin Covered Two-Piece Ball
Newbies in the golf love this solid ball. It is durable, long-lasting, and covers straighter distance.
Pro level golfers like this livelier and soft ball. Softness allows the players to control the spin and distance covered of the ball.
What’s the Future of Golf Ball?
Technological innovation and modern manufacturing process are leading the development of golf ball. The pace of development is so fast that as if the ball is getting newer attributes each day!! Today’s golf balls stay steady in the air and covers more distance. Future innovation will focus on the more yard coverage, dimple pattern based on mathematical model, and composite materials to make the game more engaging and stuffed with fun.
After a journey of reviewing the history of golf ball, you now know that the ball has passed a long way after its so-called inception in Rome. The story of golf is very colorful indeed!! It tells you the journey of innovation and inspiration. Modern technology has given new dimension in golf ball and the game as a whole.