GOLFERS love their little white balls (even though they might throw an occasional one in a dam in frustration) and we found this infographic of the history and development of golf balls very interesting.
Over the years, the humble golf ball has undergone several improvements and alterations, starting with the handcrafted Feather Ball, through to the Haskell Ball and Today’s Standard. With each development, we get closer and closer to the golf balls we know today.
A Short History of the Golf Ball
We start off with The Featherie, also known as the feather ball, back in the 15th century. This ball was handcrafted, by stuffing a handful of tightly packed wet goose feathers, into a wet, leather outer shell pouch. This would then be sewn up and left to dry. While this ball was tough and travelled well, it was expensive to produce.
From there, we move onto the Gutta Percha Ball, also referred to as the “Guttie” Ball. Made using sap from the Gutta tree, Indigenous to Malaya, this ball soon became the ball of choice. While the ball did not travel as far as the feather ball, it did cost a lot less to produce.
Unfortunately, it was also prone to breaking up mid-air. This led to repeated modifications in order to help improve durability. Once it was observed that a ball flew better once it had been marked, the ball began to get casted from moulds with a Bramble pattern.
Even with its modifications, the Guttie ball did not stick around for long. In 1898, we are introduced to the Haskell Ball. This rubber ball was invented by Coburn Haskell in America and would once again revolutionise the game.
While similar in appearance to the Guttie, the Haskell flew much further. To the disappointment of many, it would take nearly 2 years before a machine was introduced that was capable of mass producing this ball.
It did not take long for new ball patterns to emerge, including the all-important Dimple Pattern. Introduced by William Taylorin 1905, this pattern was one of the most important inventions in the history of golf.
The pattern reduced drag, thus improving aerodynamics, while the dimples improved trajectories by giving the ball more lift. Within just a few short years, the Haskell had outperformed and replaced the Guttie.
It would be decades before golfers were introduced to a new ball. Today’s Standard came along in 1967, when Spalding reinvented the golf ball once again. This modern ball used Surlyn as the dimpled cover, which then saw Urethane being offered as an alternative.
This infographic and associated original material was supplied by North Lakes Resort Golf Club in Queensland