History Of The Golf Ball (2022)

History Of The Game Of Golf|History Of The Golf Ball|Rules Of The Golf Ball|Science Of The Golf Ball|Golf Glossary

Golf Ball Construction |Golf Ball Types|Golf Ball Compression|Golf Ball Dimples|Golf Ball Distance|Golf Ball Spin

The common golf ball has undergone many upgrades and enhancements throughout its long life. With the first recognizable form of the game of golf being played in Scotland in the early 1400's, the golf ball has had nearly 600 years to evolve.

The evolution of the golf ball highlights the major changes in the game of golf and depicts important golf landmarks during the long evolution of the game. The development of the golf club, the golf course, and the rules of the game were affected by the evolution of the golf ball itself. The balance (and debate) between technology and tradition is as old as the game of golf itself. One can even argue that when it comes to golf, yesterday’s technologies are today’s traditions.

Today, 50 million golfers worldwide play 900 million rounds on some 25,000 golf courses each and every year. Clearly, the game of golf has become incredibly popular, and the resulting industry is big business.

Four Stages in the Evolution of the Golf Ball

Although it is likely that the very first golf balls were nothing more than round rocks or pebbles, there are four distinctly recognizable stages in the evolution of the golf ball:


Wooden Golf Balls

(Video) The golf ball that made golfers too good

There is no question that the first games of golf, as we know it today, were played using wooden golf balls. Wooden golf balls were the first man made golf balls, and although information is scant, it would be a pretty safe bet to assume that a wooden golf ball had some rather interesting playing characteristics.


Harboring their roots in the early 1400's on the Eastern Coast of Scotland, these original wooden golf balls were inefficient at best and likely made of hardwoods such as Beech or Boxroot. Wooden clubs were the golf club of choice, which in conjunction with the wood balls would have made your friendly game of golf a rather jarring experience.

Wooden golf balls were used up until the seventeenth century, when the feathery ball was invented.


Feathery Golf Balls (Feather Stuffed Leather Covered Golf Balls)

The first "real" golf ball was known as a "feathery"golf ball. Basically, the feathery was a leather sack filled with boiled goose feathers, then stitched up and painted. Feathery golf balls were expensive to make easily damaged and only the privileged few could afford to use them.


Although the era of the feathery golf ball may have started in the early 1400's and run until the late 1840's, it is believed that it was in 1618 that a new type of golf ball was created by handcrafting a cowhide sphere stuffed with goose feathers. The feathery golf balls were manufactured while the leather and feathers were still wet, and as the leather shrunk while drying, the feathers expanded to create a hardened, compact ball. The Feathery was then painted and sold, often for more than the price of a golf club.

The time-consuming processes involved in creating a Feathery golf ball ensured that the price was out of reach of the masses. Though expensive, this type of ball had great flight characteristics and made the wooden ball virtually obsolete. For some three centuries the Feathery was the standard, only to be replaced with the advent of the Gutta Percha ball.

Amazing longevity when you consider that:

It took a bucket of boiled goose feathers to make a single Feathery golf ball.
A skilled Feathery golf ball maker could only produce about four of them in a day.
It was virtually impossible to make a truly round Feathery golf ball.
A player may have gotten as few as 2 rounds out of a Feathery golf ball.
If gotten wet, the Feathery golf ball would come apart.
It's hard to imagine being able to keep any type of golf ball dry during a round of golf on the Scottish links.


Gutty Golf Balls

It wasn't until 1848 that Rev. Dr. Robert Adams began creating golf balls out of Gutta Percha "Gutty". The Gutty golf ball was created from the dried sap of the Sapodilla tree. It had a rubber-like feel and was formed into ball shapes by heating it up and shaping it while hot.


The arrival of the gutta percha ball or "gutty", as it was called, revolutionized the game of golf and allowed its spread to the masses. The gutty period lasted from 1848 until the late 1890’s. A mere blink of an eye when compared to the feathery, but the Gutty had a much greater impact on the game of golf, due to its affordability, playability and durability.

The first Gutty golf balls were hand made, formed smooth and wore three coats of paint. But then it was discovered that brand new guttys had more of a tendency to duck than those gutties scuffed up from play. Hence the practice of nicking the balls with a hammer. That's right, almost by accident, it was discovered that golf balls with improperly smoothed surfaces often flew straighter and further than their smooth counterpart.

Thus the "Hand Hammered Gutta Ball" was formed. These golf balls were hammered with a consistent pattern throughout with a sharp edged hammer. Dimples were incorporated into the iron molds that followed. Less paint was also discovered to be beneficial, and paint application was reduced from three to two coats.

Learn more about Golf Ball Dimple Shape, Alignment and the Dimple Effect.

(Video) Evolution of the golf ball

Handmade Gutty Balls soon gave way to metal presses which in turn made golf affordable for the lower income golfer. Golf truly became the sport for the masses. "The Bramble" design, with its minute bulges resembling a Brambleberry, became the most popular design of the Gutta Percha era golf ball. The Brambleberry pattern was even carried over into a few brands of the more recent rubber core golf balls.


Rubber Core Golf Balls

The advent of the rubber core golf ball changed the face of the game of golf as we knew it. This new design was invented in 1898 by Coburn Haskell in association with the BF Goodrich Company. This new and unique golf ball construction and design featured a solid rubber core, high tension rubber thread wrapped around the core, and a Gutta Percha cover.


The more modern rubber core golf ball replaced the gutty in 1899. However, the rubber core golf ball of the day did not meet with immediate success. Golfers complained that while the rubber cored golf balls were longer off of the tee they were far too lively on and around the greens. Once Walter Travis won the U.S. amateur golf championship while playing with one, the gutty ball soon became obsolete.

This new breed of golf ball also featured a much larger variety of outer designs for improved airflow. The mesh, reverse mesh and Bramble designs gave way to the dimple pattern first used in 1908.

Learn more about Golf Ball Dimples and the Dimple Effect.

Exhaustive golf ball design testing has been done with a multitude of different cores. At one point, a small sac of water was substituted for the rubber core. Steal, lead and glycerin were tried to no avail. Eventually, most golf ball manufacturers settled on one form of rubber or another. The composition of the rubber used is a closely guarded trade secret. Rubber thread was wound around the rubber core, as tightly as possible and a cover of Balata was applied.

Continued Evolution of Golf Ball Design

Today, two piece solid Syrlin covered balls are more popular with amateur golfers, as they tend to be more durable than Balata. Syrilin golf balls are longer and straighter as well. Many pros however, are still devoted to the soft and lively Balata balls, since they can get the distance needed and prefer the added spin for control.

Currently golf ball technology has reached new levels of design. Still closely guarded, top golf ball manufacturers such as Callaway, Titleist, Pinnacle, Nike and others compete within a multi million dollar year industry for their due market share.

There is no question that the application of hi-tech science and technology has lead to the high-performance golf ball and the game of golf we play today.

Golf Ball Design and the USGA
The business of golf balls is not open ended, the characteristics of golf balls are strictly governed by rules. These rules determine such things as:

(Video) The History of Golf Part 1

Golf ball weight
Golf ball size
Maximum initial velocity
Spherical integrity and symmetry
Combined carry and roll of the ball

These and other characteristics make up the framework that today’s golf ball manufacturer’s work within as they vie technologically with each other. The expression "a golf ball is a golf ball is a golf ball", simply does not apply. What appears to be just a small round object is in fact the product of many current leading-edge technologies.

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From a wooden ball in the 14th century to the modern rubber core balls, discover the history behind the golf ball.. Featherie Golf Balls In 1618 the ‘Featherie’ golf ball was introduced, which was made similar to the hairy golf balls but with goose or chicken feathers.. Since the featherie golf ball was filled with feathers it was able to be stuffed more full than the hairy, making it harder thus able to fly farther.. To make a featherie, the feathers and leather would be shaped while wet.. The two worked together making featherie golf balls until the advent of the guttie ball.. Moving away from the original smooth surface makers of gutties began intentionally indenting the surface of the balls to achieve a better and more consistent flight pattern.. Initially the Haskel golf balls were made with the bramble patterns like the guttie balls.. The balata sap initially used to make Haskel golf balls had a tendency to get indents on it as it was relatively soft.. The rubber Haskel golf ball is the standard for the modern golf ball.. The layering techniques allow for golf ball manufacturers to create golf balls with different properties that help with different areas of your game.

The origins of golf reference pebbles being used as golf balls in Scotland, hairy golf balls however were the first real golf balls that were manufactured and used by golfers for centuries.. In the mid-1500’s hairy golf balls were produced in Scotland and hairy golf balls remained the golf ball of choice for many players up until the early 1800s.. Featherie golf balls first made their appearance in the early 1600s but due to their high price tag, hairy golf balls remained popular for many years.. The Featherie Golf Ball.. Hairy golf balls evolved into the Featherie golf ball.. Additionally, Featherie golf balls also kept their shape better as a result of the compact inner.. Morris preferred the Gutty over the Featherie and as a result of this debate, Morris and Robertson parted ways.. The Gutty Golf Ball.. The cover of Haskell’s rubber golf balls were made from balata sap.. The first rubber golf balls feature a similar outer pattern to that of the Gutty golf ball but engineers quickly discovered that inward, concave dimples would be much more efficient from an aerodynamics perspective.. Haskell’s design which featured a solid rubber core, a threaded rubber outer layer, and a balata sap still forms the basis of modern-day golf ball designs.. Modern golf balls feature a variety of different designs in terms of construction, core, cover, and dimples.. Entry-level golf balls feature a core and 1 or 2 additional layers and these golf balls are known as 2 or 3 piece golf balls.. When it comes to golf ball designs manufacturers have free rain in terms of design features, the Rules of Golf do however have set standards that all legal golf balls need to conform to.. The golf equipment industry as a whole continues to evolve year after year and the continuous evolution of the golf ball will be fascinating over the next 5 – 10 years given the ongoing distance debate.

There are many stories and fables about how the game of golf came to be.. It is reported that even the best ball makers could only make 4 per day.. Although the first few iterations basically fell apart when hit, Robert kept at his invention and got it right.. The Guttie had many advantages over the Featherie.. The liquid core compared to the rubber wound core didn’t offer much upside, so manufacturers continued to search for the perfect material.. The golf ball war persisted on, with players opting to not play the “novelty” Top-Flight ball and choosing to play the better performing rubber wound ball.. This led to Titleist finally winning the great golf ball war for about 15 years.

In the first four hundred years of golf there were only four types of golf ball - the Hairy, the Feathery, the Gutty and the Haskell.. The ‘feathery’ or ‘featherie’, which dominated golf for over 200 years, was the making of golf on the links, but, before the feathery, came the ‘hairy’, inexplicably written out of golf history, due partly to the romance of the feathery, though it was arguably the reason why golf initially developed in Scotland , when many other similar games died out.. There are theories that wooden balls may have been used in a target version of golf in Scotland, but this is not golf proper and it is more likely than not that the ‘hairy’ colf ball was the first ball used for golf on the links in Scotland.. Feathery The feathery or featherie is the most famous of all golf balls, though it is not definitively known when or where it was developed.. Early reports say a ball maker would make 2 to 3 balls per day.. These were known as ‘common’ balls and were probably hairy balls or leather balls with cheaper materials or with course stitching and may have included recycled balls.. The ‘official’ feathery record was set in 1836 at 361 yards by Samuel Messieux from Hole O’Cross green into Hell Bunker at St Andrews, wind assisted.. Gutty From 1848, golf balls made of gutta-percha gum, called ‘gutties’ began to replace featheries.. This means that, for different reasons, none of the golf balls which were the making of golf were patented in the UK.. Though the first 2-piece ball with solid core and cover, was developed in 1902, it would be decades before the Haskell ball was replaced.

We’ve got tapes of Fred Flintstone not only playing golf with a rock ball, but recovering from a really tough lie (down a dinosaur’s throat) to win a tournament.. Back in Scotland in the 1400s, golf balls were supposedly made of beech wood – handcrafted by carpenters.. So, it's probably safe to assume a few things about these early golf balls:. But still they were a big advancement because, for the first time, balls are actually round and can be mass-produced, making golf a possibility for the average working stiff.. Golf ball dimples, but dimples as we know them were still decades away.. First, people had to spend years experimenting with all kinds of other markings, including golf ball protrusions and denting gutties with hammers.. But the truly modern golf ball wasn’t born until the 1960’s when the wizards began to be replace rubber with new, cheaper synthetic materials, and wound and liquid cores with solids.. So, began the golden age of golf ball design advancement, spurred on by computerized and robotic testing.. In the past few decades, golf balls have experienced more technological advances than in the previous 500 years.. That’s fantastic news for golfers (and for golf ball divers).. Your Perfect Ball Is Out There : No longer is there just one decent ball at a time.. With over 1,000 rules-approved golf balls on the market, offering all kinds of construction and performance options, golfers have an unbelievable opportunity to find the perfect ball for their style of play ( we’ll help you find yours ).. You Don’t Have to Pay New Ball Prices Anymore : That’s because golf ball core and cover technology is so advanced, balls manufactured today are way more scuff resistant and keep their compression.. 7-piece balls.. Space balls.

The golf ball.. Golf is all about the ball.. The first and most famous feather ball known as the ‘featherie’ was introduced in the early 17th century.. Not only was this due to the limited amount of golf clubs around the world, but also the high cost of golf essentials, especially golf balls, which made the game more or less inaccessible to ordinary people.. In the same year, Ram launched the first golf ball featuring DuPont-produced Surlyn ionomer resin cover which would eventually became the most popular golf ball cover.. With the Surlyn cover, the Top Flite wasn’t only more durable than Bartsch’s single-piece ball but it also addressed every golfer’s dream: distance.

The golf ball has a long history starting from the 1400 century.. Nowadays there are around 90 million golfers around the world and the golf ball has evolved much throughout time.. Though very scanty information is found about the first man-made golf balls, we wouldn’t be wrong assuming that the first man-made balls were wooden.. The original wooden balls were mostly made in Scotland and it was in use for almost a century-long until feathery golf balls were invented.. The most disadvantageous part of this golf ball was that the feather ball would come apart if gotten wet and a player couldn’t have played more than two rounds with a ball; also it was kind of impossible to make a complete round ball.. Years of research and development have taken golf ball technology to a whole new level in terms of speed, shots: high/low, spin, cover, core, amateur, and advanced golfers and has given rise to a million-dollar industry.. Of course, a few characteristics of all balls have to be retained, for example: initial maximum velocity, ball size, and weight, spherical and integral symmetry, combined carry and roll of the ball.. Presently, the most popular golf balls are made by Titleist.. The golf ball has a history of 600 years and over the course of time, the golf ball has gone through many evolutions, from wood to feather, gutty and then the present one.. Answer: The first golf ball ever made was produced from wood.. Answer: The golf ball has changed over time from wood to feather and then gutter to the one we use today.. Many historians have expressed their thoughts regarding golf ball history.

Obviously the game of golf revolves around one simple item, the GOLF BALL!. Without golf balls we would be hard pressed to play the game of golf .. In this travel adventure through the history of golf balls, we want. to look at the game of golf through a "looking glass" and get an overall. sense of that "thing" which we tend to hit off trees, houses, rocks,. etc.. Incidentally, I. will be using both the terms "Golf Ball" and "Golfballs" in this. article as I have found that approximately 35% of golfers' worldwide use. the term "Golfball"!. As of this year in golf history, the golf ball market is HUGE , worth in the neighborhood of $500 million dollars in annual sales!. These balls are made to last longer and play easier for the casual golfer, and represent approximately seventy percent of all golf balls produced.. Around the year 1550 in Scotland, "golf" players utilized wooden golf clubs and balls to play the game.. The Gutta Rubber was quite pliable when. heated and poured into crude "golfballs" which when later cooled formed a. rather decent sphere of solid rubber to be used as a golf ball.. Later on the Spalding Company redesigned the ball into a two-piece construction they called the. 'Executive' which eliminated the exploding golf ball!. During 1921, the United Stated Golf Association established weight and size standards for the golf ball.. United States Golf Association changed the standards on the golf ball in 1932.. According to the number of layers constructed within the ball, they are. classified as two piece golf balls, three-piece, four-piece, and even five-piece. construction.. Through golf ball technology, advances in aerodynamics, and incorporating space-age materials in construction of the golf ball, manufacturers can produce balls which are custom-tailored to a golfer's specific game , golf course conditions, and even weather fluctuations.

The seams soon opened and the feathers protruded.. The ball made of this material has been in use since 1848.. THE million or more golfers who have played the Dunlop will be astounded to hear that there is now a better golf-ball than the renowned “Blue” Dunlop.. It’s the greatest ball Spalding ever made!. It’s the finest ball in play on any course today.. THE WORLD’S FIRST PERFECT GOLF BALL!

Even if you are not a golf player, but would want to become one, you would need to start by learning the basics, which include the origins of golf , the rules, the competitive tournaments, and names of the best players in the history of the sport, among other things.. Royal and ancient golf club in St. Andrews Scotland came up with the first golf rules that helped to promote it as one of the major sporting activities in the country.. The Articles and Laws in Playing Golf later changed to Leith Rules that support the golf club’s claim as being the oldest in the world.. Origin of golf in America dates back to 1743 after Leith Scotland shipped 96 golf clubs and 432 balls, to Mr. David Daes in Charleston, South Carolina.. The golf club, one of the St. Andrews golf club links, had a three-hole course that Johnny and his group spent the best of their time.. Macdonald, who some consider as the father of golf in America, is also responsible for creating the first 18-hole golf course in America, the Pivotal Chicago golf club.. 1930 – Phil Young started Titleist, a company that makes golf balls after realizing that the golf balls in use then were off-center.. 1932 – Golf courses saw the introduction of golf carts on the greens.. Besides the golf balls, clubs are the other essential tools you need to play golf.. The Green is the whole golf course but does not include the holes and the hazards A bunker is a sand-filled ditch that surrounds the golf course or Green Fairway is that part of the golf course leading to the green The rough is any wild area filled with trees and long grass that surrounds the fairway Hazard is anything that is a hindrance to your putting the ball into the hole.. Each stroke counts even if you do not hit the ball Out of bounds is any ground that is not part of the golf course Obstructions are any human-made distractions to payers on the golf course Casual water is a temporary water accumulation on the golf course and does not include dew or frost Loose impediments are natural obstructions from simple objects such as stones, twigs, or leaves that embed or stick on the ball. Golf etiquette or rules require that: You should not talk, move or stand near any player making a stroke Allow f the group in front of you to make way before you play Do not hold up other players in the putting Green and leave immediately after all the other players in your team hole out Allow faster groups to play first Smooth out bunker footprints and replace divots Stay out of the way of another players putt Respect the putting Green by not dropping clubs on it Be careful when replacing the flagstick The maximum key number of golf clubs you can carry to the greens is 14, and they all have to conform to the set regulations and standards.. The U.S. Open The U.S. Open is another golfing competition that dates back to the origins of golf.. Each golf course has its own rules concerning golf carts.. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which is the birthplaceof golf, came up with the hole’s size, which has not changed to date.

We take a look at the history of golf balls and golf clubs.. Hand-assembled, Featheries were balls that needed water, feathers, cowhide and lots of time.. Making featheries were so labor-intensive that only the rich could afford to use these balls.. With crowds of hungry golfers looking for a better ball, Paterson made the Guttie from the rubber sap of the Gutta tree.. So, in a search of building a better Guttie, patterns found their way onto the surface of the rubber balls.. The patterns used on the golf balls took another step when William Taylor applied a dimples to a Haskell ball.. Much like the golf ball of the day, the clubs used by the earliest adopters of golf owe a great deal of gratitude to wood.. For multi-piece clubs, beech and holly trees were used to create the club heads while ash and hazel were used for the shafts.. Around the time of the Guttie’s creation, Forgan’s clubs became popular due to their stability and sturdiness.. Considering the evolution of golf equipment over the centuries, one thing that has not changed is that golfers around the world will continue to be hungry for the next innovation.

From shepherds and stones to state of the art balls flying hundreds of yards down immaculate fairways, the golf ball has changed beyond recognition over hundreds of years.. The first golf ball was, apparently, a stone.. Hairy balls were all the rage in Scotland from the mid-15th century (what with kilts, they had to keep warm somehow) and led to a new way to think about golf ball design.. The 17th century saw the invention of the “featherie,” which could be said to be the first ‘proper’ golf ball.. They took ages to make though – a bucket of boiled goose feathers would be enough for just one ball and an expert featherie maker could only make four a day.. A keen golfer and amateur inventor, Paterson decided to try and make a golf ball by heating the resin and placing it in a mold to dry.. The guttie golf ball became the first mass-manufactured golf ball – easier to make, cheaper to buy and widely available, bringing the game to a wider section of society.. With his upcoming golf game on his mind, he immediately thought of the amazing potential of rubber on the inside of a golf ball.. The Haskell golf ball revolutionised the sport and rubber cemented its status as a key component of the golf ball.. Golf balls have remained at their core, with a layer of ionomer resin around the outside.. Many less expensive modern golf balls have only two layers – with just a synthetic resin centre and surlyn casing.. Three-layered golf balls are also common and used by many pros, but there can be as much as five layers with synthetic rubbers and other materials.. Making a modern golf ball is now like a scientific process !

The evolution of the golf ball highlights the major changes in the game of golf and depicts important golf landmarks during the long evolution of the game.. The development of the golf club, the golf course, and the rules of the game were affected by the evolution of the golf ball itself.. Although it is likely that the very first golf balls were nothing more than round rocks or pebbles, there are four distinctly recognizable stages in the evolution of the golf ball:. Wooden golf balls were the first man made golf balls, and although information is scant, it would be a pretty safe bet to assume that a wooden golf ball had some rather interesting playing characteristics.. Feathery Golf Balls (Feather Stuffed Leather Covered Golf Balls). The first "real" golf ball was known as a "feathery"golf ball.. Golf Ball Design and the USGAThe business of golf balls is not open ended, the characteristics of golf balls are strictly governed by rules.. Golf ball weight Golf ball size Maximum initial velocity Spherical integrity and symmetry Combined carry and roll of the ball. The expression "a golf ball is a golf ball is a golf ball", simply does not apply.

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