golf ball noun gälf bol; date: 1545 1 : a small hard dimpled ball used in golf; 2 : the spherical printing element of an electric typewriter or printer
- The first golf balls, used in the mid-1500s in Scotland, were wood. The featherie, which followed, was made from a "gentleman’s hat full" of wet feathers stuffed and sewn into a wet inch-and-a-half leather pouch. After the feathers expanded and leather shrunk, golfers had a ball as hard as a golf balls today.
- A cheaper golf ball, the hammered guttie, appeared in the 1800s, replacing the featherie. Made from a Malaysian natural gum called gutta percha, the guttie was rounder and smoother. Unfortunately, it couldn’t match the superior performance of the featherie.
,li>The bramble patterned guttie introduced the idea of dimples. A bramble pattern that resemebled the surface of the raspberry was added to the guttie at the turn of the century. English engineer William Taylor, in 1908, patented an inverted bramble pattern—dimples.
- It’s all scientific. Scottish physicist Peter Guthrie Tait published a series of scientific papers in 1890 recognizing that air had much to do with a golf ball's trajectory.
- Full length golf courses have 18 holes because, popular legend has it, a member of the St. Andrews club board in 1858 pointed out that it takes 18 shots (of alcohol) to finish a fifth of Scotch. Limiting himself to one shot (of alcohol) per hole, the member suggested a round of golf be over once the Scotch is gone—or 18 holes.
- Mercury, cork, lead, and ball bearings were among the many core materials experimented with at the turn of the twentieth century.
- A German farmer, in 1994, sued the owners of a nearby golf club after his veterinarian discovered a golf ball lodged in the throat of a recently deceased cow. The farmer claimed the club was responsible for the death of 30 of his cows. It was later discovered the 30 cows had swallowed about 2,000 golf balls that had landed in the pasture.
- The longest-ever hole-in-one sailed 447 yards to the pin. It was shot on October 7, 1965, by Robert Mitera at Miracle Hills, Omaha, Neb.
- One of the longest shots ever was driven 2,400 feet, nearly one-half mile. Who shot it? Astronaut Alan Sheppard while teeing up on the Moon.
- $602 million=the golf ball market
- Golf balls abhor a vacuum. A golf shot that would fly 230 yards normally would only fly about 160 yards in a vacuum. Golf balls, which fly like birds’ wings, don't work if there's no air. A spinning ball creates lift, suspending itself against gravity. Without air, that lift would disappear (as would drag).
- Dimples are cute, but they don’t do everything. One myth (among many) is that dimples create lift. The real magic is in the spin, which warps airflow and makes the golf ball act like a wing.
- It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity. Some golfers bemoan a humid day, fearing the heavy air will slow down their shot. But the truth is, humid air is lighter than dry air, allowing the golf ball to fly farther—by about a foot. But golf is a game of inches, isn’t it?
- Say it with me: "Overspin is bad." It’s backspin that you want. Overspin reverses lift force, helping pull a golf ball to the ground.
- The USGA rules. The United States Golf Association requires that a conforming golf ball weight no more than 1.62 ounces and be no bigger than 1.68 inches.
- You’ve only got five minutes. If you’ve lost your golf ball, USGA rules say you have five minutes to find it before signaling other players to pass through.
- Unfit to play. If you’re golf ball is cut, cracked, or out of shape, it is considered unfit for play. But if it’s caked in mud, is scraped, or is chipping paint, play on.
Sources: Titlest, designshop.com, golfeurope.com, USGA, lewistowncountryclub.com, funtrivia.com