A lot of golfers may never know, but a story once beholds the reason why golf balls have dimples. In Britain, where the seaside dunes would be swept with a wind’s blow, a golfer readies his aim towards his new, smooth and feathery ball. With a strong blow, the ball took off and not in a way that the golfer intended. After a careful examination, his new-ball seemingly has dents on it. Another swing and he discovered that the more he takes the shot, and the more the ball looks damaged, the straighter and higher the ball flew. Thus, golf ball dimples are originated.
The Physics Behind the Dimples
In a nutshell, a smooth and feathery ball possesses a larger surface area for the air to interflow than of a dented, damaged, round ball. Fantastically, every time a ball removed a portion of its surface, the lesser the air would impede its flight. Making the ball travel longer. The dimples are like wood chips taken out from a sculpture so that wind wouldn’t hinder the ball from flying great lengths.
It was in the mid-1800s where feathery golf balls were replaced with rubber ones obtained from the tree, Gutta Percha. Back then, golfers would carry a little hammer to beat the golf’s ball surface until no flat area is seen.
As time passed by where golf balls are no longer made by hand but are mass-produced, they were distributed with dimples.
The Reason Why Golf Balls Have Dimples
Thanks to the intervention of physics, it was discovered that a golf ball that has a smooth surface travels short with no aerodynamics to create the needed lift. In addition, the dents or the dimples, provide backspin that makes the ball launching easier.
Tested through a science experiment, a golf ball that has smooth surface could only travel for about 130 yards while one with dents made up to 290 yards with the same force of the swing.
The Number of Golf Ball Dimples
Curious to know how many dimples are in your golf ball without actually getting dizzy trying to count it one by one? The truth is, it varies. Each golf ball is unique when it comes to the number of dimples it contains. The same golf ball manufacturer releases varied models, and this does not assure that each contains the exact amount of dimples.
The great thing is, the average number of dimples among thousands released every year was discovered. And, that magical number is 336. Although it is reasonable for a golf ball to have 300-500 dimples, a golf ball can’t be riddled with dimples without gaps.
As all golfers know, symmetry is needed for a ball to fly in a specific direction. At the same time, it contributes the ball’s drag, spin and flight. If you try to look closely at a golf ball’s dimples, it’s spherical and is at a 0.001-inch depth. Going beyond this measure will significantly change the ball’s trajectory.