Since the beginning of time, people have enjoyed smacking objects, both big and small, with sticks. As the sport of golf became progressively more competitive, people began to figure out how to hit objects with sticks more and more efficiently. And now, Bubba Watson can hit a small object with a stick so that the object would travel 350 yards. A timeline outlining the history of the golf ball is below.
16th Century – Golf balls of the time were cheap and made of wood.
17th – 18th Century – King James IV has a set of golf clubs made for him by William Mayne. This set included play clubs for driving, fairway clubs for medium-range shots, spoons for short-range shots, niblicks for pitching and a cleek for putting. This made the game of golf more well-known and it also established golf as a sort of upper-class, gentleman’s game worthy of a king. As a result, no expenses were spared. Golf balls of the era (called featheries as they were stuffed with feathers) were made of leather and awfully expensive, not to mention easily dented. The stitching used on the golf ball provided a similar effect to the dimples of today, allowing the featheries to go farther, although this was not known at the time.
19th Century – Although iron-like clubs with huge, heavy hosels were made by blacksmiths up until the late 1800s, golf ball technology of this era limited the possibilities of the metal club. The leather featheries were easily dented by metal, so manufacturers had to stick to wooden clubs until a cheaper, harder, rubber ball made from tree sap, called the gutta-percha ball, or guttie.
20th Century – In the early 1900s, the first dimpled golf ball design was proposed. The dimples created turbulence in the air that allowed the ball to fly much further. In the 20th Century, multi-layer, wound golf balls also rose to prominence.
Present day – Today, urethane covers are used predominantly on golf balls. Multi-layer balls include two, three, four and now five-layer balls that allow manufacturers to control specific aspects of the ball.
We’ve come a long way in golf ball design. They weigh no more than 1.62 ounces each and they have a diameter of at least 1.68 inches. Golfers on the North Myrtle Beach golf courses may all have different golf balls. To best suit a golfer’s ability, they can choose golf balls based on a wide variety of playing characteristics, such as recreational or advanced.