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GOLF BALL HISTORY—IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTERfrom:
When we go out on the course to go 9 holes or possibly 18 holes, we are only aware of the balls and clubs we presently use now. We give very little thought to the golf ball history and how far technology has come.
Golf was first played in the 1500s. Not having the supplies or equipment we have now, they had to make do with what they had available. They started the game of golf with wooden clubs and managed to make round wooden golf balls. From here, in Scotland, is where our golf ball history began. Not knowing any different they enjoyed the game of golf with wooden clubs and balls. They were both heavy so; therefore, the ball didn’t go much farther than 100 yards. A simple 9-hole game of golf could last quite a while.
In the 1600s, the “featherie” ball was invented. This ball was made from cowhide and goose feathers. They were made while the leather and feathers were wet so they were easy to shape and mold into golf balls. They were then painted and sold. While they traveled much faster and farther then the wooden balls, they were much more expensive too. This stride in golf ball history made the wooden ball obsolete.
The next stage in golf ball history came about with the creation of the Gutta Percha (also called ‘gutty’ ball), which was made from the rubber like sap from the Sapodilla tree. The sap was heated, and then the balls were shaped. They found that the more uneven the ball, the better it traveled. So, they pounded indentations into it with a hammer. This is how the idea of dimples in golf balls started. Golf was not a game that everyone could afford to play until a metal press was designed that could make the balls much less expensive.
The rubber worked so well, it became the pattern that stayed for years. A hard solid rubber core was the inside of the ball with high-tension rubber surrounding it. The Gutta Percha cover made the ball complete.
The golf ball history continued to advance by designing two-piece and three-piece balls. The addition of silicone, balata coverings, titanium and other components have helped make the golf ball a most efficient tool on the course. This advancement made it possible for a golfer to use spin and feel on his shots.
In the 1900s, the United State Golf Association put certain weight and size regulations into effect:
• The weight could not exceed the maximum of 1.629 ounces.
• The diameter of the golf ball could be no less than 1.680 inches.
• The ball must be designed with properties of a spherically symmetrical ball.
• The maximum velocity level was 250 feet per second.
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