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The Technology Embedded in Golf Balls

You’d be surprised at the technology embedded in golf balls. From feather stuffed leather pillows to a two-piece low compression process that affords long-distance on low power to multiple icosahedrons that provide airlift you’d be pretty convinced that NASA engineers are the ones providing this technology.

For a diminutive ball that has embedded the technology of rocket science, golf balls have quite a historic run. And adequately saying, too, that every time a golf ball comes out with a radical science the rules of the game also change.

The first golf ball was a leather one stuffed full of chicken and goose feathers. Tightly stitched, these golf balls do provide a nice rolling in the green until they fall apart in a shower of feathers. These balls are very expensive due to the meticulous process of boiling feathers and stitching the balls together by hand so that they don’t easily fall apart. You see, from the beginning, golf was intended to be played by royalty.

The next deviant ball was Gutta-percha latex; a sap derivative from a tree of the same name. Chemically, Gutta-percha is polyterpene somewhat similar to rubber but with harder characteristics and non-brittle besides. The Gutta-percha golf balls did revolutionize the game, affording an improved rolling over the green, resistance to water (the feather leather golf balls do tend to get heavy especially when water penetrates the core), and eliminated the feathery showers much to the ladies displeasure.

Later, when a bungling Gutta-percha golf ball maker released a batch of poorly formed balls, which in fact made a truer flight as observed by the players, such golf balls with patterns and impressions became the newest radical concept. Hence, golf balls in production began to be formed on molds and presses that created an even pattern.

Later on, during this spree of testing the most aerodynamic design, the idea of the dimple pattern was realized and the first dimpled golf balls were used in 1908.

The first modern ball appeared on January 1, 1939. Now complete with standardization of weight and size by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, golf balls of the modern age are of rocket science. Titanium compounds, a hybrid of several technological breakthroughs, pressurized core to convert minimal energy into explosive energy, golf balls have more technology implanted on them than golf clubs would ever have. And they are still intended to be played by royalty but without those showers of feathers of course.

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