The Golf Ball

 



Looking to purchase golf balls that 
comply with the rules of golf ?

Golf balls are, without a doubt, the most unique of all sports equipment. Incredible statement, wouldn’t you say. How this could be true ? 

Golf balls, the most unique piece of sports equipment, are you nuts? 

Maybe, but let's take a look. Is there anything unique about the way they are manufactured ?  Millions of golf balls are produced with ultra precision, going through a testing procedure established by the games governing bodies, the United States Golf Association  and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St, Andrews. 

To achieve these exacting standards, millions of dollars and years of time of been invested to insure compliance with their golf ball requirements. 

Nah, there is nothing unique about this, even the briefest of studies shows that the equipment used in other sports go through similar manufacturing and testing procedures.

Well then is it the way they are sold ? Three to a sleeve ? No, Tennis balls are sold 3 to a sleeve. (Someday we'll ask our club's master ball hawk why golf balls are sold in sleeves of three, his answer maybe quite interesting.)

 How about the fact that they are sold through Golf Professionals , mail order, internet, department stores and discount stores ? Nope tennis balls are sold through Tennis Professionals, mail order, internet, department stores and discount stores. So that's not it. (Can you imagine if golf balls were sold like hot dogs at a ballpark ? Or how about the carnival mid-way ?)

How about the size of golf balls, does that make them unique ? 

True, they are a specific size and that size is different from the size of the balls used in other sports, but size specifications apply to all sports balls so can we say this is why they are unique,? Nah ! 

Then let's consider the material they are made from. Today's high tech golf balls are being made from some pretty far out materials that is for sure, but at one time they were made like a baseball or football with leather covers, and they were still the most unique of all sports equipment. So nope, that's not it either.

To find out what makes a golf ball unique we're going to have to propel ourselves back, back like a wild drive hitting the red tee marker. Back over 600 years when golf balls were rocks being hit by golfing sticks.

Picture yourself walking along the moors and dunes. You and your golfing partners whacking away at your rocks with your wooden golfing sticks when the inevitable happens. You take a mighty swing at your golfing rock and your stick breaks.. "Ya lousy bastard, ya broke my golfing stick!" You know that if you keep pounding rocks with your stick, your stick will eventually break but you're hooked so you keep whacking away. Prior to 1400 this had to be a concern to most golfers, as surely good golfing sticks had to be hard to come by.

A vintage ad for Dumlop Golf Balls

Not wanting to keep replacing their sticks, golfers began making golf balls from hard woods. Thus the invention, and use of the woody. "Git in the hole you pathetic wooden bastard". Not a pretty thought is it? A bunch of crazy old Scots running around the links in their kilts , whacking at their woodies with golfing sticks. No wonder King James II banned the game using the excuse that his countrymen were spending to much time playing and not enough working. What do supposed he had to say ? ......"It's pathetic what they are doing, trying to put their woodies in those little holes by beating them with a club". (He'd love golf in 21st century America)

Do you think wooden balls with knots in them were the first X-Outs ? "Can ya imagine tryin' to play golf with a knot in yer woodie? "

It's difficult to believe that the game survived even though the picture actually did get uglier. Along came metal headed golf clubs and these pathetic little wooden golf balls stood no chance. "Ya cheap piece o' crap, one sound whack with me niblick and nothing but a pile of sawdust !" Perhaps this is the reason for rule 5-3

So, golfer’s inventiveness took over once again, and along came the longest reigning of all the golf ball technologies, the feathery. The feathery’s contributions to golf, both good and bad, were many.

The making of featheries was a profitable business that employed a lot of people. But feather golf balls were expensive to produce. Can you imagine stuffing a little leather pouch with feathers through a little hole, soaking it, and compressing it for hours on end until it was a golf ball hard enough to hit with a club. 

It also brought about the advent of the golf ball hawk.

Also with the feathery, it probably was the first time the game was questioned as a man’s sport. How many real men do you know  would go running around a field, wearing kilts playing with their feather balls?

One of the advantages of the feathery was that it would almost always hold it’s shape, (although the shape was not always round), it was durable, and livelier than other golf balls of the past. It introduced distance to the game as a feathery golf ball could fly in excess of 250 yards. 

Naturally this lead to the massive over swing and such phrases as "You little bugger; I'm going to knock the stuffing out of ya !"

How do you think today's distance golf balls might compare ?

By now the game of golf was becoming known to many as "The Devil's Game" and who could blame them. The profit in golf balls was turning caddies into to petty thieves, and it was sending other men of all ages to running around the moors and dunes whacking and slashing at their balls, one minute cheering and laughing wildly the next having explosive fits of anger. All this climaxing with heavy drinking and carousing at the "19th Hole". (Sounds to me like the Adventures of Dr. Double, Golf Psychiatrist and amicable Mr. Par)

Clearly something had to done, and it was, by the golf mad Reverend James Patterson of Dundee who while doing missionary work in Malaysia discovered the gutta percha ,which is a rubber like material that comes from the dried sap of sapodilla trees of East Asia. 

The good Reverend found that Gutta percha could be molded into golf balls. The ability to mold golf balls made them not only considerably less expensive to make, but they could made with different surface patterns thus the introduction of "high tech" to golf ball manufacturing. 

The economic impact on the golf industry was quite significant with hundreds of feathery makers losing their employment and the caddy/ball hawks seeing their income plummet. 


A Feathery Golf Ball

A Hand Hammered Gutty Golf Ball

Machine-marked Gutty Golf Ball

Of course the introduction of "cheap golf balls" ......did have a positive economic effect on the game in the long run in spite of Allan Robertson's fears. The "low cost" gutta made golf affordable to many and brought in new players to golf, slowly at first then growing into the world wide popularity it has today.

The gutta also brought unheard of distance and dramatically improved putting. Bobby Jones was known to have hit tee shots 340 yards using a gutta golf ball and a wooden shafted wooden headed driver. (Think about that the next time you put the smooth one on your titanium headed, graphite shafted, turbo tuned driver and send your super ballistic rocket ball soaring 250 yards.)

And although the economic contributions to golf of the Reverend's discovery and the introduction of "high tech" to golf with gutta balls was truly phenomenal,  his real contribution was in bringing religion to the game. "Ah sweet Jesus how could ya not go in the hole after I stroked ya so nicely !"

Then at long last the Holy Grail, the MODERN GOLF BALL, A hexa-quad poly-dimpled, rubber-covered, high-compression, laser formed technological marvel with a weight of 1.62 ounces and a diameter of 1.68 inches that even when struck by an average golfer is capable of going from 0 to 100 mph in a heart beat.

That little white piece of agony provoking scrounge, looking at you sneering "hit me with your best shot", and when you do it just sits where it lands and waits for more and more. "I'm gonna to smash the crap out off ya" the angry golfer blurts and with a mighty blow of his most powerful golfing weapon sends his helpless antagonist hurdling thru space. Then upon hunting him down, grins and says "take that you little b------", once again sending one flying toward damnation. 

So, have you figured it out yet ? Golfers think golf balls can hear! Not only do they think they can hear, but they get upset if the golf ball doesn’t do what they are told to do! For example, golf balls can’t run and they have no legs, and the only thing that stops them is the law of gravity.


A vintage ad for AG Spalding Golf Balls.



Get up, Sit down, Turn, Bend, Get out of there, Run, Hit something hard, Kick left, Kick right, Bite,@#@!&**^%$@!

Versions of these expressions are heard around the world, from the jungle courses of S. Africa to the resort golf courses of Myrtle Beach, from sand "green" courses of Alberta Canada to the blush tropical courses of Fiji and the dessert courses of the middle east. And of course on the PGA Tour.

Don't believe it , why not take a little golfing vacation and see for yourself ?


Vintage ad for Pinehurst Golf Resort

Vintage ad for golf in Switzland.

Vintage ad for The Algonquin Golf Resort

We hope you enjoyed this little tid-bit, if you did why not send this page to a friend who may enjoy it and sign up for our light hearted e-letter

Of if you would prefer you can send a golf ball history time line.



 

This just in, golf balls are capable of trespassing and intrusion and these ideas are coming from non-golfers and judges ! 
Maybe golf balls can hear ! 

To learn more about the golf balls, continue your search here......

 

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