Most people know that golf balls meet specific sizes and specifications. Most people also know that these balls fill with dimples. But have you ever wondered why they make with dimples?
And do you have any idea how many dimples are on a golf ball?
The truth is that the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) and other international golfing organizations set rules. And regulations for golf balls, no set number of dimples have to go on a golf ball.
While the USGA dictates that there have to be dimples on a golf ball, they do not dictate how many total dimples there should be. Nevertheless, golf balls today are made with 300 to 500 dimples total, depending on the manufacturer and many other factors.
To give you an example, 2017/18 Titleist Pro V1 has a total of 352 dimples, while the Titleist Pro V1X, which came out later that year, has a capacity of 328 dimples. Of course, the number of dimples continuously varies, so let’s look at related aspects of golf ball dimples.
How Many Dimples Are on a Golf Ball?
With 300 to 500 dimples on each golf ball, you might be wondering if that number is ever different. Well, it is. One manufacturer added a total of 1,070 dimples to their golf ball, which happens to be the record!
That means most golf balls stick to the 300 to 500 range, and if you’re wondering why dimples are on the balls in the first place, there is a reason.
You might think that dimples are put on a golf ball to make it look good, but there is a scientific reason behind it. A smooth, dimple-free ball will produce more drag, meaning that the player will have much less control of how the ball lands on the green.
On the other hand, Dimples add a small layer of air around the ball; therefore, it gets to a much more significant portion. Why does this matter? Because with more air getting to the ball, it flies through the air much more smoothly, resulting in more control for the player.
Dimples also allow the golf ball to have more lift, wildly, when it is spinning backward. As much as 50% of a golf ball’s spin is directly affected by the dimples it has, which is yet another reason why dimples are so crucial on a golf ball.
When a ball spins backward, it gets a lot of lift, and there is more air pressure underneath the ball than there is on top of it. Since the dimples on a golf ball enhance that action, it is easy to understand why they are such an essential part of that ball.
Is the Size of the Dimples Regulated?
In addition to wondering how many dimples are on a golf ball, you might also be wondering if the dimples have to be a specific size or placed in certain positions.
Technically, they don’t have to be a specific size; however, most golf ball dimples are 0.010 in-depth. The factors that can vary from one golf ball to another include the circumference and the exact shape.
While most golf ball dimples are spherical, other balls, such as the Callaway HX golf ball, have hexagon-shaped dimples.
All of this doesn’t mean, however, that the USGA regulates nothing about golf ball dimples. Dimples on a regulation golf ball have to have an asymmetrical design and a specific depth and radius.
They do not have to be a particular shape or a specific circumference.
As you can see, each golf ball makes a particular design. However, all golf balls used in tournament play are very similar, giving every player the same odds of playing a good game and even winning.
Have Golf Balls Always Had Dimples?
Believe it or not, golf balls have come a long way to the design they are today. In fact, in the mid-1800s, it made golf balls out of tree sap that molded into a round shape.
As you can imagine, the texture and shape varied with the type of sap used, so there was little to no uniformity from one ball to the next. Nevertheless, players used them consistently.
Then, one day something happened. After playing balls for a while, the players noticed that they were playing better with the dinged-up balls.
In short, there was more consistency with these balls than there was with a brand-new ball. Because of this, the makers of golf balls began etching protrusions that were slightly raised into their product so that the balls mimicked the dinged-up balls to play better.
They also experimented with different types of protrusions in the balls. By the early 1900s, golf ball manufacturers began noticing that indentions worked better than the protrusions they were using. Thus, dimpled golf balls were born.
You could say that the first modern-day dimpled ball came about in 1905 when an Englishman named William Taylor developed a golf ball with dimples in it. Through the years, it perfected the dimpled design until it resembled the dimpled golf balls used today.
Today, balls’ dimple patterns teste using high-tech equipment to find the perfect design that will result in the best control and distance. It is an advanced process that guarantees all golf balls have the same capabilities once golfers play with them.
And if you’re wondering how often the theory that golf balls need dimples tested, know this: in 2014. The GOLF Magazine test conducted Titleist golf balls to test different golf balls with varying dimples on them.
The results were not surprising. They used two balls: one that was smooth and one that had dimples on one side of it. Naturally, the ball with dimples did much better in all areas: lift, aerodynamics, spin, and just about everything else related to golf balls.
The bottom line is that golf balls need dimples to produce the best results since they have 300 to 500 dimples each. Therefore, each golf ball can perform equally and give the player more opportunities to play well and win the game.
Again, they are not required to have a specific number of dimples, but the 300 to 500 number seems to work well for today’s golf balls.
Before making the golf balls out of tree sap, they made them of leather stuffed with goose feathers. So as you can see, golf balls have come a long way to where they are now.
From accidental discoveries to trial-and-error and lots of balls that ended up thrown out, we’ve finally discovered the secret to a great golf ball. There is little wonder why we are still using dimpled golf balls today.
Golfers have been playing with these highly technical dimpled golf balls since 1930. Even though they now come in many colors besides white and even a few new designs, they are still the same balls players used back then.
It’s until someone comes up with a reason to improve the golf balls used today, which is unlikely because they are essentially perfect. So we can expect the same type of golf ball to use for many years to come.
Golf balls have from 300 to 500 dimples each. And these dimples affect their flight and the amount of control the players feel for several reasons. In addition, the air pressure is perfect with dimpled balls than with smooth balls.
The USGA requires a certain depth and radius and asymmetrical design for all golf balls. Still, it doesn’t need that the dimples be a specific shape. Nevertheless, most dimples in most golf balls are spherical, even though some have been hexagon-shaped.
The history of dimpled golf balls is fantastic. You don’t have to be a golf enthusiast to be interested in discovering this information.
Dimples on golf balls create a skinny air layer around the ball, which doesn’t happen with a smooth ball, resulting in less drag and a much better flight.
Who would’ve guessed that a thin layer of air could make such a difference? But it does, and this is why today’s golf balls have strategically placed, strategically designed dimples all over them.
Scientists and engineers can give you more information on why dimples work so well on golf balls. But all you need to know is that the airflow improves with a dimpled golf ball; therefore, your game significantly enhances as well.
And since the USGA keeps an eye out on all of these golf balls, you don’t have to worry about that changing any time soon.
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