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Golf Ball Dimples - A Smile for Miles


When we think of golf balls, we think of small round balls with small little indentations on them. These ‘indentations’ know as golf ball dimples serve a very important purpose. In addition to giving the ball a unique look, they are what make the ball do what we want it to—travel far.

Golf ball dimples were put on golf balls approximately 100 years ago. Professionals interested in golf noted that golf balls that were dented or damaged seemed to travel farther than smooth newer ones. For a while, manufacturers began making balls in odd sizes and shape to get this “damaged” effect. We can thank William Taylor, who after much study and golf playing designed the golf ball dimples to make the balls travel farther than ever before possible.

When a golf ball is hit there are two aerodynamic forces, lift and drag, that are both working to move the ball. The dimples allow the air to flow over the golf ball decreasing the drag. Lift and drag both are intensified by golf ball dimples- the lift is increased and the drag decreased –so the ball will travel at a faster speed and a longer distance.

The number of dimples on a golf ball varies anywhere from 300 to 500 depending on the manufacturer, but the norm on a regulation American golf ball is 336. All golf balls have an even number of golf ball dimples on them with the exception of one on the market that has 333. Many professional golf players will have golf balls specially designed with a certain number of golf ball dimples. The depth of the dimples in the ball as well as the number of dimples helps to determine the traveling distance. There has been much research to determine the exact depth for each ball manufactured.

A golf ball can have up to 1,000 golf ball dimples on them, but the maximum amount of the ball that can be dimples is 80%. The record holding amount of dimples on a golf ball is 1,070. Research has shown that a properly dimpled ball (approximately 300 dimples) can travel 250 yards compared to the 120 yards a smooth ball will get. Is it any wonder that golfers have special golf ball dimples put on their golf balls?

Technology, research and lots of golf playing have turned a basic hobby of few into a sport for millions starting with the “wooden” golf ball of the past to the modern golf ball dimples of today.

Christine P Gray is a recognized authority on the subject of golf balls. Her website Ultimate Golf Guide provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on everything you will need to know about used golf balls. All rights reserved. Articles may be reprinted as long as the content and links remains intact and unchanged.

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Golf Ball Dimples
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