Enjoy this post by Dan DeFreest:
Greetings from Classic Swing Golf School in Myrtle Beach SC.
You probably know that golf clubs used to be made of wood, but did you know that golf ball were once also made out of wood?
What is considered the “modern” game of golf traces its origins to Scotland in the mid-1500s. The first golf balls were carved out of hardwood by local carpenters using hand tools. Although wood was plentiful and cheap, issues of controlling the ball led to the development of the featherie ball, which was a leather sack stuffed with bird feathers. Although the feathered balls were hard to make perfectly round, they were a vast improvement over wooden ones and remained the standard for the game for nearly a hundred years.
In 1848, the Gutta-percha ball was invented by using tree sap that was heated and poured into a mold. These “gutties” as they were called were inexpensive to manufacture and when dried had a rubbery texture. After being used for a while, gutties tended to get nicked up which surprisingly made them more aerodynamic. Golf ball makers soon began to nick up the balls before selling them which lead to the innovation of adding bumps to the balls.
Fifty years later, The Goodyear rubber company invented the modern golf ball by wrapping strands of rubber around a core of either solid rubber or liquid and covering the ball. Eventually, the bumps were inverted to dimples which allowed for greater control and backspin. Though there have been some modernizing such as varying dimple patterns, synthetic coverings and the introduction of the solid core ball, the basic design has changed little over the past century.
To learn more neat things about the game of golf, come visit the folks at Classic Swing Golf School, you’ll have a ball!