Concepts Surrounding Golf Balls

A golf ball may look like simple golf equipment to most people, but professional and skilled golfers know there is much more than what meets the eye. There are a number of types of golf balls and even more concepts surrounding this certain golf equipment.

Rules Applied to the Golf Ball

There are two existing leading authorities in golf, the R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA). They have created and consistently revised the Rules of Golf, the official compilation of standards of all aspects of golf. They actually have a number of rules regarding the golf ball.

The first and most basic rule is that all golf balls are required to undergo a testing and approval by R&A and USGA before they are deemed acceptable for usage. The balls should not be more than 1.620 oz. in weight and should not be smaller than 1.680 inches in diameter. The ball should also be spherically symmetrical, meaning the ball should be spherical and the dimples should be arranged symmetrically. There are even regulations regarding the allowable depth and radius of dimples, as dimples could affect the performance of the ball.

Certain limitations are also placed on the performance of the ball, specifically with its flight distance, velocity and symmetry. Golf balls that do not follow to such standards cannot be used in competitions.

The Science behind the Golf Ball

A lot of physics is involved in golf ball, such as its velocity, spin rate, and launch angle. Ultimately, all these affect the trajectory of the golf ball and its performance upon impact on the ground. In effect, a lot of people apply aerodynamics to understand how different drives would affect trajectory and impact of the golf ball.

GolfTwo aerodynamic concepts are used in understanding the behaviour of golf, the lift and the drag, as the ball while moving through air experiences these two forces. For example, a player doing a backspin would generate lift by distorting the airflow around the ball; this situation is called the Magnus effect. Now, a back-spinning golf ball would be experiencing a skyward lift force. This upward lift will make the ball fly higher and longer, as compared to the flight of a non-spinning ball.

The drag is behind the idea of the dimples. The dimples transform the boundary layer of the ball from laminar, which is similar to a parallel flow, to turbulent, or a slightly chaotic flow. The turbulent flow can attach be attached to the exterior of the ball longer than the laminar boundary. This would create a tighter low-pressure wake which would then make a drag with less pressure. Ultimately, the reduced pressure drag enables the ball to travel farther.

To make sure that aerodynamics is optimize, a player should keep the golf ball clean, including the dimples. This will make certain that the ball is in its optimal form, without additional residue or physical attachment.


A golf ball compression is defined by how hard the core layer of the ball is. The harder is the ball’s core layers, the higher is the level of compression. High compression golf balls are able to have longer flight distance, since they can transfer energy more efficiently into the ball. The downside of high compression balls is the hard feel the player gets. The best description for a hard feel hit is the shock that goes through the arm of the player when he hits the ball. Low compression golf balls are the opposite. They provide a soft feel when hit but offers shorter flight distance. Low compression balls also show greater backspins when lofted irons are used.

There are a lot more concepts surrounding golf ball but these three, by far, offers the most information, especially for people interested in this golf equipment.

Concepts Surrounding Golf Balls