Golf has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world for centuries. While much of the game remains unchanged, its equipment has evolved dramatically over time – particularly, from a simple leather pouch filled with feathers to an advanced multi-layered sphere designed for maximum distance, accuracy, and control. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at this development in golf ball technology and how it has transformed how players play this beloved sport.
Market.us estimates the global Golf Ball Market to be valued at USD 1,234.8 million in 2021 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7% between 2023 and 2032.
The Early Years of Golf Balls
Golf balls have been around for centuries, and the earliest versions were far different from what we see today. In those early days of golf, balls were typically made of leather and filled with feathers (known as “featheries”) which proved expensive to produce and thus restricted play to only the wealthy. Furthermore, feathered balls tended to become waterlogged quickly, making them heavy and difficult to hit – an issue that further restricted participation in this ancient sport.
In the mid-1800s, a new type of golf ball was developed: gutta-percha. This material proved much cheaper to produce than featheries while also offering greater durability and consistency in performance. For several decades, this ball served as the standard material for playing golf before another material revolutionized it once again.
The Birth of the Modern Golf Ball
In 1905, Coburn Haskell created a revolutionary golf ball. Made with a solid rubber core wrapped in layers of elastic thread and covered in gutta-percha, his design proved much more durable and consistent than previous balls while also traveling further when hit. Soon enough, this new standard became widely adopted by both professionals and amateurs alike – quickly becoming known simply as “Haskell Ball.”
Over the following decades, golf balls continued to develop. Gutta-percha covers were eventually replaced with balata covers made of even more elastic rubber material than gutta-percha. Balata-covered golf balls remained popular among professional golfers well into the 1990s, renowned for their superior feel and spin control.
Multi-Layered Golf Balls
In the late 1990s, a revolutionary new type of golf ball was introduced: multi-layered. This revolutionary design was engineered to maximize both distance and control on the course.
Multi-layered golf balls feature a soft inner core encased in a firmer outer core. This outer layer is then covered with either urethane or another high-performance material for exceptional spin control and feel. Multi-layered golf balls compress when struck, helping maximize energy transfer from the clubface to the ball for longer shots.
The Benefits of Multi-Layered Golf Balls
Multi-layered golf balls offer several advantages over traditional balls. One major advantage is increased distance, as its design allows the ball to be compressed more efficiently for faster ball speeds and longer shots.
Multi-layered golf balls offer enhanced control, thanks to the soft inner core that reduces spin on off-center hits and the firmer outer core which provides a more stable base for it to spin around on. This combination of low spin and high stability results in shots that fly straighter and are more predictable.
Finally, multi-layered golf balls provide a superior feel and sound. Their softer core provides added support to the ball for added control over its direction.