Everyone knows that a golf ball is the golf equipment that is hit around the course. Every player knows that the golf ball is the tiny, commonly white, ball that has dimples covering its surface. These are just basic facts on golf balls. However, there are a lot more things that a typical player does not know about the golf ball. Well, in this article, you’ll discover other (interesting) bits of information about golf balls.
Golf balls are made with physics in mind. The basic concepts that revolve around this golf equipment are velocity, angle of launch, and the rate of spins. All these concepts combine and make up the trajectory of the ball while in flight, as well as its performance when it hits the ground. These concepts could be summed up with one scientific topic, aerodynamics. In fact, a lot of golf players, especially coaches and trainers, apply the law of aerodynamics to study how varying strikes could affect the trajectory and performance upon impact.
To know more about the behaviour of the ball during the entire drive, two aerodynamic concepts are applied to the swings – the lift and the drag. These are just two of the many forces that the ball experiences when it is flying through the air.
The lift is best explained through an example. Imagine a player going for a backspin. He would produce lift when he hits the ball and distorts the airflow around the ball. This specific lift force generation is called the Magnus effect. This spinning golf ball that’s experiencing a Magnus effect would show an upward lift force. The skyward lift would then push the ball to fly farther and higher, relative to the flight characteristics of a non-spinning one.
Next is the drag. This is, in fact, the direct reason for putting dimples on the surface of the ball. The dimples help by converting a boundary layer of the golf ball from laminar, or something akin to parallel flow, to turbulent, which is described as a chaotic flow. The conversion is needed as a turbulent flow can attach itself longer to the surface of the ball, as compared to the laminar one. The attachment would produce a more fitted low pressure wake. This would result into a drag with less pressure. In general, a drag with less pressure can make the ball fly farther.
Aerodynamics is also applied easier when the surface of the ball is clean, and no residue can be found in the dimples. A clean golf ball is in its best form, resulting to a great flight statistics.
In addition to Aerodynamics, golf balls also employ the concept of compression. Compression, for golf, describes the hardness of the core layer of the ball. A golf ball with a high level of compression would only mean that it has very hard core layers. A golf ball that experiences a high compression rate could fly longer. This is because the hard core of the ball enables it to absorb the transferred energy more efficiently and more easily than a low compression ball. However, high compression balls give a hard feel when hit. That hard feel is essentially the shock that goes through the player’s arm after hitting the ball. The opposite happens for low compression balls, as they have shorter flight distances but provide a soft feel when hit.
While it may seem to some that these bits of info are merely worthless (yet fascinating) facts, it’s undeniable that knowing more about how the balls work leads to a better understanding of the sport and to better scores.