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history of golf balls

Would You Like To Know The History Of Golf Balls?

For a golf game to be complete, we need to have a golf ball. However, much little this ball might look, it is very critical in this game. Most golfers nevertheless focus their attention on the size of the club, the swings, and so forth with so little consideration to the ball. Understanding the history of golf balls would help us appreciate the sport more and encourage golfers to consider different aspects of the golf ball too.

Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

Myths Surrounding the Origin of the Golf Ball

A story is told of a bored shepherd being the first to play golf ball. It is said that using his crook; he kicked a pure rounded stone which by luck ended up in a hole. Seeing how amazing this game was, he used several other stones to repeat the same and even invited his friends to join him. However, the historical backing to this story is not available hence being discarded. There are many other stories as this, but they do not hold water as to the exact origin of the golf ball.

Now, the puzzle you must be trying to unlock is, “who invented the golf ball?” that is what we are about to find out. Keep reading.

The Evolution of the Golf Ball

Almost everything on the surface of the earth has had its evolution from the original to its present form. The golf ball is no exception at all. Even though there is scanty information regarding golf ball history, the available information is still able to furnish us with some understanding.

So, what is the first golf ball according to the available sources? Well, the answer is right below.

The Featherie Golf Ball

History records that the first sold golf ball dates from 1452. However, Featherie was the first feather ball introduced in the early 17th century. A golf ball maker by the name James Melvill from St. Andrews made these feather balls in 1618. The Featheries gained a lot of popularity in Scotland as well.

It continued as the standard golf ball up until the 19th century. The material used to make this ball was a cow with horsehide and goose feathers in most cases. Some of the breakthroughs of this golf ball were its flight characteristics. The ball would go as much as up to 175 yards. The longest record distance was, however, 361 yards. When it got wet, the ball was less effective and therefore not suitable during rainy conditions.

Enough of the Featherie, let’s move into the next stage of the golf ball evolution.

Gutta Percha Golf Ball

Golf as a sport had gained momentum in the mid-19th century. A Scottish divinity student, Robert Adam Paterson, is attributed to the invention of the Gutta Percha Ball or the Guttie. Many historical sources suggest that his inspiration began with a statue of Vishnu, protected by shavings of Gutta Percha sent as a present to his father.

The enthusiastic young lad then formed the Gutta Percha ball, which proved unsuccessful in the initial stages. However, he did not give up just yet; he continued to make modifications to it, which yielded fruit. The ball was taken up by golfers in the 1960s, and it replaced the Featherie.

The Rubber-Wound Golf Ball

An inventor named Coburn Haskell got a joint patent in 1899 from the US Patent Office for this new rubber ball. He made it out of a solid rubber-wound core covered by Gutta Percha. The new ball was a game-changer with impressive control and feel. Unlike the early golf balls, the rubber-wound ball flew over 20 yards further. The incorporation of the dimple pattern made it achieve even higher distances.

The Haskell Golf Ball Company was launched in 1901 to facilitate the manufacture of these balls. Nevertheless, there was still plenty of improvement.

The Modern Golf Ball

An American engineer by the name James R. Bartsch joined the golf ball making industry in the 1960s. He aimed to cut down on the total cost of labour and materials involved in the process. Bartsch’s resilience pushed him to make experiments with different synthetic materials.

His efforts yielded fruits at the end. He was able to invent a ball that was significantly less expensive to produce. It also saw the re-introduction of the solid-moulded ball concept.

The year 1963 saw the coming up of various golf ball inventions. For instance, Spalding came up with a one-piece ball of its own known as the Unicore and later launched the Executive. It was superior to that of Bartsch.

Some of the modern golf ball facts include more durability and long distances. In the year 2000, the ProV1 three-piece multilayer ball was launched by Titleist which won the hearts of has continued to dominate the golf market even as thousands of other golf balls continue to come up.

The Future of the Golf Ball

Tracing back to when golf was invented up until now, we can see that the future is bright for the golf ball. With the Titleist Pro V1 and V1x dominating the market for more than ten years now, other brands may have to dig deeper to beat them. Nevertheless, the golf ball making has significantly evolved, and it won’t come as a surprise if another brand shoots up with a new idea.

The game of golf, like any other sport, keeps on growing with fresh ideas coming on board. Modifications may, therefore, be necessary to the golf ball to accommodate these new changes which may open up the market for new inventions.

By now, I hope that you can answer the question, “what are golf balls made out of” and “when was golf invented?” If you are interested in finding some of the best golf course packages in Portugal, then Algarve Golf Holiday is the site to visit today.

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