Why do golf balls have dimples?

History of dimples on golf balls

In 1848, an accident that would forever change the landscape of golf took place. The gutties, the balls most used at the time, were made from molded tree sap.
However, in 1848, a new kind of gutty was invented by a man named Robert Adams Paterson.
This new ball was made with a rubber core and a two-piece leather cover.

These golf balls with a few bumps have been found to have better flight consistency than those that are new and undamaged.

Golf ball manufacturers had a problem on their hands.
They had to find a way to keep their golf balls from slicing through the air.
Golfers lost sales of balls that splayed out too far to the left or right.
After creating raised protrusions into golf balls, they discovered that indentations performed better.
In 1905, William Taylor patented this design for what are now recognizable as golf balls with dimples.

As ball technology advanced, so too did ball design.
Ball designers now use high-tech equipment to find the optimal design for distance and control.


What are dimples for?

Golf ball dimples make for a more consistent and predictable flight.
The golf ball manufacturers don’t put dimples on golf balls because they look good — it’s for a scientific reason.
A smooth, flat object moves through the air in an inconsistent and fluctuating manner because of how air flows over it.
This means that golf balls without dimples would fly unpredictably and cause problems for players.

Dimples are the small ridges on a golf ball, and they create a layer of air around the ball. This allows the air to flow more smoothly over the ball rather than getting caught in little pockets. More air flowing means a smoother ball flight. Turns out, dimples are not only good for golf balls. They are also good for car aerodynamics.

After long studies, scientists discovered that golf balls have dimples for the purpose of lift. They found that the ball is spinning backwards, which creates air pressure underneath the ball, causing it to rise. The more dimples on a ball, the more air pressure is created. This contributes as much as 50% to the total lift.


What is the number of dimples on a golf ball?

The truth is there is not a single answer to how many dimples are on a golf ball. The number of dimples on a golf ball depends on what model and manufacturer you’re talking about.
Golf balls typically have between 300 and 500 dimples.

One golf ball company with the most dimples had 1,070. This is more than double the "normal".


Dimple size

The size of a golf ball's dimples is measured by their depth.

The average golf ball's depth is about 0.010 inches.
Dimple sizes also vary depending on the model. While most golf balls have spherical dimples, some have even hexagon-shaped ones.

For golf balls to be legal, they must have a symmetrical arrangement of dimples.
The radius of the dimple, as well as the depth, must be within a specific range.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published