Does a Golf Ball Without Dimples Work

Have you ever thought about how a golf ball without dimples might work? Well, when we think of golf balls, we usually picture a small, hard ball with dimples. So, in this article, we will talk about dimples in golf balls and when did golf balls get dimples.

Does a Golf Ball Without Dimples Work
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Does a golf ball without dimples work?

In previous times, golfers had to use a golf ball without dimples. However, the distance that a golf ball without dimples can travel is only about half the distance that a golf ball with dimples can.

This is because the ball’s flight is highly dependent on aerodynamics.

To optimize the aerodynamics of a golf ball, manufacturers play with the materials used and the shape and structure of a golf ball.

These would affect mainly how the ball reacts to gravity after the launch. It is also worth noting that hitting the golf ball determines the ball’s speed, angle, and spin rate.

After which, gravity controls the situation entirely.

What are the dimples on a golf ball for?

The dimples on a golf ball optimize the golf ball’s reaction to gravity. The depth of a dimple in a golf ball can actually hugely affect the trajectory and distance of a golf ball.

The dimples on a golf ball affect the following:

  • Lift

Lift is the force that acts perpendicularly to the ball’s trajectory. This is almost always directed upward. A golf ball without dimples would have a lesser lift than a golf ball with dimples.

With the dimples, air moves faster at the top of the ball. This creates higher pressure below the ball which allows for more lift.

  • Drag

Drag is a force that opposes the ball. The lesser the drag, the less resistance to the ball, and the faster it will travel. Now, a golf ball without dimples has a higher drag than a ball with dimples.

The dimples in golf balls allow air to flow smoothly around the ball’s surface and further to its backside. This allows for a reduction in drag by about half.

So to answer what are the dimples on a golf ball for, their main job really is to optimize aerodynamics.

What are the dimples on a golf ball called?

I’ve seen some people as what are the dimples on a golf ball called. The thing is, there really isn’t a name for them. They are simply most popularly known as dimples in a golf ball.

I know it is a bit of a downer to find out that there is no fancy word for the dimples on a golf ball. However, dimples are pretty convenient and apt for what they are and what they look like.

How many dimples are there in a golf ball?

Unfortunately, there is no one right answer to this. Different manufacturers put a different number of dimples in their golf balls. However, they usually range from 302 to 446 dimples.

Some balls can have dimples as few as 200, while a few can have as many as 500. Aside from their quantity, dimples can also be varied by their dimensions.

On average, the depth of golf ball dimples should be around 0.01 inches.

Then, there’s the shape which can be a circle, a hexagon, or whatever the manufacturer decides it to be. Thus, the size or circumference of each dimple can also vary.

On top of the specifications of dimples, there are other factors to consider with golf balls. For example, different models may use different materials.

This may affect the weight of the ball which is also a very important factor. Even diameters may differ. As such, if you are considering buying a golf ball, check these factors.

Go out and figure out which one is best for you. You can try asking for the number of dimples as well because this might actually be a big factor for you.

What would happen if you use a golf ball without dimples?

The simple answer is that the ball will not be able to travel that far. This has already been tested by golf pros.

On average, the distance a dimple-less ball traveled was 50% less than what a dimpled ball traveled.

Basically, if you try to hit a golf ball without dimples, you will be struggling with distance. Also, if the dimples are only on one side, you will not be able to hit the ball straight.

This is why we only see golf balls with dimples all over.

When did golf balls get dimples?

Now that we know what the dimples are for, it’s time to discuss when did golf balls get dimples. The thing is, the creation of dimpled golf balls was pretty accidental.

In the 1800s, golf balls were known as gutties. These were created by Robert Adams Peterson using molded tree sap.

Now, a guttie is basically a golf ball without dimples, and it suffered wear and tear from being consistently hit. After a while, they noticed that the roughed-up balls gave more consistent trajectories.

With that, they concluded that the damages to the golf ball helped to stabilize its trajectory once hit.

As a result, manufacturers started experimenting with different etchings on the golf balls. Their etchings were actually protrusions which helped a bit with the ball flight.

However, in the 1900s, an anonymous inventor discovered that indentations were better than protrusions. It is also worth noting that by the late 1800s, the gutties started to become obsolete.

A new type of golf ball was invented accidentally by Coburn Haskell and Berkram Work. Haskell was simply winding some rubber bands into a ball.

Upon bouncing it, he noticed that the potential energy it contains is pretty high. They then wrapped this with sap from a Balata tree.

But now, when did golf balls get dimples? Well, it was in 1905 that William Taylor finally registered the patent for a golf ball with dimples.

After that, all golf balls are being manufactured with dimples.

Aerodynamics and Dimple Science

More and more research has also been done for dimple science. And with a far better understanding of aerodynamics, better golf balls can now be found on the market.

Not only did the golf balls improve through the addition of dimples, but they also improved with new materials.

Nowadays, the golf balls that can be found in the market are usually made of synthetic resin and urethane skins. These materials allow for better consistency in flight and more durability.

All these advancements in golf ball technology allow us to enjoy golf the way we do today.

If not for all these accidental discoveries, we can only just imagine how long it would take for us to finish one game of golf.

In Summary

To conclude, the dimples in golf balls aren’t just there for aesthetic purposes.

Dimples in golf balls affect drag and lift to optimize aerodynamics.

These are factors that a golf ball without dimples won’t be able to optimize.

This is why the accidental discovery and invention of the dimpled golf ball is a very important milestone in golf history.

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