Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world with over 24 million people in the US playing golf on a regular basis. It’s no surprise that golf and golf equipment is big business, with huge budgets for research and development to ensure new golf equipment can help your game. One thing is certain in golf, you cannot play golf without a golf ball! Balls have remained similar in construction for many years, but advancements in materials and design ensure that the 850 million golf balls produced every year are of the finest quality.
What’s Inside A Golf Ball and How It Is Made?
Understanding the types of golf balls available, how they differ, and how many cores are in a golf ball, will ensure you get the best ball for your game. A golf ball is a technical piece of gear and can make the most difference in your game along with a good club. Mostly the power in your golf ball is generated by the core and its internal construction, while the outer shell has the most impact on the way the ball flies and spins.
Around 80% of all golf balls made will have a single core that is usually made from some form a powerful rubber or sometimes a gel-like consistency. This single core is the engine of the golf ball and is responsible for transferring all of the power delivered into the ball from the club when you hit it into forward movement. The importance of how that energy is transported from the core to the action of flight and distance is critical and is where golf ball designs get very technical (with a real need for understanding physics).
The two most important factors when playing golf is the ability to hit a ball a long way and control the flight or the spin of the ball in the air.
Golf ball manufacturers use different construction methods to control these different aspects required. Balls range from single solid balls up to 4- or 5-layer constructions to ensure that the power created from the core has the best possible outcome in the air. Essentially a 1-piece ball is the most straightforward construction available and is made from a compressed and molded piece of plastic. It doesn’t feature a separate core so lacks any power or distance; they are cheap to make and durable and are used at driving ranges across the country – but they won’t cut it on a course.
The majority of balls used by amateur golfers today are made using a 2- or 3-piece construction. Manufacturers use sophisticated materials wrapped around the core to ensure the transfer of energy from the core gives the ball different properties.
On a basic level there tends to be a trade-off between power and control.
A soft core and a soft cover will result in a ball with a lot of control but will also have movement in the air on longer drives which may suit a professional but not a beginner. Conversely a hard and powerful core with a hard shell will be a great ball to drive distances for the amateur as it will compensate for any stroke imperfections but will have less control around the green in your short game. This relationship between distance and control has seen some significant development by manufacturers and a fairly innovative development has been that of a of a dual core ball.
The dual-core as the name suggests has two types of material fused together to create one larger central core.
This has revolutionized the ability to produce a ball that can give maximum distance while decreasing spin on longer shots as well as giving good control when required in your short game. A dual-core can be up to 60% larger than a regular core in a ball. The secret to a high-performance dual core golf ball is the ability for manufacturers to fuse different polymers to create a responsive and uniform consistent material. A dual-core ball contains a core designed to have a softer center which is fused into the second layer of symbiotic material. This ensures the core is perfectly spherical and has consistent energy transfer through the rest of the layers of the ball for maximum power and control.
With all balls (single or double core) The outer shell of the ball tends to be made of a hard material such as a high-performance urethane or elastomer. This shell wall will feature a dimple design which helps with control and distance of flight. The thickness of this shell will also play a factor in the transfer of energy from the core. A thin shell will create a softer feel and allow for greater control and spin; a hard shell will create greater compression and generally produce a ball that can be used for further distances. It’s clear to see that the core plays an essential role in the properties and behavior of a golf ball.
Choosing the correct golf ball for your level style and requirements can be difficult, but critical to improving your game.
Discounting a single-piece construction, as these are typically only used on a golf driving range or pitch and putt, the following is a simple classification of the most common four balls in golf.
- A 2-piece distance ball has a single firm core and will be best for driving long distances. Typically, these balls have a firmer central core and harder outer shell, meaning they spin less and travel further, which irons out any floors in your golf swing such as slices and hooks when driving
- A 2-piece low-compression construction, which is specially made with a single core that is softer, and an outer shell that is thinner, allows for greater control and spin, and they tend to be a more budget-friendly option than more technical balls
- A 2-piece performance ball tends to have an oversized core and gives the professional player or serious amateur more control with combined distance
- A 3-piece or multi-layer construction containing a dual core is at the forefront of golf ball design and uses multiple layers of high-tech materials to ensure every aspect both distance and control is the best it can be
So, you can see that it’s crucial that you select the correct ball for your ability and needs.