How Many Dimples Should Your Golf Ball Have?

Golf balls must be symmetrical to comply with the rules. Golfers all have their own personal favorite when it comes to golf balls. All golf balls are not the same.

What makes a golf ball different to any other type of ball is the small indentations, or dimples on its surface. These have been arranged in different numbers, sizes and patterns over the years, in the search for the perfect, aerodynamically designed ball. There have been a number of conflicting views and professional golfers have their own favourites.

The small indentations, or dimples, on a golf ball are there to give control of direction during flight. It is only about a hundred years ago that these dimples appeared. Before then golf balls were smooth but players noticed that once the balls were dented, or damaged, it changed the way in which they flew once up in the air. They also travelled much further.

William Taylor did some experiments with golf balls and came up with the dimpled ball that is used today. This, he calculated as the optimum design. What the dimples do is to reduce friction across the surface of the ball.

The number of dimples on a golf ball varies depending on where you live. In the US there are 336, but this varies in other countries and can actually be as few as 300, or as many as five hundred. It is usual to have an even number of indents, or dimples on a golf ball, but there is a brand available with 333. Not only the number of dimples is important, but also the depth of the indents. There has been much debate among golfers about the perfect golf ball and golf professionals do specially select the golf balls they prefer to use.

It wasn’t until 1921 that the size and weight of a golf ball was laid down by the UK and US sport governing body--but in between 1931 and 1990 the permissible size was different on each side of the Atlantic.

The rules of golf allow a ball with any number of dimples to be used but the dimples must not cover more than 80% of the surface area of the ball. The highest number of dimples ever experimented with was one thousand and seventy. However a golf ball must be symmetrical and a ball that was made with a six wide band of normal sized dimples around its equator and smaller ones elsewhere to help it spin faster and keep its line in the air was banned from use in the official game. US golf rules were changed to ban asymmetrical golf balls and this led to a law suit in which the manufacturer sued the USGA but accepted a sizeable amount in an out of court settlement.

So, for the professional golfer, or the keen amateur, the search for the perfect golf ball goes on and every golfer has his, or her, own personal favourite.


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Glynis Smy
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Posted on Feb 25, 2010