Driven to Innovate Episode 3: Balls

Can a golf ball be all things to all people? That's the ultimate goal of ball design today, and thanks to breakthrough technology in aerodynamics, layering and materials, ball manufacturers' latest creations are getting close. Find out why the scientific evolution of this small piece of equipment has a lot of significance to your score.
Presented by Porsche.

Released on 3/2/2016

Credits

Featuring: John McPhee, Tom Mase, Mike Stachura, E. Michael Johnson, Keely Levins, and Stina Sternberg
Director: Cathryne Czubek
Producer: Gigi Dement
Director of Photography: Tony Burns

Transcript

00:00
(energetic piano music)
00:04
[Johnson] The golf ball is one of the most
00:05
innovative pieces of golf equipment.
00:07
It looks just like a little sphere
00:09
but if you peel back the layers of it
00:11
you see all the intricacies that are involved.
00:14
[Stina] As much as golfers want
00:15
to constantly better themselves,
00:17
it's fascinating to see how the engineers
00:19
behind the equipment are also on this perpetual mission
00:22
to improve performance through technology.
00:26
It's the one sport where you get to pick the ball.
00:29
It's not given to you by the official.
00:31
So you better choose the ball that's
00:33
the right fit for your game.
00:35
Golf ball innovation has been about
00:38
finding a way to get maximum spin on your short game
00:41
and minimum spin on your driver.
00:44
[John] You could have multiple cores.
00:46
You could have a firm mantle layer
00:48
and then you have a urethane cover that's
00:50
gonna give you the spin on your short game shots.
00:53
Golf balls are incredibly difficult to produce because
00:57
with every layer, you not only have to get
00:59
that layer correct in terms of formulation,
01:02
you have to be able to center it
01:04
within each other to get the right formulation.
01:09
An immense amount of research has gone into finding
01:12
just the right material for the cover of the golf ball
01:15
and the urethane that's used in covers today
01:18
has really revolutionized the game.
01:20
That was one of the biggest breakthroughs
01:21
in golf ball design.
01:23
It allowed designers to give them all the attributes
01:26
of a tour ball but with durability that was unmatched.
01:31
The dimples give the ball the aerodynamic
01:34
lift and reduces the drag.
01:36
And certainly the dimples have evolved
01:38
to today's designs which are extremely efficient
01:41
at cutting through the air and generating lift
01:44
for those long drives.
01:45
[Johnson] Sometimes you have little micro dimples
01:47
within the dimples to make the ball fly
01:50
through the air even more efficiently.
01:52
You're talking about the tiniest technology
01:54
on a very small piece of golf equipment
01:56
but it can have a huge impact on your performance,
01:59
especially for the most elite players.
02:02
(energetic piano music)
More from golfdigest.com
Equipment The Complete Hot List
Equipment The Complete Hot List
Golf Culture Most Annoying Golfers
Golf Culture Most Annoying Golfers
Instruction How To Do Everything
Instruction How To Do Everything
News & Tours Blog: Stay In The Loop
News & Tours Blog: Stay In The Loop
Ranking 100 Greatest Courses
Ranking 100 Greatest Courses
Cover Story Paulina Gretzky
Cover Story Paulina Gretzky