Golf Ball Technology Demystified!
Now this is why golf ball technology is vital:
When a golf ball is hit, the impact, which lasts less than a millisecond, determines the ball’s velocity, launch angle and spin rate, all of which influence its trajectory (and its behavior when it hits the ground).
A ball moving through air experiences two major aerodynamic forces, lift and drag. Dimpled balls fly farther than non-dimpled balls due to the combination of two effects:
First, the dimples on the surface of a golf ball cause the boundary layer on the upstream side of the ball to transition from laminar to turbulent, something which the golf ball technology is designed to help with.
The turbulent boundary layer is able to remain attached to the surface of the ball much longer than a laminar boundary and so creates a narrower, low pressure, wake and hence less pressure drag.
The reduction in pressure drag causes the ball to travel further.
Have your eyes glazed over yet?
Hopefully you now are beginning to appreciate how much research and development goes into golf ball techology!
Many golfers, me included, usually buys logo balls that are on special offer. The downside is that they all look the same, so you have to mark them.
To avoid that you can get personalised golf balls, that way you can't possibly mistake someone else's ball for yours!
Second, backspin generates lift by deforming the airflow around the ball, in a similar manner to an airplane wing.
Backspin is imparted in almost every shot due to the golf club's loft (i.e., angle between the clubface and a vertical plane).
A backspinning ball experiences an upward lift force which makes it fly higher and longer than a ball without spin.
Sidespin occurs when the clubface is not aligned perpendicularly to the direction of swing, leading to a lift force that makes the ball curve to one side or the other.
This ability to back spin is heavily influenced by the golf ball technology used in making the golf ball.
Unfortunately the dimples magnify this effect as well as the more desirable upward lift derived from pure backspin. (Some dimple designs are claimed to reduce sidespin effects.)
There are many types of golf balls on the market, and customers often face a difficult decision.
Golf balls are divided into two categories: recreational and advanced balls.
Recreational balls are oriented toward the ordinary golfer, who generally have low swing speeds (80 miles per hour or lower) and lose golf balls on the course easily (who, me?)
These balls are made of two layers, with the cover firmer than the core. Their low compression and side spin reduction characteristics suit the lower swing speeds of average golfers quite well.
Furthermore, they generally have lower prices than the advanced balls, and the golf ball techology is specified to the lower swing speed.
Advanced balls are made of multiple layers (three or more), with a soft cover and firm core, utilising a more advanced golf ball techology.
They induce a greater amount of spin from lofted shots (wedges especially), as well as a sensation of softness in the hands in short-range shots.
However, these balls require a much greater swing speed that only the physically strong players could carry out to compress at impact.
If the compression of a golf ball does not match a golfer's swing speed, either the lack of compression or over-compression will occur, resulting in loss of distance.
You see how important golf ball technology really is!
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