The golfer is confident in his skills, and he has his clubs to help him boost towards victory. But the onus of golf’s true goal lies in the ball itself.
In the six hundred years since the sport of golf was born on the Scottish highlands, the golf ball has undergone four stages of evolution: the wooden ball, the feather and leather ball, the gutty ball, and the rubber core ball.
The wooden ball, alongside the wooden club, was born along with the sport. Both the ball and the club were made of hardwood such as beech. The manipulation of the ball was tough, but at least golf had to start somewhere.
The feather and leather ball was invented in the seventeenth century, right about the time when wooden balls were being phased out for their inefficiency. This type of ball was basically a stitched leather sac filled with boiled goose feathers, which was then dried until it shrank to around the size of the golf club’s head and then painted. Because of their use and abuse by golfers at the time, the leather and feather balls were easily damaged and were expensive to replace. They did have one advantage, though: they flied pretty good distances.
In 1848, Robert Adams had to make golf accessible to the masses by replacing the easily-damaged feather and leather ball with the gutty ball. The gutty ball was molded from the rubber-like sap of the sapodilla tree. It was also at this stage when the now-recognizable small round dimples of golf balls were introduced. Those dimples were conceived by accident to make the ball fly smoother and farther.
The current form of the golf ball started in 1898 by Coburn Haskell alongside the BF Goodrich Company as an improvement over the gutty ball. Real rubber was used as the core and the middle layer, with the gutty serving as the outer surface.
The current age also spawned the balata ball –
which was named as such since its outer surface was made of balata, another rubber-like substance made from the sap of the balata tree. However, balata balls were favored more by professionals since they left little room for mistakes.
Balata balls were phased out with modern balls made of newer substances that have the essence of rubber but are harder and built to stand constant swings.TaylorMade golf is a manufacturer that uses materials such as Syrilin, a synthetic substance conceived by DuPont, in its balls.
Here is the current lineup of TaylorMade golf’s balls, made to cater to professionals, amateurs, and beginners.
The Project (a) ball is the choice of amateurs for its responsiveness, leading to its popularity at the 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament. The Tour Preferred is favored by professionals, as TaylorMade golf has consulted them on what the perfect ball for high-stakes tournaments such as those run by the PGA should be. RocketBallz are so-called for their potential to fly like a rocket – faster and longer – while adding a dose of control. The Burner is meant for extra durability, especially for long practice sessions. The Noodle is the starter budget line, with the Long variant engineered for longer distances.
As shown in the history of the golf ball, science is responsible for its evolution. As golfers everywhere wanted more flight, more speed, more control, and more durability, the humble ball was and is still being enhanced. TaylorMade golf is a respectable name in the realm of golf for its innovations. It is recognized not just for its revolutionary drivers made of metal, but also for its balls made of different substances to cover every golfer’s specific needs.