take a close look at the golf ball
For many sports fans, it is a matter of controversy whether golf can even be viewed and recognised as a sport at all. Sports are associated with speed, emotions, and peak performance. This sedate leisure activity can hardly keep up with that. Golf also has to put up with the label of "retiree sport", although more and more young people are getting enthusiastic about the 18 holes and the little ball with several hundred dimples.
However, anyone who decides to tread the perfectly manicured lawns of a golf course should be prepared for aching muscles the next day. Playing the 18 fairways can easily cover more than 7000 meters – not counting extra distance from penalty strokes. Since the golf ball with its minimum diameter of 42.67 mm can also get lost, quite a few meters can be added while searching for the dimpled white ball. And that is no rare occurrence, as the following figures show: In the USA alone, an estimated 570 golf balls are lost every minute. That means a daily loss of 820,800 golf balls, which adds up to more than 24 million golf balls a month and nearly 300 million golf balls a year. So there are 300 million reasons to take a close look at the golf ball.
Added value of the roughly 400 dimples
A golf ball consists of a hard plastic cover and various cores. In addition to hard rubber cores, multi-layer cores, for instance of synthetic resins, are used increasingly. The outer layer of the golf ball primarily influences durability, the feel at contact, and spin. Balata is a type of cover made of natural rubber, which is produced synthetically these days and corresponds to natural balata both chemically and physically. It is the softest of all the covers and permits maximum spin, which, however, also means that the cover has very low durability. On the other hand ionomers are often used to give a hard shell with high durability.
Increasing the number of layers generally improves the performance of the golf ball. Studies have shown that increasing the number of layers would prevent the ball from excessive vibration as it moves through its trajectory, while also converting the kinetic energy more effectively to propel the ball further. An intermediate layer with VESTENAMER® composition can be molded around the core and cross-linked at a certain temperature.
Such cores and intermediate layers exhibit low compression, improved resilience and still having a soft ‘feel’ or ‘touch’ when hit. Also the coefficient of restitution (s.c. COR index) is improved by VESTENAMER and allows higher flight velocities and hence longer flight distance.
The interior of the golf ball, the core, plays an important role when it comes to translating the energy from the golf-club into the kinetic energy of the ball. It consists either of a hard rubber core, a liquid core, or a mixture of various synthetic resins. In addition, a golf ball can be produced with a core of high Mooney viscosity polybutadiene rubber and relatively low Mooney viscosity VESTENAMER®. The rubber composition helps give the ball high resiliency and a soft feel.
The surface of the ball is covered with several hundred little depressions – the so-called dimples. In combination with the rotation of the ball, they make the ball fly three times farther than a smooth ball without dimples. When a good golfer strikes the ball, it can accelerate to speeds of over 250 km/h. The record is 328 km/h. With that kind of speed, the golf ball can quickly be transported to nirvana, and the search for one of those 300 million balls – in the USA alone remember – can be quite exciting.