Golf Balls 101 - Guide to  Golf Balls

Golf Ball Construction

What's inside a golf ball? The answer is no longer simple.

Most companies these days use all different types of materials in the core and even the cover of their balls. All golf balls are designed with dimple patterns on the cover to optimize the balls aerodynamics. The dimples can control many different aspects of shots like distance, velocity, spin control, straightness and trajectory.

There are two types of drag behind a sphere when it is airborne, laminar and turbulent. Laminar flow occurs over a non-dimpled ball and the air separates very early in front of the ball, resulting in less carry. A turbulent flow will occur with a dimpled ball because it causes the air to not split as soon and increases the pressure drag. Pressure drag is the air separated behind the ball.

The surface roughness allows the flow to change from laminar to turbulent, resulting in more energy and allowing the flow to remain attached longer than laminar. In other words, the dimples allow the ball to be carried farther by the air.

A golf ball's dimples also help with the ball's lift because they can keep the flow 'attached' while the ball spins backward. The backspin increases the speed of the upper surface of the ball with less friction than the bottom of the ball, which decreases in speed due to more friction. The air that passes over the ball gets dragged around to the back of the ball, producing its lift.

Once the ball loses its carry and gravity takes over, it begins to drop significantly due to the air flow behind the ball.

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