Golfer or not, there’s no doubt that you’ll recognize the unique shape of a golf ball. Slightly larger than 1.68 inches in diameter, these small balls are indented with hundreds of dimples. But what do these dimples do? And what purpose do they serve?
Dimples on a golf ball are absolutely crucial in achieving the distance and accuracy that we have become used to. They are carefully designed to reduce wind resistance and aerodynamic drag, allowing the ball to cut through the air with minimized friction.
Back in the early days of golf, when golf balls were perfect spheres – a shape similar to that of a ping pong ball – golfers began to realize that the more a ball had been used, the further it would fly. This raised obvious questions.
The reason for this was that the dents and scuffmarks which developed on the surface of the ball helped to reduce aerodynamic drag, minimizing resistance against the ball’s flight. It was at this point that the innovators of golf decided to experiment with dimples covering the surface of the ball.
Without dimples covering the ball, the air flow is fragmented once it passed the ball, creating a “low pressure zone” in the ball’s trail and causing drag. The small dimples force the airflow to grip tighter to the ball, coming back together after the ball has passed.
If this sounds a little too complex, watch the video on the following page. It makes things a lot clearer.