If you've ever wondered why golf balls have dimples, you're not alone. It's a question that's puzzled golfers for generations. After all, dimples are usually associated with cuteness, not sporting equipment. But as it turns out, there's a very scientific reason why dimples are essential to a golf ball's design. Keep reading to find out more.
The Purpose of Dimples on Golf Balls
Golf balls have dimples because they help the ball travel further and straighter than a smooth ball would. It's all about physics and aerodynamics and two primary forces in play: lift and drag.
The spinning motion of a golf ball in flight creates lift, which counteracts gravity and helps keep the ball in the air. However with lift comes drag. Drag creates resistance slowing the ball down and bringing it back to earth.
When a golf ball is hit, the dimples create turbulence in the airflow around the ball. This turbulence helps to reduce drag and keeps the ball in the air for longer. If you were to hit a golf ball without dimples it would travel maybe half the distance of a traditional golf ball. And without dimples, it would be further exposed to the air around it resulting in an erratic and unpredictable ball flight. You've probably had days on the course where no matter how you struck it you had no control of where it was going. Imagine your worst day and then trying to control a golf ball without dimples.
Dimples also help with lift. A spinning golf ball creates higher air pressure underneath the ball than on top of the ball. This causes the ball to rise and stay in the air longer resulting in a more controlled ball flight and increased distance.
Here's a great video from the USGA about why golf balls have dimples.
How Many Dimples Does a Golf Ball Have?
The quantity of dimples differs based on the brand and the model of the golf ball. Typically, golf balls have between 300 and 500 dimples each. Additionally, the size and arrangement of dimples vary. That's because different dimple designs can produce different results in terms of trajectory and spin rate. Even the shape of dimples can be different on different golf balls. Let's take a look at how some of the most popular golf balls design their dimples.
- Titleist Pro V1 Dimple Design - Spherically-Tiled 388 Tetrahedral
- Callaway Chrome Soft Dimple Design - 332 Hex Tour Aero
- Bridgestone Bridgestone Tour B RX Dimple Design - 338 Dual Dimple
- Srixon Soft Feel Dimple Design - 338 Speed Dimple
- TaylorMade TP5 Dimple Design - 322 Tour Flight
The next time you tee off, take a closer look at your golf ball and think about all the science that went into its design. The humble dimple may not look like much, but it plays a crucial role in helping the ball travel further and straighter. So next time you make that perfect shot, remember to thank those hundreds of tiny dimples for helping you get there!
Now that you know all about dimples maybe it's time for a new golf ball. If you're in the market, see below.
If you're looking for the perfect Bridgestone golf ball see below.