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Golf Equipment: Golf Balls

There has been a wide variety of materials used in golf balls, going all the way back to the invention of golf in Scotland. Today, golf balls are commonly seen and are composed of plastic, but they used to be made from wood.

By 1618, the golf ball had changed significantly; they were instead made with feathers and leather that needed to be dried out. Unlike today, golf balls were made at very different qualities and they had to be crafted with care.

This process was used until an invention by Guttie, or Gutta Percha. A guttie today is worth a lot of money so you might want to hold onto it. Instead of feathers and leather, sap from the special gutta tree was used. This sap was easily formed into a ball after being heated and molded. It was also cheap and simple to produce.

The expensive golf ball that may have needed repairing was no more; the guttie could be melted and reformed if broken. They also were much more aerodynamic than their predecessors. This process evolved even further when patterns were used, such as today’s dimples. By the time Queen Victoria had power in England, golf balls were being made with haste, but companies started to develop and kill the small business owner.

In 1898 Coburn Haskell changed everything by creating a one-piece rubber ball. These balls allowed for up to twenty extra yards because they were made from rubber wrapped in threads; they were the only balls used in the US and British Opens.

This was the second to last step to the golf ball we know today. We still use Haskell’s ideas, but we have changed the form of the golf ball, by adding dimples that stimulate better lift. These old golf balls do not go to waste; they are often collected. Some people may just throw away an old golf ball, but they do not know that an old golf ball might be worth a lot of money.

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