When most people pick up a golf ball and squeeze it, the first thought that comes into their head is, “What is inside a golf ball?”. It only makes sense since the golf ball is unlike any other sports ball on the market. Their small, unique design prompts many questions.
All golf balls are different, and every company seems to have a certain idea for what produces the best ball. The fact remains that the golf ball industry has a market cap of nearly $1 billion in 2021.
Golf balls are a big business, and most of what major golf ball companies spend their money on is research for golf ball design.
The core of golf balls is made of rubber. The outside cover of a golf ball is typically made with an elastic material, such as urethane or Surlyn, allowing the ball to return to its original shape.
Surlyn is the brand name of a material developed by DuPont in the 1960s. Surlyn possesses qualities that provide for a tough material that can handle impact well. Hence, it is used for golf ball covers.
All golf balls are made differently depending on the manufacturer and how they want them to perform. Some golf balls are made to fly far; some are made for producing a high spin. The best golf balls on the market have great performance in all areas.
Golf Ball Core
As mentioned above, the core of a golf ball is typically made of rubber. Most golf balls have a two-piece or three-piece design.
The difference between the two is arguable, but from my research, it appears that the golf balls with three-piece cores have a higher production cost and, therefore, a higher price.
Compared to two-piece golf balls, three-piece golf balls are typically made from a solid core, rubber mantle, and Surlyn cover. Two-piece golf balls are made with just one solid piece of rubber covered by urethane or Surlyn.
Three-piece and four-piece golf balls typically have a core with medium compression, and they build up their layers from the middle to allow for a high-velocity exit after the club strikes the golf ball.
The top golf ball is a two-piece golf ball with a solid core with an outer covering.
The other four are variations of three-piece golf balls. Comparing the second golf ball to the bottom golf ball, we can notice the difference in the size of the solid core compared to the mantle. The second one has a larger center than the bottom one. Why golf companies do this all comes down to their testing and what they find performs better.
Are Golf Balls Hollow?
All golf balls on the market today are solid on the inside and are not hollow. Most are made with two or three pieces of the inner material made of rubber and covered with an elastic material. Wondering if golf balls are hollow is a common question, especially for people just starting their golf journey.
Compared to a hollow core, a solid core made of rubber provides the ball with high impact resistance and elasticity, allowing the ball to return to its original shape with ease.
Golf balls used to have a liquid core in the past, but golf ball manufacturers scratched this in the 1920s. The liquid that used to be inside golf balls was acidic, which would harm curious kids who would cut open golf balls to see what was inside.
How Are Golf Balls Made?
Golf balls are made by taking a rubber core and pressing it between two halves of a golf ball cover. The dimples are then pressed onto the covers based on the manufacturer’s design. These nearly finished golf balls are then painted and stamped with the manufacturer’s logo and golf ball number.
All golf balls begin their journey as nothing more than a bunch of rubber. This type of rubber, pressurized or synthetic, is specific to the needs of the golf ball is made. Golf ball manufacturers typically decide the type of rubber being used based on the traits that it provides.
One thing is certain, the rubber used in golf balls all have qualities that provide for great energy transfer throughout the ball and with enough elasticity to allow the ball to return to its original shape.
Once the core is molded into shape at the exact dimensions required by the manufacturer, it is pressed between the two halves of a golf ball cover. Picking up a golf ball, you may be thinking, “But I can’t even see the line where the two covers meet?”
You wouldn’t be wrong; golf balls appear seamless. If you look closely, you may be able to see that the dimple design typically hides the seam. Since all golf balls are made by pressing together two halves of a cover, there will always be a seam on the golf ball. Some companies, such as Titleist, do a great job hiding this seam with their dimple pattern.
Hopefully, we provided some insight into what is inside a golf ball and the basics of their manufacturing process. If you have any further questions about golf ball types and how they are designed, feel free to leave them below! I would love to look into this process further.
Knowing how a golf ball is made and what is inside can also help you become a better golfer. Visualizing what is happening when you strike a golf ball can help reinforce how important it is to hit the ball right in the center of your golf club.
Whether you are an experienced golfer or just starting, learning more about what makes this game possible is something that even the least curious person has wondered.