Golf Ball History
Historical references of the first golf ball makers point to Holland back in the 15th century. Dutch golf players originally played with wooden golf balls made from elm or beech.
Gradually the Dutch replaced the wooden ball with a white leather ball filled with cow's hair which was used in the local game of kaatsen (hand tennis). The kaatsen ball later inspired the Scots to invent the "feathery" sometime in the 17th or early 18th century as a replacement for the wooden ball that had little aerodynamic or control benefits.
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Historical Timeline Of Golf Ball Evolution
During the latter part of the first decade in the twentieth century, golf ball manufacturers were experimenting with rubber core mesh balls. It was at the beginning of this period that the modern day golf ball came to be.
Early dimple balls offered players greater spin and feel and competitors began designing unique mesh type patterns on golf balls.
There was the Rifled Ball with groves like in the barrel of a gun, raised banana shapes, donut dimples, Stars, Circles, Hexagons and eventually the square mesh ball became standard.
the earliest days of golf on the eastern coast of Scotland, players
used primitive equipment to play the game. The first clubs and balls
specifically made for golf were fashioned from wood. The balls used
were made from hardwoods such as beech that were likely imported
from Holland. These balls were used from the 14th to 17th Century
The Feather Ball: In 1618 the feather golf ball or 'Featherie' was created most likely with inspiration from the Kaatsen Dutch hand ball. The feather ball period was the longest period of stability in the history of the golf ball. The feathery ball period lasted from as early as the 14th Century to as late as the 16th Century and was produced until the early 1850's. Originally these balls were likely to have been filled with wool or hair. Ultimately the contents were changed when it was discovered that the use of feathers would produce a livelier and longer lasting ball golf ball that was preferred over the previous versions.
Feather Ball Construction: Several pieces of stout leather were tightly stitched, leaving a small opening. Boiled and softened feathers were tediously stuffed into the casing before the final stitches were made. The surprisingly hard feather ball was hammered into roundness and coated with several layers of paint.
Gutty Ball: This is where the modern era started, with the feathery
being replaced by the gutty. Gutty-percha is a similar material
to rubber that is made from the dried sap of a tree. The first "Gutta"
ball is believed to have been made in 1848 by the Rev. Dr. Paterson
from gutta-percha packing material. Gutta-percha is the evaporated
milky juice or latex produced from a tree most commonly found in
Malaysia. Gutta balls, were handmade by rolling the softened material
on a board. The new durability of the Gutta, together with its much
lower cost, resistance to water, and improved run, provided rejuvenation
to the game of golf, thus the Gutta gradually replaced the Feathery.
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