Did you know… If you hit a ball that was the exact shape, size and weight as a regular golf ball but was smooth rather than dimpled, it would hardly get off the ground for most amateur golfers, and it would only fly about half as far as a usual for professionals.
This is because the dimples on a golf ball reduce wind resistance so that the ball can travel a lot further, faster and higher. But how do they work? And how many dimples are on each golf ball? Read on to find out all there is to know about these crafty little craters.
How Many Dimples Are On A Golf Ball?
Most golf balls have between 300 and 450 dimples on their surface, but in truth there can be any number of dimples on a golf ball and the number varies from brand to brand.
The optimum number of dimples that a golf ball should have is a hotly debated and vigorously researched matter. Different golfing associations and brands range widely in the dimple patterns they use.
Just the slightest change in dimple shape, size and depth can have a dramatic effect on the ball’s flight pattern and trajectory.
Golf ball dimples are traditionally spherical in shape and about 0.010 of an inch in depth, however some models have hexagonal dimples to increase aerodynamic performance.
What Is Meant By Dimple Pattern?
The term ‘dimple pattern’ refers to the overall arrangement and layout of the dimples on a golf ball. The number of dimples used, and their respective shapes and sizes, all contribute to the finished pattern. The way that these dimples are set out dictates how high, fast and far a ball can travel, and even the most minute alteration can create a completely transformed effect.
Sports scientists and researchers spend hours and hours (and millions of dollars) trying to optimize their golf balls’ dimple pattern to create the best results. In a single dimple pattern there can be uniformity amongst the dimple shape and size, or there can be some carefully considered variation. What is more, a pattern can be tailored to create a desired effect, such as reduced spin or extra elevation. This means that golfers can select specific balls that will assist them in areas of their game where they feel weakest.
How Many Dimples Are On The Most Popular Golf Balls?
Most popular golf ball brands have between 300 and 360 dimples. However, as the number can vary so widely, here is a breakdown of the most popular brands and their dimple stats:
- Titleist ProV1 – 352 dimples
- Titleist Pro V1x – 328 dimples
- Taylormade Tour Response – 322 dimples
- Taylormade TP5X – 332 dimples – as used by the world famous Rory Mcllroy
- Bridgestone Tour XS – 330 dimples – as used by none other than Tiger Woods!
Does Any Golf Ball Have 500 Dimples?
The Ultra 500 golf ball by Wilson Sporting Goods has 500 dimples!
This particular golf ball was designed by a former NASA engineer. The 500 little valleys are arranged in 60 spherical triangles and there are three different dimple sizes, shapes and depths involved in each triangular formation. They are all positioned perfectly to create the most symmetrical and balanced golf ball possible.
What Is The Most Number Of Dimples On A Golf Ball?
The Dimplit 1070 has the highest number of dimples on any commercial golf ball with – you guessed it – 1070 in total. There are 656 small and 414 big dimples arranged over the surface of the ball to help with aerodynamics and lift.
When Were Dimples Introduced?
Early golfers used to play with a smooth ball. After a time they began to realise that the more they used a ball, the further it seemed to go. Players became superstitious about ‘lucky balls’ and would insist on using the same one again and again because it seemed to produce increasingly good results.
However, they eventually realised that the surface of a much used ball was scuffed and dented as a result of the repeated impact from hits and heavy landings.
When they realised that it was those very marks that were improving the ball’s flight, the design of the golf ball was adapted to include circular impressions all over its surface.
What Is The Science Behind The Dimples On Golf Balls?
When a golf ball flies through the air it interacts with the airflow and this dramatically affects the way that it flies.
As a smooth ball travels through the air, wind meets the front of the ball, wraps around it and trails away from the widest part of the sphere. If the ball is smooth, the air passing closest to the surface joins the high-speed air further out and simply slips over the ball.
This leaves a detached air flow in the ball’s wake, which creates a low pressure zone. This low pressure zone is what causes drag, because it acts like a vacuum sucking energy away from the ball’s flightpath and slowing it down.
When dimples are added to the ball’s surface the airflow reacts in a different way.
Instead of slipping smoothly over the sphere, air caught in the dimples creates turbulence and this turbulence interacts with the air flowing closest to the ball’s surface.
Rather than just slipping over the ball like the fast moving outer air, the closest air becomes more attached to the sphere and wraps further around it.
This creates a smaller low pressure zone in the ball’s wake, thus decreasing drag and allowing the ball to fly further and faster through the air.
Dimples also help with lift as a golf ball spins through the air. Lift force relates to something called ‘Bernouli’s law’ which states that: as the speed of the air flow increases, the pressure on the ball decreases. Dimples therefore help golf balls get off the ground and fly higher and faster.