The Evolution of the Golf Ball

The Evolution of the Golf Ball
The Evolution of the Golf Ball

Golf balls are hard. They can cause some serious injuries when they hit you. This is one of the reasons why people go to caddies when they move across golf courses. However the golf ball wasn’t always as hard as it is in the modern age. In fact, when it comes to golf, there are many versions, and each was played in different countries and at different times in history. Not only was the game changed in ancient times, but the equipment used to play the sport was different as well. The golf clubs and balls weren’t as developed as they are today, and were based on the most available materials that they could use during that time. Some of the materials used in creating olden days golf clubs and golf balls include copious amounts of wood, leather, gum and sometimes even straw.

In the olden days, there were only certain types of golf balls available for playing golf. They include the Wooden ball, the Hairy ball, the Feathery ball, the Gutty ball and the Haskell ball, which is the closest to the more commonly used ball in the modern age. Golf, as a sport, has been referred to as a stick and ball game for many centuries. This not only makes the golf club seem to be the most critical aspect of the game, however, in reality, but it is also the development and the history of the golf ball that makes the game fun to participate in. This is because of the different types of golf balls refer to different experiences and also signify the rise in technology.

The Hairy Ball
The Hairy Ball

The Hairy Ball

Thought to be originated from the Romans, the hairy ball was a type of golf ball that was imported from the Netherlands from between 1486 and 1618. The Romans originally made the ball so that they were handstitched using leather and were filled and stuffed with hair. However, there are no records whatsoever that the ball, also called the ‘Harpastum’ was actually used in any sort of game nor sport. Records of leather-made balls in Scotland showed that the type of construction used to create these pieces of equipment already existed during the earliest stages of golf. The hairy ball was a golf ball that was more commonly used when playing on ice. Considered to be considerably more controllable than the earliest wooden ball it was initially estimated that the ball could be hit up to 150 meters.

The Feathery ball

As the most famous ball in the history of all golf, the feathery ball is exactly as the name suggests. However, instead of being filled with hair like its predecessor the hairy ball, this ball was stuffed with feathers. The manufacturing process behind this ball is complex and requires much practice. The ball is first stitched using three pieces of leather, which is then turned inside out to reveal a quarter-inch slit. The ball is then stuffed with feathers using a “Brogue”. Before beginning the stuffing of the ball, the leather and the feathers are first dampened or boiled, which makes the leather expand and the feathers shrink. So when the ball is stuffed with feathers, the maker can use more than hats worth of feathers. When the ball dries, the leather shrinks and the feathers expand, which makes the ball firmer and more suitable to play with.