Early golf balls were made by stuffing feathers into leather sacks or made from latex from the gutta-percha tree. However, things have changed a great deal since then as golf is an $84 billion industry, and the technology behind what golf balls are made out of is unrecognizable from the days of stuffing feathers into leather sacks.
Modern balls start as a block of rubber that forms a solid core, the core is covered with three layers of either plastic or a thermoplastic resin called Surlyn, or urethane. The materials are put into a machine and brought to a press and molded together and printed with a specific dimple pattern.
It really is incredible how much is spent on research and development for the typical golf ball, keep reading and I will explain how a golf ball is made and all the processes a ball goes through before it makes it to the tee, it’s really interesting.
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How Is A Golf Ball Made?
How Is The Middle Of A Golf Ball Made?
The middle of a golf ball is made out of a rubber core which is added with pellets that change the compression of the core and helps cure the product. After a colored dye is added which changes depending on the color of the brand.
How A Golf Ball Is Made
1.The Rubber Core Of A Golf Ball
The middle of a golf ball drives how much spin will be generated, and will greatly change how a golf ball feels for a player.
The rubber mesh is placed in an industrial rolling machine (1:42 in the video), which is added with pellets of a special material that will change the compression of the core and help cure the product. This pellet material changes depending on the golf company as it’s a company secret.
If you don’t know curing is a process during which a chemical reaction such as polymerization for golf balls resulting in a harder, tougher substance, this is necessary for golf balls are they are designed to be struck at force repeatedly whilst still lasting strong at around five years, to see when you should throw out your golf balls check out my article.
After a colored dye pellet is added that changes the color of the core depending on its unique brand.ProV1s pellets are black, but depending on the intended color of the golf ball the color pellet will change. To see why you should consider using yellow golf balls check out my article, they make it so much easier to track your ball.
Creating the core of the golf ball will take around 10-15 minutes.
2.The Colouring Of The Core
The rubber mesh is rolled onto a table where it is cut into shapes, these shapes are placed into a machine press that forms the sphere of the core, by using the heat to react with the peroxide of the ball.
You can see the colouring of the core in action at 3:34 of the above video.
3.Creating The Golf Ball Layers
A golf ball typically has three mantle layers, squashed between a high-speed core and a soft urethane cover. Each mantle layer reacts differently to shots and swing speed to produce the best performance possible. To see how you can get the best performance in the driving range take a look at my post.
The first layer is made with a material that is strong but flexible with specific modules that are designed to increase the speed of the core in ball-flight. Typically this is urethane or a material called Surlyn. Surlyn balls usually spin less than those made from urethane
The third layer is made out of stiff material than the first but it still needs to be strong.
The fourth layer just inside the cover is a stiff material called HFM(High-Flex Material) with a high module resin to increase speed.
Materials are then loaded into a retractable pin injection molding machine, the machine has pins that hold the golf ball layers inside the cavity. The machine closes the material into the cavity, as then the material wraps around the core which retracts the pin.
The entire process takes 1 second to see it in action go to 5:03 in the above video.
4.The Grinding Of The Layers
Each material layer is grounded into an almost perfect sphere, then the material is injected where it is molded by diamond-coated grinders.
The type and size of these grinders will vary a lot, you can see TaylorMade’s factory process at 7:35 in the above video
5.The Painting Of The Golf Ball
This depends on the factory but for TaylorMade, the golf balls will be a machine with a conveyor belt where a machine will paint the golf balls. Typically two costs of pain are applied to the ball, which each ball sitting on two posts that spins so the pain is applied evenly.
Spray guns are controlled by machines to remove human error, lastly, the ball is stamped with a logo and the last step of the production is a clear coat for high sheen and scuff resistance.
After the paint is applied the balls are loaded into containers and placed into large dryers, after driving. the balls are ready for packaging in boxes and other containers. Although top-of-the-line golf ball companies like TaylorMade have one final process before distribution.
You can see the painting process at 8:17 in the TaylorMade video.
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6. The Aerodynamic Research Lab
It’s here where you see how much money is put into golf balls. You can see the crazy money TaylorMade has in their Aerodynamic Research lab at 8:27 in the above video.
Every golf ball will have a characterization of the golf ball dimples to qualify each cavity pair that is used, as they are all different depending on the ball, this means they have to find out how the dimples will affect the ball flight as each dimple type will affect the ball differently.
They use a machine to launch a golf ball in a testing area, for example, the ball will be launched at 12 degrees at 60mph with a 3000 RPN, this machine can models ball flight from drivers to wedges and it always will be 100% consistent unlike a golfer who’s swing will be 100% consistent. This way they can get perfect readings for how a golf ball will perform on the course
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