With the game of golf first being played in Scotland in the early 1400's, the common golf ball has had nearly 600 years to evolve.
Golf ball construction has undergone many upgrades and enhancements throughout the history of the game.
Basic Golf Ball Structure and the Two Main Types of Golf Balls
Golf ball structures have two basic categories: wound golf balls and the solid golf ball which made its appearance in the 1980s.
Ever since Bridgestone introduced the popular two-piece Altus golf ball back in Japan back in 1982, solid balls have achieved rapid penetration. Solid golf ball structure is now at the peak of its popularity, accounting for 95 percent of all golf balls sold in the Japanese market.
Solid vs. Wound Golf Ball Construction
Wound golf ball structure is derived from the Hasket ball, invented in 1898. Solid golf ball structure has evolved from the one-piece modern day golf ball that was first invented in 1966. Until recently, the general opinion among golfers has been that solid balls produced a hard feel upon impact, and that they had poor spin control.
Golf balls have clearly evolved and are being improved in ways that increasingly meet the needs of today's golfer.
Wound Golf Balls
Wound golf balls are golf balls in which rubber thread is wound around one of two kinds of cores: a liquid center, where the core is liquid-filled; or a solid center, in which the core is made of synthetic rubber.
Wound golf balls are then wrapped in either a balata or surlyn cover. The Wound golf balls characteristics differ depending on the way in which the materials for the center and cover are combined. Generally speaking, wound golf balls excel in spin performance, but fall short in terms of distance and durability. They are also sensitive to temperatures, losing distance as temperatures fall (below 20°C).
One Piece Golf Ball Design
One piece golf balls are golf balls made of a single, high-restitution synthetic rubber. Because one piece golf balls deform to a large degree at impact, they lose a great deal of the energy required for carry and consequently offer less distance than golf balls built with different design structures.
Because one piece golf balls are extremely durable and economical, they continue to be manufactured today, primarily for driving-range use.
Two Piece Golf Ball Design
Two piece golf balls are dual-structure golf balls in which a high-restitution core is wrapped in a cover.
This two piece golf ball configuration enables the energy at impact to be transferred efficiently to the ball in flight. Because the cover itself is made of a high-restitution material, these balls generate excellent distance.
Multi-layer Golf Ball Construction
Multi layer golf balls are golf balls in which the core material is wrapped in multiple covers. As a result of the latest advances in technology, manufacturers are have the flexibly to combine materials, degrees of hardness, specific gravity, and so on -- in ways that enhance a variety of performance features.
Three Piece Golf Ball Construction
3-piece golf balls (aka Multi-Layer Balls) are usually made of a large synthetic core, a thin mantel and a coat.
For optimized weight centering some manufacturers use Tungsten-weights in the centre of the synthetic core. A golf ball which is compressed more on the clubface, as most wound balls are, will not slide up the face as much. Because of the ball's greater deformation, the reshaping process is more dynamic and the ball has a flatter take-off angle, a higher rate of rotation, more lift and therefore a higher trajectory.
Multi layer golf balls are golf balls in which the core material is wrapped in multiple covers. As a result of the latest advances in technology, manufacturers are now afforded the flexibly to combine materials, degrees of hardness, specific gravity, and so on, in ways that enhance a variety of performance features.
One result of this advancement in three piece and multi-layer golf ball technology has been such path-breaking achievements as the manufacturing of golf balls that can compensate for slightly missed hits.
A three-piece golf ball is more inclined to spin sideways than a 2-piece ball.
Four Piece Golf Ball Construction
4-piece golf balls (aka Multi-Layer Balls) have a small inner core surrounded by the actual core (synonymous with the 3-piece ball design).
This inner core is surrounded by a thin inner mantel which transmits the relevant distance characteristics from the coat to the core and is thus responsible for that special Balata-feeling.