Did You Know?
Before 1850 golf balls were made of leather and were stuffed with feathers
The common golf ball has undergone many upgrades and enhancements throughout its long life. With the first recognizable form of the game of golf being played in Scotland in the early 1400's, the golf ball has had nearly 600 years to evolve.
The evolution of the golf ball highlights the major changes in the game of golf and depicts important golf landmarks during the long evolution of the game. The development of the golf club, the golf course, and the rules of the game were affected by the evolution of the golf ball itself. The balance (and debate) between technology and tradition is as old as the game of golf itself. One can even argue that when it comes to golf, yesterday’s technologies are today’s traditions.
Today, 50 million golfers worldwide play 900 million rounds on some 25,000 golf courses each and every year. Clearly, the game of golf has become incredibly popular, and the resulting industry is big business.
Four Stages in the Evolution of the Golf Ball
Although it is likely that the very first golf balls were nothing more than round rocks or pebbles, there are four distinctly recognizable stages in the evolution of the golf ball:
- Wooden Golf Balls
- Feathery Golf Balls (Feather Stuffed Leather Covered Golf Balls)
- Gutty Golf Balls
- Rubber Core Golf Balls
It wasn't until 1848 that Rev. Dr. Robert Adams began creating golf balls out of Gutta Percha "Gutty". The Gutty golf ball was created from the dried sap of the Sapodilla tree. It had a rubber-like feel and was formed into ball shapes by heating it up and shaping it while hot.