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Ever wonder how golf balls are made? The process of how golf balls are made is quite complicated. You will see that there are many steps involved in the whole process.
Some categories of how golf balls are made come down to one step, while others are made using several different steps. So we narrowed down the entire process of how golf balls are made from how the very first golf ball was created to how golf balls are made now.
Brief Golf Ball History
In ancient years, golf was played with a feather and a leather ball. Eventually, the feather was replaced with goose quills when it became apparent that feathers were not as durable.
The smoothness of the goose quills was found to be an advantage over the feathers because they did not produce any drag on the clubhead. The first manufacturer of golf balls was Coburn Haskell in 1898. He made a rubber golf ball which he called “Haskell” golf balls.
Essential Raw Materials Used In How Golf Balls Are Made
How golf balls are made that we use today are quite different from the first ones invented and used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Golf balls even looked completely different back then! They were made of feathers and leather instead of hard rubber and polyurethane.
The difference between how golf balls are made then and now is that now they have a solid core of hard rubber that has been compressed with an ionomer, producing a ball capable of traveling much farther than its leather counterparts.
The basic raw materials used how golf balls are made include:
- Various metals
The Role Of Surlyn
Surlyn is a material used in the manufacture of golf balls that were originally used to provide protection for glass-reinforced plastics.
This plastic was first produced after it was discovered that poly(ethylene terephthalate), which is used in many household products, including cereal boxes, could be modified by adding another type of resin called phenolic resin.
This resulted in the production of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, which had many different uses, including thread seals on oil wells and wire coating.
By adding more resins to this plastic, the properties began to change so that it was flexible enough to be used in the process of how golf balls are made. Surlyn was first used in the manufacture of golf balls sometime during the 1960s.
Since this material is much easier to mold than polyurethane resin, more companies began using it as their primary cover material.
Parts Of A Golf Ball
The physical makeup of how golf balls are made is to make them highly durable and capable of traveling over great distances. They have a solid core, mantle, and outer cover, which provides the balls with the specific characteristics that they have today.
The inner core is the softest part of the ball and is made up of a material called Surlyn. It makes up about 40% of the ball.
The harder outer core makes up about 25% of the total weight and is made out of an ionomer called Surlyn, which is manufactured by DuPont.
The ionomer used in golf balls today has been known to make the golf balls more durable as well as increase their distance off the tee by about 10%.
The mantle, which makes up about 15% of the total weight, has a hardness that ranges between 55 and 95 on the Shore scale in measure for hardness.
This allows the ball to be hit farther without losing any spin. It is also known as an ionomer. The outer cover, which makes up about 5% of the total weight, allows a better grip on the clubhead. It is made out of polyurethane material.
The Manufacturing Of Golf Balls
The process of how golf balls are made is not easy or cheap.
The first step on how golf balls are made starts with the production of the core for the golf ball. Using a pressurized mold, they take a rubber mixture and fill it with silica pellets forming the core. This mix is then injected into an extremely hot press which compresses and flattens it causing it to become extremely hard when cooled down. This is then cut and shipped off to different factories.
The mantle for the golf ball is created in the same way as the core. They take a mixture of Surlyn, which is DuPont’s trademark name for ionomer, and heat it.
The heated mixture then goes through a pressurized die which forms it into a sheet about 1/8th of an inch thick. This sheet is then cut to specs for each individual golf ball manufacturer.
The rubber in this process makes up about 40% of the total weight of the core (which includes cover), so it must be compressed at very high pressure so that they do not spring back to their original shape when released from pressure (also known as reversion).
The outer cover is manufactured in a similar manner to the mantle. The outer cover requires quite a bit more pressure to be placed on it in order to achieve its desired shape.
This is due to the fact that the hardness of the material is very close to that of a golf ball’s core, so it must also be forced into its shape by pressure.
There are two manufacturing processes used to create the cover of golf balls: thermoset resin injection molding and thermoplastic injection molding. The process used for golf balls depends on their cover material. There are two types of covers, Surlyn and polyurethane resin.
Thermoset resin injection molding:
In this process, the raw materials (rubber, plastic resin, and plasticizer) are added to a blender. The blender is then used to mix the ingredients thoroughly and evenly.
The blended material is then heated up until it reaches a temperature of between 150 to 170 degrees Celsius. Once it reaches the right temperature, it is injected into an injection molding machine which helps spread out the material, taking its shape as well as molding it into the perfect golf ball.
Thermoplastic injection molding:
In this process of how golf balls are made, a single type of material is added to the molding machine. This material is heated up to about 100 degrees Celsius and then injected into the molding machine. The molding machine then takes the shape of the material and cools it quickly so that it becomes hard.
The finished product is then sent through quality control tests, put in packaging, and shipped off to various locations around the world to be used for play.
The last step of how golf balls are made occurs when these three components are blended together. They are then rolled and mixed together until all of the components are evenly spread out and mixed.
They then put them in an oven, which heats them up at high temperatures, causing them to become hot and sticky. They then put them into a mold where they are pressed together and cooled off.
The golf balls come out of the molds at a temperature of around 60 C and are then shipped to manufacturers all around the world.
The manufacturing process has changed many times since its inception, but the core of making golf balls has remained consistent.
The production of a golf ball is done in two steps: one for rubber and plastic components and the other for polyurethane components. After that, the two parts are assembled in different machines.
Other by-products of golf ball manufacturing are recycled, contributing to a world “green” outlook and zero-landfill achievement.
Around 4 million new golf balls are made each year worldwide, and it has been estimated that around 200 million used ones are discarded annually. Most of these discarded balls end up in landfills, where they take up to 1000 years to degrade.
Ever wonder how golf balls are made (Titleist)? Check this video out:
Golf Ball Recycling
The recycled golf balls are sorted by material type and color and then cleaned before they are ready for assembly. The empty centers are filled with new material; they usually use recycled plastic.
The golf balls may be painted again or covered with another layer of paint or a coating designed to make them last longer. The recycled balls are tested for quality and consistency before they are shipped to stores.
In 2014, the average number of rounds played in a golf season in the U.S. was 19, according to the National Golf Foundation.
In a typical season, a golfer might use 12 new balls and seven recycled ones. So if someone were to play 20 rounds of golf that year, they would be responsible for throwing away 180 balls and only using 82 recycled ones.
That’s almost three times as many new balls as recycled ones being thrown away (for every three good old balls recycled, there are seven new ones).
The Differences Between Golf Balls
The main difference between golf balls comes from the materials used in how golf balls are made.
One of them is the different dimple patterns. There are many different types of dimple patterns, and they all have their own unique purpose. One way you can tell how a golf ball will perform is by paying attention to the pattern. More dimples tend to mean a higher flight golf ball because there are more drag forces acting on the ball.
Manufacturers also add chemical coatings to their golf balls so that they can provide them with certain characteristics, such as control, distance, spin rate, etc.
Another difference is the surface of the golf balls. The surface can be dimpled or smooth, and this has a huge effect on how the ball will perform.
So there you have it. That is how golf balls are made!
There is no doubt that recycled golf balls are a good thing. And you can also appreciate now that they are not the only environmentally friendly golf ball around.
You can always buy them used too. But if you plan to play 20 rounds or more in a season, you might want to buy in bulk and save a few bucks.
After all, if you pay less than 20 rounds of golf per season, what’s the point of spending extra cash on recycled ones? If you do, though, Amazon is one of the best places to find them (and usually for half price).Suppose you want to learn about choosing the perfect golf ball for you. Check this out.