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Thursday, May 28, 2020

A 100-Year-Old Golf Ball Lesson (Video)

Yes, I found another Rick Shiels video that I love. Rick found an unused 1920 Spalding KroFlite golf ball on eBay for £50, took it out and compared it to a Pro V1, then cut it open to see how it looked. Here's a good opportunity to learn a little about how golf balls have changed over the last century.

Just a couple of observations:
  • I suspect that the effect of the wind that Rick noticed was also partially due to the core being a bit off-center. We take balanced golf balls for granted these days but the technology to make them -- and make them consistently -- is still a relatively recent innovation. Notice how the ball wanders when he's putting at the beginning. That ball isn't tracking the same each time!
  • The ball is softer in part because it was designed for use with woods and (at that time) irons that often didn't have very deep (if any) grooves. But age probably has something to do with it as well. Bear in mind that manufacturers were experimenting with all kinds of materials in the early part of the 20th Century. Do you see the dark spots in the core when Rick cuts it open? Those are either impurities or (more likely) air bubbles, although I don't know if that's a manufacturing flaw or just age causing a breakdown in the core material.
Modern golf balls are a wonder, folks. Hopefully this video gives you an appreciation for just how good even the cheapest 2020 balls are.

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