Titleist Deconstructed

Lately I have been feeling guilty as I haven’t had much time for my photography. The past few weeks has been busy with family visiting from Wisconsin for a week, working on a new release of FocalPower, as well as working on a project for a client. It’s not that photography hasn’t been happening during this time, it’s just that I haven’t gotten around to post processing and posting about the photography that I have been doing.

But tonight (actually, last night as I couldn’t sleep and it’s 5am as I type this), my wife and I took a nice leisurely walk with Napoleon through the golf course that we live near. While I have been a golfer since the age of 12–a lucky hole in one during of my first golf outings got me hooked–I have walked this golf course with our dog more often than I have walked it with my clubs. Maybe that’s a good things as tonight my wife found me four lost golf balls for my bag.

Upon closer inspection, we noticed that one of the golf balls had a nice big crack in it. I have never seen a golf ball that cracked clean through the cover before. This got me wondering…what’s the inside of the ball look like?

You know what they say about curious minds…so you shouldn’t be surprised at what a curious photographer does…below is a slide show of this cracked Titleist golf ball deconstructed.

The golf ball consists of the outer dimpled shell, a outer core of weaved rubber bands wrapped around an inner core that is a hollow rubber ball. Most surprising to me was that rubber ball was filled with a brown rather viscous liquid. The purpose I assume is to ensure that the ball can only be compressed so much upon impact with the golf club face.

I know a guy who’s family business it making the golf clubs for almost all the golf club manufacturers. He was explaining once about how there are all these rules and regulations that the PGA has and the final stage of developing any new club (also applies to the balls) is to submit the equipment samples to the PGA for testing. He also has indicated that there is only a couple of companies in the world that actually make the golf balls as well. So I assume that most golf balls are roughly made the same way. Might be an interesting experiment for a rainy day…

2 thoughts

  1. From the friend mentioned…

    Actually there are quite a few golf ball construction techniques now (2 piece, 3 piece, 4 piece, liquid filled, solid core, hollow core, flat bound, round bound, the noodle and the dozens of cover types (the outer shell))…so I expect Greg to be cutting open more balls. The ball segment of this industry sees several hundred patents a year. Every ball is designed for a different kind of player and feels different as you hit them. Which is why people that are good are fiercely loyal to a particular ball. Some guys will donate a package of brand new balls to the driving range field before they would dare use them in play. As for me, I play with balls from our old factory which is now owned by Mizuno.

    So why so many ball patents?

    Simply because balls are the most profitable segment of golf, for the manufacturers and retailers. They sell more balls than clubs, on a dollar basis.

    Callaway, which bought one of our long time customers Spalding, didn’t buy Spalding for Hogan and Topflite golf clubs, but bought the company for its thousand plus golf ball patents and one very nice factory in New England. Which no human touches a single ball until you take it out of the box. It is fun to watch…but then I am a geek.

    [Reply]

  2. Mark,

    I knew you would have something to say on this topic based upon your experience. Considering I almost sliced open my hand trying to expand the crack (which I didn’t have to make) in this one golf ball, I think I’ll take your word on the various construction techniques.

    It’s amazing how much variation there is in one single product. But, having a competitive customer base helps in that fact!

    After seeing how this one example was constructed, I’m not surprised that the construction process is entirely automated…

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Human Test * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.