Have you ever gotten around to counting how many dimples on a golf ball? Or bothered to look into why they are there in the first place? While this might seem like a purposeless detail, it is, in fact, quite the opposite and plays an important role in determining how well your ball will fly.
The number of dimples on a golf ball determines how much spin, trajectory, and flight you get from your shot.
Today, we will be looking into the number of dimples an average golf ball can have and why they matter so much. By understanding this you will be able to improve your game by choosing the right type of balls for your needs.
How Many Dimples on a Golf Ball?
There are 300 to 500 dimples on an average golf ball, with an average depth of .01 inches. We calculated that the average number of dimples for the top 10 selling golf balls in the US is 342 dimples per average regulation golf ball.
Dimple numbers, the dimple pattern and their depth significantly affect how the ball acts in flight.
This chart showcases the number of dimples on some of the leading golf balls:
|Golf Ball||Number Of Dimples|
|Titleist Pro V1||388|
|Srixon Soft Feel||338|
|Titleist Tour Soft||346|
As the chart above illustrates, the softer, lower compression golf balls typically have less dimples and the harder, higher compression golf balls have more dimples in their design.
Therefore, once you take the shot, the ball’s behavior starting from the lift, drag, and backspin will be determined by the number of dimples it has.
Even the slightest bit of change in the dimple number or depth can disproportionately change the golf ball’s aerodynamics. And so, it takes a lot of precision from each golf ball manufacturer to get this right.
A dimple count of 336 will give you the best aerodynamic performance while a dimple count of 400 will give you the least amount of drag and spin and is better suited to golfers with faster swing speeds. Therefore, golf balls for distance will have a higher dimple count and balls for novices will have a lower count of dimples.
Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples & What Are They For?
Let’s be clear that the dimples aren’t just for aesthetics and there are important reasons why golf balls have dimples.
In fact, the first golf balls ever made were smooth spheres! It is only after a while golfers noticed the rough cuts on the ball surface made for much better performance. The smooth surface of the ball would cause it to act unpredictably in the air and make it hard to control. With the 0.01-inch-deep golf ball dimples, the drag is cut down significantly.
That is because the dimples cause the air to create a layer on the ball, which helps it travel smoother. As the air is spread over a larger surface area, the golf ball can rise higher and carry its overall golf ball weight over a longer distance which leads to more power and accuracy.
With better aerodynamics and a change in how they are made, a golf ball with shallow dimples will be more consistent than a smooth ball. It will also be easier to hit and less likely to hook or slice.
Key Takeaway: The drag cut down that is caused by the deep dimples on a ball makes the ball easier to control and enhance performance.
What Is the Impact of Golf Ball With A Dimple Pattern on Ball Flight?
Golf balls with a dimple design have a noticeable impact on the speed, distance traveled, and angle of your shots.
It allows players to use shot variations and control the direction and angle of the golf ball such as hitting a draw or fade with their shots.
If we look specifically into ball flight, the dimples give the ball a more controllable ball flight. The layer of air surrounding the ball reduces the drag and allows the ball to travel greater distances.
Below, we’ll talk about the benefits in detail:
Smooth Ball Flight
Golf balls with dimples can generate more upward force to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Once you’ve hit the ball with your golf club, the forces of gravity begin taking it in one direction.
The dimples channel the air on the top of the golf ball faster than the bottom to create lift. This force is what increases the ball’s trajectory.
Easier to Aim
In the 1800s, early golf balls were made with smooth surfaces (this was known as the ‘gutty ball’ period); it was hard to control them with shot variations.
That was because the smoothness of the ball’s surface would be manipulated more by the wind direction and less by the player’s skills.
Once the dimples were added, players could change up their techniques based on the target distances.
This made the game more competitive and dependent on a player’s skill rather than luck.
The standard 336 dimple count ensures you can get the maximum distance from your shots.
This is the number scientists deemed to be the most optimized balance between drag and flight.
However, any ball with a dimple count between 300 to 400 is good enough to perform well at any level for recreational players.
As mentioned before, smooth golf balls have increased drag force acting on them from all directions. The increased drag forces create an effect of high air pressure and slow the ball down. The addition of dimples omits that problem by creating a thin turbulent boundary layer around the ball.
The dimple pattern on a golf ball has a significant impact on its flight. The dimples create lift, which forces the ball upwards. This is due to the science of Bernoulli’s principle, which states that when an object moves through a fluid (such as air), the fluid exerts less pressure on the object if the object is moving faster. The dimples on a golf ball create turbulence in the air around the ball, which causes the ball to move faster and experience less air resistance. This results in extra loft and distance.
Key Takeaway: From more distance and loft, to the improved aerodynamics for better control and consistency, the deeper you look into the science behind a dimple designed golf ball, the more advantages you see from it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have Golf Balls Always Had Dimples?
Golf balls have not always had dimples. The first golf balls were smooth and were commonly used in the 1800s. They were made out of rubber and covered with leather making them leather balls.
When Did Golf Balls Get Dimples?
The patented design for dimpled golf balls was in 1905 by William Taylor. This paved the way for modern golf balls and helped make the sport popular worldwide as it helped the standard of play to increase.
How Big Are Dimples On Golf Balls?
Dimpled golf balls are shallow. A golf ball with indentations will be 0.01 inches.
Do Dimples On A Golf Ball Make It Fly Farther?
Golf balls with a dimpled design will travel farther than other types of golf balls. Not only that but the aerodynamic benefits play a contributing role in ensuring a more consistent ball flight for both accuracy and distance.
In Summary: How Many Dimples Are On A Regulation Golf Ball?
Scientists determined that the optimal number of dimples are between 300-400 to have an effect on drag and lift force which will allow them to perform well at any level for recreational players.
Dimpled balls with shallow depth create more upward force than smooth balls which were the kind of golf balls that were originally used. Newer designs allow you to hit the ball longer distances and prevent common issues to make golf shots much more forgiving.
By understanding how many dimples are on a golf ball, you’ll be able to take full advantage of their impact and tailor your golf ball selection and comparison to your preferences.