Why do golf balls have those little dimples?
The dimples found on golf ball enable the ball to travel farther than
one without dimples. Today's dimpled golf balls can easily sail two hundred
yards from the tee. A smooth one, with no dimples but hit the same way,
would only go about fifty yards! Golfers discovered this about a hundred
years ago, when they noticed their old balls, covered with scratches and
nicks, sailed farther down the fairway than shiny new ones.
||Early dimpled golf balls.|
Rough balls fly through the air more easily than smooth ones. As air flows
around a smooth ball, it breaks away from the surface, forming a pocket
of swirling currents at the back, like the wake behind a speedboat. This
wake creates "drag" on the ball, slowing it down. The faster the
ball moves, the larger the wake, and the more drag it feels.
The ball on the left (below) is smooth; the one on the right has a wire
hoop around it, simulating a rough surface.
||Images from the Sporting Life.|