Golf balls have hundreds of indentations on their surface. This is not just for display, but the indentations on the surface of the object serve a purpose.
Reporting from the Mental Floss page, Sunday (9/19/21), it turns out that hundreds of indentations on the surface of a golf ball facilitate aerodynamic optimization, or the ball’s ability to travel longer distances by influencing the lift and drag of an object in the air.
According to Scientific American, a ball that has hundreds of indentations on its surface will travel twice as far as a smooth ball.
Hundreds of indentations on the surface of the ball create an air barrier around the ball, reducing airflow and drag. It also acts as a turbulator, inducing turbulence in the layer around the ball, which is why a ball with hundreds of indentations on its surface moves twice as fast.
The design also contributes to the object’s lift, with approximately half of the lift being the result of the ball spinning and the other half being the result of optimizing lift from hundreds of indentations. The overall result is that air flows more smoothly around the ball, with the air in front of it moving faster.
Hundreds of Curves on a Golf Ball
The curve of the golf ball essentially triggers a perfect aerodynamic sandwich, with the higher pressure behind it propelling the ball forward and the reduced pressure in front allowing the air to move faster.
The depth of the indentation can also make a big difference. A typical golf ball has 300 to 500 indentations, with an average depth of 0.010 inches.
Most golf ball curves are round, although some companies have adopted a hexagon shape to reduce drag even further. However, golf balls don’t always have curves.
Amateur players initially use the smooth ball, but the more the ball is scratched and damaged, the more it realizes the farther the ball moves.
In the case of golf balls, form follows function.