Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?
Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?
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Just look at a golf ball. It has such a nice and smooth surface with many little cavities all over. If you are interested – why there are dimples on golf bars and what do they mean, the following guide will give a few highlights about their purpose. But, at first, let’s start with the explanation of a golf bar’s structure.

The core of a golf ball

Despite the small size and weight, golf balls have a complex structure. They consist of:

  • the core;
  • intermediate layers;
  • thin plastic outer shells with cavities called dimples;

The cores are usually made of rubber. The intermediate layers consist of special mixtures of polymeric materials (polyurethane). Frequently manufacturers alter the composition of the layers and levels of compression to change the aerodynamic characteristics of golf balls. 

Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

To play golf in different weather conditions, manufacturers produce colored balls (yellow, blue and pink).

Types of golf balls depending on the number of layers: 

Golf balls can have 2, 3, 4 or 5 layers wrapped around the core. In the simplest 2-layer construction, the core consists of dense polyurethane foam. The shell of the ball is made of urethane (a type of plastic). What means the number of layers around the ball’s core: 

  • Single-layer. The cheapest balls consist of a single core and one outer shell. They are designed for training in the initial stages. The range and flight speed are minimal;
  • Two-layer balls are quite versatile and affordable so most novices buy them;
  • Multilayer balls (3-5 layers). Such balls are used by professionals to perform long, rolling and twisted punches. They may cost a lot – up to $50 per a dozen of balls;

Balls with more than 2 layers are designed for professional golfers players. In 3, 4 and 5-layer balls, the core is usually made of rubber, and the intermediate layers are made of complex compounds to perform the twisted punches. Experienced golfers use spin in almost every hit. You can use the reverse twist so that the ball rolls back after the fall or sides – for example when it “goes around” a tree standing in the way in flight, etc.

The manufacture of multi-layer golf balls that meet the requirements of the PGA standards is a complex process consisting of 80 stages and 30 control measurements. It takes a month to produce one batch (12 balls). That is why their cost is higher. Single and double layer balls are made in a much faster and easier way.

The shell of the golf ball matters a lot!

The outer surface of the golf ball has a large number of dimples made for a reason. The dimples help the ball fly exactly in the direction a golfer intends. Also, the dimples on a golf ball increase the range and speed of flight.

Manufacturers produce golf balls with a different number of dimples. The more of them, the better.

How many dimples are on golf balls?

The shell of all golf balls has a large number of dimples. Such dimples on a golf ball help to achieve a straight trajectory when the ball flies (without “wobbles”). The number of dimples can be completely different for the balls made by different U.S. and European manufacturers – for example, 324, 328, 344, 368, 428, etc. Every manufacturer who is licensed to produce golf balls can slightly change the number of dimples. But, usually, a golf ball has from 350 to 400 dimples. These small semi-holes are symmetrically located all over the ball.

How To Compress The Golf Ball Image

Compared to the smooth balls, balls with 300-400 dimples fly four times faster. The major aerodynamics laws that affect the ball during a flight are lift and drag. Most of the blow is performed with a twist, which gives them the opportunity to rise even higher.

Due to the rotation, the upper layer of air accelerates and the lower layer slows down and the pressure on the lower part of the ball increases. In such a way, the additional lifting force is produced. In this process, compression again contributes to a smoother ball flow around the air and, therefore, enhances the effect. The number of dimples to a golf ball must be balanced – too many of them will make the ball smoother, while less than 300 dimples make the ball too slow. 

If you hit a smooth golf ball and a golf ball with dimples with the same force, then the ball with dimples will fly away 250 yards, and the smooth one – only 125 yards. In addition, the dimples on a golf ball provide a straight trajectory and can fly directly to the hole.

How to hit a hybrid golf club

Explanation of digits on golf balls

  1. The identification number – is printed right under the brand name of the manufacturer of golf balls. This number is likely to be 1, 2, 3, or 4 (from 0 to 9). Some professional golfers ask the manufacturers to produce “lucky” balls especially for them – such balls may have 2 digits in the ID number. What does this ID mean? Nothing. These single digits simply exist for identification purposes.

These numbers are usually in black color, but sometimes they are red. A few decades ago, the red number indicated the golf ball with a low degree of compression. Right now it is not like this. Red, black colors do not indicate anything special.

  1. 300-400 numbers – a 3-digit number that shows how many dimples on the golf ball were made. However, this number does not really give a golfer any idea of ​​the performance or quality of golf balls. But some manufacturers love to show off their dimpled designs, so some of them include the number of balls.
  2. A compression ratio. The rate of 70 or 80 on the golf ball was considered an indicator that the ball is used by female golfers. A compression ratio of 110 meant that you had to swing very hard to make this ball fly properly.

Final thoughts

Now you know what golf balls can fly faster and why there are so many dimples on golf balls. In this case, you should pay attention to 2-digit and 3-digit numbers printed on balls. The more dimples on golf balls, the better. Though, beginners can buy cheaper 2-layer golf balls with 300 dimples for practicing. Make sure to invest in high-quality golf clubs and balls even if you do the first steps in this great game.


Hello, my name is Mike and I’m a golf player from New York. I have a lot of friends and I like to play with them. This site created to help people who started to play golf recently.

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