Ever look at at golf ball and try to count the dimples? Of course not, there are too many to count by hand! However, different golf balls do have different numbers of dimples in them. Not only that, the dimples can have a strong impact on your shot’s flight path. So, how many dimples are on a golf ball from any given manufacturer, and how do they affect your stroke?
While golf balls are very specifically cut to 1.68 inches in diameter, the dimples themselves aren’t regulated. After all, there are only so many ways to arrange them that result in the perfect spherical shape a ball needs. One of the most common dimple counts floating around is 336. However, in recent years, variations anywhere between 300 – 400 have become more common.
Why Dimples Matter
It’s science- that’s all! If a golf ball were completely smooth around its surface, it would go about half as far as a dimpled ball hit by the same pro player. Even tiny indents on the ball (.0001in) greatly improve the ball’s lift and drag in the air.
Consider this, too. As air passes around the surface of a flying object, it exits the surface in the back and creates a violent and unruly downstream. This reduces the air pressure behind the ball, which limits the ball’s forward motion. The dimples allow for a small layer of air to become “trapped” around the surface of the ball, directing the downstream airflow around this smooth layer and disperse more evenly and less turbulently. Then, the power behind your shot can carry the ball much farther.
Picking the Right Ball
While you might be familiar with how golf balls are designed and how dimples work, you aren’t necessarily going to be out there carefully measuring and counting the dimples on each ball. Fortunately, relevant information about the ball is often available right on the packaging, or somewhere on the manufacturer’s website.
It’s common for these companies to market their golf balls based on the distances and flight paths that they can achieve. Oftentimes, they’ll even include charts and diagrams to help you understand their products. There are so many different approaches to dimpling a golf ball, and one popular line of of balls even uses hexagonal dimples instead of round ones.
If you can’t find the exact specifications you’re looking for, you can always reach out to the manufacturer directly to try to get an answer. Golfers at your club’s pro shop, may be able to help, too.
Have you experimented with different dimple counts on your golf balls? Drop us a comment to let us know how they helped (or hurt) your game!