Understanding Golf Balls
By Michael Hebron, PGA Master Professional, CI
Smithtown Landing CC
Let's imagine for a moment that golf balls could talk -- maybe the following is
how they would make suggestions to the golfers who use them.
Balls have a life of their own. They have thoughts, ideas and feelings. Not long
ago, in a golf ball factory, one ball was telling some of the other balls about a
letter he had just received from a close friend. This friend, a new 90
compression, was sent down south and was happy and excited about working
year around in good weather until he met the golfer he would be working for. His
owner was a very nice person, but did not know the first thing about golf balls or
how the get airborne.
In frustration, the ball went on, "I love to fly and run, but I was without wings or
feet. I have to rely entirely on my owner. My owner, just does not understand
me. The poor man does not understand the dynamics of compression and
The golf ball continued, "These are a few of the things I wish my owner would
realize about golf balls:
• I am compressible, like a soft cushion being kicked across a lawn, and I move
myself off the clubface if I am compressed, like a basketball jumps off the floor.
• I only begin to move in the air after having become fully compressed. My
owner should practice kicking a cushion. Then he would learn something about
impact and propulsion by percussion. My owner just beats me like a rug. He
does not see the difference between beating rug and propelling a cushion
(kicking it) through the air. He does not have the right feeling.
• Next, to make me fly really fast, the clubface should still feel as if it is gaining
speed during the 1/5000ths of a second in which I am fully compressed.
My owner feels that maximum club face speed should occur at, or just before,
impact. He therefore plans accordingly. Yet, if he wants a really long ball, he
must feel as if maximum speed is about 45 degrees after impact (in an attempt
to counteract the deceleration of the clubhead caused by the weight of the ball
Moreover, as a practical man, he argues that what happens to a club after
impact cannot possibly matter, and that therefore, all theories about a through-
swing must be nonsense and merely a waste of effort. In this respect, I wish he
would realize that the ball normally slows down his clubhead speed by some 20
percent, and he should try planning a through-swing. Of course this requires
quite a different mindset from that of a swing without a through-swing finish."
While the ball was a little disappointed his owner did not know the ways of a golf
ball, he was happy working in the South. He said he hoped someday to find his
way into the bag of a good golfer where he could work with a sound swing.
If your golf ball is giving you the feeling that it is rebelling, maybe it is time to
learn a little more about what makes it fly.
Copyright Michael Hebron, 2008, all rights reservedback to top