Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

dimpled golf ball

Ever wondered why golf balls have dimples? It’s not just because it makes them look more interesting. The reason behind their dimpled design is actually all to do with aerodynamics.

Read on to find out how dimpled golf balls came to be, and how they affect the game.


Why are there dimples on golf balls?

Short answer: golf balls have dimples because it makes them more aerodynamic. The dimples reduce drag, meaning that dimpled balls travel further than non-dimpled balls.

Mind you, balls with indentations weren't always the norm. To understand why golf balls have dimples nowadays, let's take a quick look at the history of golf ball design.

The first mass-produced golf ball, known as the ‘gutty’ ball, was actually smooth all over and moulded out of Malaysian sapodilla tree sap. Future balls went on to improve on the gutty design, but they were still smooth, not dimpled.

It wasn’t until golfers noticed that their golf balls were more stable in the air once they became scuffed and dented, that they began deliberately making dents in them.

Eventually, golf manufacturers built on this discovery, and began experimenting with different textures all over the surface of their balls.

Today, much high-tech testing goes into creating optimal dimple designs.


 golf ball patterns


How many dimples does a golf ball have?

The number of dimples on a golf ball will vary depending on the manufacturer but on average there will be between 300 and 500 dimples on a golf ball. For example, the Titleist Pro V1 has 388 dimples, while the Srixon Z-Star XV has 338.


What size are dimples on golf balls?

The size of the dimple can vary slightly between brands but on average, dimples are around 0.010 inches deep.


Are there different dimple shapes?

Not all dimples are spherical. Dimple patterns can vary and golf manufacturers all over the world are constantly experimenting with the effects of different dimple shapes. For example, a hexagonal dimple pattern became popular after Callaway golf balls introduced the design.


How do dimples affect golf balls?

Once off the ground, dimples on golf balls create a thin layer of air that wraps around it. This can significantly reduce drag (a force which causes an object to slow down due to the air pushing back against it).


How do golf ball dimples create lift?

Dimples can affect up to 50% of the overall lift a golf ball receives when hit. Lift is predominantly created by a backwards spinning motion. When the ball is in the air, the pressure above it is less than the pressure below it, causing it to rise.

We have a wide variety of high-quality golf balls to choose from. Most of them are customisable, so you can select the brand, colour and design that suits you.

Personalised Golf Balls


Check out the video below to learn more about the science of golf ball dimples: