Have you ever looked at the dimples on golf balls and noticed that they vary from one to another? The dimples on a ball help us to get the ball flight we need.
Golf ball manufacturers play around with the number of dimples to help their products stand out. I’ll show you how many dimples are on a golf ball, what dimples patterns do, and what would happen if we played with an entirely smooth surface ball.
How many dimples are there on a standard golf ball?
A standard ball will have around 340 dimples. The dimple patterns are symmetrical, so you will always notice an even number of dimples. Many modern balls fall in the 300 to 400 dimple range, with some having more than 500 dimples.
Golf ball manufacturers have experimented with dimples per golf ball and tried options lower than 300 and higher than 500. However, if you look at a list of current models and their dimple patterns, you will see most fall in that 300-400 range, although some Illegal golf balls may have different numbers.
In addition to the number of dimples on popular golf ball models, there are also balls with shallow dimples, deeper dimples, or unique shapes in the dimple design. To improve the overall aerodynamics of the ball, companies get creative.
How many dimples does a Titleist ball have?
The Titleist Pro V1, the most popular Titleist ball, has 388 dimples in its 2021 model.
Interestingly, in previous releases of the Titleist Pro V1, there were only 352 dimples, so something about the new design made Titleist add a few more dimples to the ball. The Pro V1x model has 348 dimples.
Although we often think of Titleist Pro V1 and Titleist Pro V1x as being the leaders in American golf balls, there are other models from the brand that can be considered.
The Velocity, a cheaper two-piece ball, has 332, whereas the TruFeel has 376.
The lowest spinning of the Titleist golf lineup, the Titleist AVX features 352 dimples. Tour Soft and Tour Speed each have around 340.
We can learn something here about golf ball design; dimples help improve aerodynamic drag, but there is no correlation between a premium ball having more dimples than value types of golf balls.
What do more dimples on a golf ball mean?
Dimpled balls give us control and consistent ball flight. If you are a player that likes to hit a Draw or a fade, regulation golf balls with dimples will allow you that control. Manufacturers have found that dimples also increase lift.
Having just the right number of dimples can help improve the ball’s flight, make it more penetrating or higher, and give golfers more variety in performance.
One of the most common questions that naturally follows is, “What if golf balls had no dimples?”. The concept of balls having no dimples was tested, and essentially you get a low-flying trajectory that does not travel all that far.
A ball with dimples has the performance characteristics necessary to maximize on-course performance.
How do dimples on a golf ball affect its flight?
The textured surface of the golf ball allows air pressure to flow smoothly around the ball. Think about how the air can essentially fall into the dimples on the ball’s surface, and because of that, it faces less drag. A smooth ball would have to face the air in front of it head-on, with no room for the air to move.
Dimples on a ball also allow us to hit our shots high. Yes, your golf club has a specific amount of loft, which increases the height you can hit the shot, but a dimple golf ball produces less drag at the top of the ball and essentially lets it lift into the air.
When you read advertisements for a new dimpled golf ball, you will notice that they often say the dimple design is a “new aerodynamic pattern.” Improved aerodynamics is what golf manufacturers are striving for when they put a new ball on the market. Some do it with 336 dimples others need 500 or more.
Does the symmetrical arrangement of dimples on a golf ball matter?
Have you ever looked at a Callaway Supersoft golf ball? The dimple pattern stands out as it has hexagonal dimples. Golf manufacturers look for any edge they can find, and the pattern is often a way to do it. Some dimples in golf balls are all the same size, and others have small and large dimples mixed in.
I recently tested a few models to see if I could tell the difference between the number of dimples on a ball. I hit a variety of balls including Vice golf balls, Titleist, Snell golf balls, and to make things interesting, Polara golf balls.
Professional golfers don’t say too much about the dimples on the balls they are playing, so I wondered if average depth, pattern, arrangement, or overall style really meant that much to them.
One of the balls I tried was the Mizuno RB because it has over 500 dimples. I noticed differences between all models when it comes to travel distance, feel, accuracy, precision, and spin. However, if I had to distinguish one characteristic between a low dimple and a high dimple option, it would be nearly impossible to tell.
What is another name for dimples on a golf ball?
Dimples are mostly referred to as dimples; however, you will sometimes hear the word indentation or, if you are talking to a real science professional, maybe the word turbulators. Amateur golfers or beginner golfers that are new to the game should simply call them dimples.
The dimples move air around the ball and lower the drag resulting in more consistent ball flight and control for professional players and amateurs alike. Without the dimples, golf players would struggle to get the ball off the ground and keep it straight.
Does the number of dimples on a golf ball matter?
Quality balls will all have a symmetrical ball dimple design and several layers of material under the dimples. The game of golf is not one that you can perfect, and that goes for the manufacturers as well. A ball with 300-400 dimples is most common, but some have more than 500.
If you are shopping for a modern ball, and want to make sure you have the proper aerodynamic performance, don’t worry too much about the number of dimples. In fact, I would look more at compression ratings, overall feel, and spin rates.
Although the golf ball dimple pattern can impact these factors, the other technology in the ball will probably have more of an impact.
Be sure to check out a recent post on AECinfo.org about Difference expensive golf balls make before dropping $60 or $70 on a new box.
Before you start counting the dimples on your ball and wonder if it’s the reason you haven’t had the performance you need on the course, I’ll save you some time. As long as your ball has dimples, it’s doing its job for you. The rest of the equation is more about fine-tuning that performance, but it’s at a level that most of us cannot understand or even feel in the game.
If you were hitting shots at the range with a 342 dimpled ball and a 442 dimple ball, you would have a very hard time deciding which had more dimples. Regardless, golf ball technology is interesting, and you can now look at a common golf ball with a bit more understanding.