With the PGA Championships beginning today, we thought it would be topical to have a blog about a bit of the science behind golf! So here goes the science behind the dimples in a golf ball… About a century ago, golfers began to realise that a scuffed-up ball with dents and dimples from long use, travels further than a smooth new ball, so, golf balls gained dimples. Gold ball manufacturers now invest millions each year to design the best performing golf balls. The dimples in gold balls create turbulence, or ‘mixed air flow’ which, if designed correctly, reduces drag on the ball. There are two main types of airflow – laminar and turbulent. Laminar movement creates less drag but it is susceptible to ‘separation’ – where the air layer that ‘clings’ to the ball as it moves to the air separates from the ball. Turbulent flow creates more drag initially, but is less vulnerable to separation. At high speeds, like that of a golf ball, you will want this air layer to cling to the ball as possible, and the dimples in the ball allow this to happen!
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