Rubber core golf balls
Rubber core golf balls 1907-1913
Typical Diameter 4,3 cm
Typical weight 42,5 g
Sometimes technology achieves more than is strictly necessary. Thus Formula 1 cars have to be delyberately slowed down so that sxisting race tracks can cope. Tennis balls have to be weighted so that serves remain playable. Similarly in golf. Since 1992 alone, the average drive of the top pro has extended from 260 yards to nearer 290-300.
After the gutty, the next big breakthrough in golf occurred in 1898 when Coburn Haskell, a frustrated golfer, and Bertram Work, of the Goodrich Tire & Rubber Co., Akron, Ohio, patented what they thought was the world’s first rubber core ball. It consisted of some 20 metres of rubber thread, machine-wound under tension around a slid vulcanised rubber core, and then covered by an outer layer of gutta percha.
In fact, as a court case in 1906 revealed, there had been earlier, unsuccessful Scottish versions. One of them, noted The Scotsman, ‘had no click, and … golf without the click was, as one of the judges put it, not golf’.
But Haskell balls that click, and as theyalso proved popular with less skilful golfers – that is, the majority – after several years of trails and debate, the rubber core ball prevailed to become the basis of all balls used throughout the 20th century (until a recent trend back to solids).
These four balls are a sample of the hundreds of variants made available from 1900-14, a time when architect-designed golf courses were opening up all over Britain.
In 1936 Golf Illustrated stated, ‘In 30 years the golf population of these islands has grown from some 100,000 to nearly 1,000,000 and golf has become an international sport. It is our view that the rubber cored ball has done for golf what the pneumatic tyre did for cicling and than motoring’.