The Physics
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Mass of a Golf Ball

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Cutnell, John. Johnson, Kenneth W. Physics. Third Edition. New York: Wiley, 1995: 190. "When a 0.045 kg golf ball takes off after being hit, its speed is 41 m/s." 0.045 kg
"The Golf Ball." Encyclopedia of Sports Science. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1997: 287. "A ball must not weigh more than 1.62 ounces and must not have a diameter less than 1.68 inches." 0.0459 kg
Craig, Dexter & May, Stephen. Teed Off! How a Golf Ball Really Works. The Virtual Golfer. 1995. "Traditionally manufacturers have kept their balls at the 1.62 ounce limit set by the USGA." 0.0459 kg
Dey, Joseph C. Golf Rules in Pictures. New Jersey: National General. 1972: 22. "The weight of the ball shall not be greater than 1.620 ounces avoirdupois, and the size not less than 1.680 inches in diameter." 0.04593 kg
Used a triple beam balance to mass a golf ball. "0.04569 kg" 0.04569 kg

Golf is an outdoor game in which individual players use specially designed clubs to propel a small, hard ball (golf ball) over a field of play known as a course or links. The object of the game is to advance the ball around the course using as few strokes as possible.

Unlike any other ball, the golf ball has evolved considerably, from the earliest wooden balls of the fifteenth century to the featheries of the seventeenth century to the gutta-percha balls of the nineteenth century and finally to the high-tech balls of the 1990s.

The earliest golf balls, dating back to Roman times, were made of smoothly carved boxwood. Wood balls were in fashion until the 1600s when they were replaced by golf balls called "featheries". Featheries were made of boiled goose feathers stuffed tightly within a stitched cowhide casing. The ball became very hard as the feathers dried. Gutta-percha balls began replacing featheries around 1848. These balls were made from dried gum of the Malaysian sapodilla tree. In 1898, a three-piece rubber-core ball was invented. It consisted of lengths of rubber yarn stretched around a rubber core. The three-piece, balata-covered ball was the newest and most costly invention. It consists of a liquid center, a polyurethane interlayer, and a synthetic balata cover.

Golf balls have dimples because when it is hit, it spins as fast as eight thousand revolutions per minute. As the ball spins, the dimpled surface traps a layer of air that rotates with the ball, like a small whirlwind around the ball's surface. Without dimples, the ball would travel only about three-fourths as far.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) set restrictions on the weight and size of the golf ball. The weight of the ball should not exceed 1.620 ounces (0.04593 kg) and must have a diameter of at least 1.680 inches. The association also regulated the coefficient of restitution (COR) of the ball, about 0.6. This means that if a golf ball strikes a solid surface at a speed of 10 m/s it must rebound at a speed of 6 m/s.

Imran Arif -- 1999