The Magic of Golf Ball Dimples
As a golfer, you probably already know that the little things can make a big difference. A small change in your grip, for example, can radically change the ball flight that you achieve with your swing. Or, having the face of your putter turned open or closed just a degree or two can mean the difference between making a putt and missing it. To say golf is a game of inches is probably an understatement – it is a game of fractions of inches.
|Golf Ball Model||Dimples||Model Review|
|Bridgestone Tour B330||330|
|Bridgestone Tour B330-S||330|
|Bridgestone Tour B330-RX||330|
|Bridgestone Tour B330-RXS||330|
|Bridgestone Lady Precept||330|
|Bridgestone Extra Soft||330|
|Bridgestone Laddie X||372|
|Callaway HEX Black Tour||332|
|Callaway HEX Chrome+||332|
|Callaway HEX Chrome||332|
|Callaway HEX Diablo||332|
|Callaway HEX Hot||332|
|Callaway HEX Hot Pro||332|
|Callaway Warbird and Warbird Yellow Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway HEX Soft Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway Supersoft Yellow Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway New Chrome Soft with Truvis Technology Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway New Chrome Soft Truvis Yellow and Black Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway New Chrome Soft Yellow Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway Strata Tour Advanced Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway Supersoft Pink Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway Solaire and Pink Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway Superhot 55 Yellow Golf Ball Review||332|
|Callaway HEX Solaire||332|
|Callaway HEX Warbird||332|
|Callaway Speed Regime 1||332|
|Callaway Speed Regime 2||332|
|Callaway Speed Regime 3||332|
|Callaway Chrome Soft||332|
|Callaway Superhot 55||332|
|Maxfli Revolution Low Compression||392|
|Maxfli Revolution Spin||392|
|Maxfli U/2 Model Golf Ball||422|
|Nike One RZN X||314|
|Nike One RZN||314|
|Nike One Vapor Speed||336|
|Nike Power Distance Long||432|
|Nike Power Distance Soft||314|
|Nike RZN Black||360|
|Nike RZN Platinum||360|
|Nike RZN Red||314|
|Nike RZN White||344|
|Nike RZN Tour ball||344|
|Nike RZN Speed ball||344|
|Pinnacle Bling Golf Ball||332|
|Pinnacle Gold Distance||332|
|Slazenger RAW Distance Feel||402|
|Slazenger RAW Distance||428|
|Srixon Soft Feel||324|
|Srixon Soft Feel Lady||328|
|Srixon Trispeed Tour||324|
|Srixon Z-STAR SL||324|
|Srixon Z-STAR XV||344|
|TaylorMade RocketBallz Urethane||360|
|TaylorMade Project (a)||360|
|TaylorMade New Tour Preferred||322|
|TaylorMade New Tour Preferred X||322|
|Titleist DT SoLo||392|
|Titleist NXT Tour||302|
|Titleist NXT Tour S||302|
|Titleist DT Trusoft||376|
|Top-Flite D2+ Distance||332|
|Top-Flite D2+ Feel||332|
|Top-Flite D2+ Straight||332|
|Top-Flite Gamer Tour||332|
|Top-Flite XL Distance||332|
|Top Flite Bomb||332|
|Top Flite Gamer Soft||332|
|Volvik Pro Bismuth||446|
|Volvik Vista iV||392|
|Volvik Vista iS||392|
|Volvik Vista DS 77||372|
|Wilson Staff C:25||302|
|Wilson Staff DUO||312|
|Wilson Staff FG Tour X||312|
|Wilson Staff FG Tour||312|
|Wilson Staff Fifty Elite||302|
|Wilson Staff Zip||302|
|WILSON STAFF DUO URETHANE||362|
|WILSON STAFF DUO SPIN||302|
|Wilson Staff Duo Spin||302|
|WILSON STAFF DX3 URETHANE||362|
|WILSON STAFF DX3 SPIN||302|
|WILSON STAFF DX2 SOFT||302|
This might go to explain how something as small as the dimples on your golf ball can make such a big difference to the flight of every shot that you hit. In a game where the little things are so important, the littlest of them all (the dimple) plays a major role. A golf ball without dimples would not perform anything like what you are used to with a dimpled ball, and the game as we know it would not be possible without these small little indentations. Despite all of the incredible technologies that have made their way into golf in recent years, the dimple remains one of the most important on-course innovations of all time.
Golf ball dimples are designed to make the ball fly longer through the air. The effect of golf ball dimples aerodynamics means that golfers are able to hit the ball significantly farther, and in a much more-controlled fashion, than they were able to previous to the creation of the dimpled golf ball. No doubt golf ball dimples have been partly responsible for the great popularity of the game because they dramatically increased the possibilities for golfers to hit various shots around the course.
Marketing Golf Brands
Despite the marketing efforts of some golf brands, how many dimples on a golf ball just doesn’t have that significant effect on the way your shots will react. While adjusting how many dimples on a golf ball can slightly change the flight characteristics of that specific ball, the changes are likely to be so subtle that you won’t even notice any change in your game. When picking out a golf ball that will best suit your game, try out a few different models and pick the one that you are most comfortable with. Golf ball dimples physics might be interesting, but you shouldn’t get too caught up in the science of it all. Your goal should be to play better golf, so you only need to understand golf ball dimples aerodynamics to the point that it helps you perform better during a round.
Now that you have a basic idea of the golf ball dimples purpose for being there in the first place, the content below will highlight some of the ways you can take advantage of what the dimples do for you in order to play better golf. The golf ball dimples purpose is to make controlling the ball easier in some ways, in addition to enabling you to hit it farther. Of course, the dimples can actually work against you if the wrong kind of spin is put onto the ball. Understanding how all of these variables play together can make you a better golfer in the end.
Any instructions or examples below are written with a right handed golfer in mind. Left handed players will want to reverse the directions to make sure they are properly understood.
Understanding the Spin of the Ball
The dimples on your golf ball increase the turbulence in the air as it flows around the ball – which might sound like a bad thing, but it is actually a very good thing. This turbulence allows for spin to be created on the ball, in a variety of directions. Backspin is crucial to any golf shot because it enables the ball to stay in the air longer, and stop quicker when it lands. A good golfer will know how to manage the amount of backspin they put on the ball in order to create the exact kind of shot needed for the situation. For instance, a lot of backspin on a short iron shot is usually a good thing, while a high rate of backspin on a driver shot will likely cost you yardage in the end.
The other spin that you need to be aware of is side spin, either to the left or to the right. This is what allows you to curve the ball while it is in the air. When under control, side spin is a great tool to turn the ball toward the target and get it around obstacles that might be in your way. However, side spin can get out of control when you have technical flaws in your swing. This is what leads to poor shots like hooks and slices, which every golfer has experienced at one point or another. When you get down to it, controlling the spin of the golf ball is really what the game is all about.
There are a few elements that go into controlling your spin, three of which are highlighted below –
- Club head speed. As a general rule of thumb, the faster you swing through impact, the more spin that will be imparted to the ball. Now, there are a number of other factors that influence the overall spin rate as well, but this is a good place to start. So, if you are hitting a wedge that you want to have a lot of backspin so it can stop quickly, you are going to need to swing hard at the shot. If you want to reduce the amount of backspin and hit the ball lower, swinging softer is the right idea. Most of the practice that you do in order to learn how to control your backspin is going to have to do with controlling the speed of your swing overall.
- Path of the swing. When it comes to side spin, you want to be swinging through impact as ‘straight’ as possible in order to avoid a big slice or hook. Swinging straight through impact means swinging along a line that is pointing at the target of your shot. If you are trying to hit a little draw or a little fade, you can swing slightly to one side or the other of the target line in order to impart just a small amount of side spin. However, the more you deviate from that initial line, the more side spin you will get. It takes an experienced and capable golfer to successfully manage side spin.
- Angle of attack. In terms of spin on iron shots (and the driver, to some extent), the angle of attack you take down into the ball also will have some say in the spin rate you achieve. When you swing down steeply into the ball, you should be able to create more backspin then when you use a shallow angle of attack at the bottom of your swing. It is possible to play good golf using either approach, so feel free to experiment with different attack angle until you settle on one that feels comfortable to you. Pay attention to your center of gravity and balance in this case, as those elements will have the biggest say in how you attack the ball.
If you have aspirations of playing better golf, controlling your spin should be high on your priority list. It might take some time to get a feel for the connection between your swing and the ball flights that you can achieve through the use of spin, but you will improve as time goes by.
Practicing Backspin Control
Managing the trajectory of your golf ball is something that has many applications on the course, but not many golfers understand how to do so successfully. Backspin is the force that causes your ball to rise up into the air, so the spin rate on your shots has everything to do with how high the ball will eventually reach. If you have ever been frustrated about your shots being either too high or too low, it is time that you learned how to manage your spin.
To get started, head to the driving range with your seven iron and a bucket of practice balls. At this point, you are only going to use one club for the sake of simplicity – and the seven iron is the perfect choice for now. It is long enough to be able to observe a full trajectory, but short enough to make it easier to control than a driver or long iron.
First, hit five balls with your normal, full swing and watch the ball flight carefully. How high is the ball rising up into the air? How far are the shots traveling on average? You might not be able to attached specific numbers to these questions, but just watch intently and compare your shots to specific landmarks on the range. Next, hit five balls with a swing that is softer than your usual swing. Don’t change anything about your technique or mechanics – just try to swing a little softer. Doing so should lead you to a ball flight that is lower, and a shot that doesn’t fly so far in the air. After those five, hit five shots that are harder than your usual swing. Again, make sure to not change anything about your swing other than the speed that you use through impact.
So, to this point, you have hit a total of 15 shots – five regular, five soft, and five hard. What have you noticed about your ball flights? Did they behave as you would expect? Hopefully, you were able to get three different trajectories with the three different swing speeds. Just like that, after only hitting 15 shots, you will have learned how to manage your backspin on a basic level. There are more advanced ways to do it, and we will get to those shortly, but you have started on the right track. Only by varying one element of your swing – the speed – you should have created three different backspin rates that you can use out on the course.
Once you are comfortable with this basic fifteen ball drill, try completing it with some of your other clubs. The effect should be the same throughout your bag. Shorter, lower shots should result from softer swings, and higher ball flights should be the outcome of harder swings. Work your way up to the driver and make this drill a regular part of your practice routine.
Adding to Your Options
After a few practice sessions working on controlling the speed of your swing, you should have your golf ball dimples working for you pretty well as it relates to spin. However, you can take steps beyond just the speed of your swing in order to control the backspin rate of your shots. Following are a few spin control tips that you should try out on the driving range before putting them to work for you out on the course –
- Move the ball back in your stance. When you really need to flight the ball down lower and take spin off the shot, moving the ball back in your stance is an easy step to take. Along with this adjustment, you should also choke down a couple inches on the grip of the club. This tweak alone will result in a ball flight that is flatter and rolls out farther after it lands. Effectively, you will be taking loft off the club while still keeping your swing speed down because you have shortened the length of your swing (by choking down on the grip). This kind of ‘punch’ shot is an essential piece of the golf puzzle that all golfers should have available to them.
- Aggressive right hand. When playing a short iron shot that you wish to add a lot of backspin to, such as an approach shot to a hole located near the front of the green, using your right hand through impact more aggressively is a good trick to know. This is definitely a shot that will take some practice, so don’t try this one without working on it extensively first. By using your right hand more through the impact area, you will be adding just a little bit of extra speed – as well as loft – to get maximum stopping power. Prior to playing this kind of shot, make sure you have a good lie in the fairway or the results might not be what you are expecting.
- Don’t look for much out of the rough. When playing shots from the rough to the side of the fairway, don’t expect much in terms of backspin. Most likely, you are going to get grass stuck between the clubface and the ball at impact, making it almost impossible to get much backspin imparted on the shot. That means that shots hit from the rough are usually going to fly lower, and bounce farther, once they land. Prior to hitting a shot from the rough, picture the ball flight you are expecting and then choose a target line that will work best for that ball flight. You have less control out of the rough, so try picking a conservative target to keep your ball safely out of trouble.
The golf ball dimples physics that you have learned about dictate that certain shots are possible in certain situations, while others are not. Understanding the limitations of your golf ball and what you can and can’t do from specific spots on the course is all part of the process. You will improve at this skill over time as you gain experience, so pay attention to each shot you hit and use them all as learning experiences.
The Side Spin Part of the Equation
The reason that many golfers never get to the point of worrying about the backspin that they put on the ball is that they are too worried about limiting the side spin on their shots. This is for good reason – too much side spin on the ball will make any backspin that you are able to get irrelevant. If you can’t hit the ball reasonably straight most of the time, what difference does it make how much backspin you have on the shot? Controlling your side spin certainly is a vital component of playing better golf.
What it all comes down to is the relationship between three elements – the club face, the target line, and your swing path. If, in a hypothetical swing, the club face was perfectly square to both the target line and the swing path, the ball would head on a straight line directly for the target. Of course, golf is not easy, and that outcome is unlikely to ever occur just right. Hitting a dead straight shot is something that very few golfers are able to do – most players prefer to turn the ball slightly in one direction or the other for the majority of their shots.
To improve your ability to control the side spin on your ball, you need to start by observing the shots that you are currently hitting. Which way are they turning? If you are a right handed golfer, there is a great chance that you are currently hitting a shot that moves from left to right – this is by far the most common ball flight for a right handed amateur. If that is the case, one thing is certainly true in your swing – the path of the club is moving from right to left through impact, relative to the position of the club face. It is that simple. The dreaded slice that plagues so many golfers is no more complicated than a swing path that goes from right to left through the hitting zone, often combined with an open club face. If you have been fighting the slice for your entire time as a golfer, it is this mistake that you need to get solved once and for all.
Working on your swing path can be tricky, however, so it is best to get a recording of your swing on video before deciding what changes need to be made. Ask a friend to come with you to the driving range and record a few of your swings from behind using the video camera built-in to your cell phone (or using any other recording device you may have). Watch carefully how the club moves through the hitting zone and which direction it seems to be travelling. Try the following tips to correct your swing path based on which direction the club is moving –
- From right to left. This is the path that usually creates a slice, and it often comes from a backswing that is too narrow early in the takeaway. Try putting more width into your takeaway within the first two feet or so of the backswing to get the club into a better position at the top. From there, you should have enough room to swing down from the inside that the over-the-top pattern will be eliminated, along with your swing.
- From left to right. This is the less-common mistake, and it will produce a hook most of the time. For many amateurs, a long backswing is the culprit in this case. When you allow your backswing to get too long, the club can become ‘stuck’ to the inside of the proper path and end up moving too much from inside-out at impact. Shorten things up in your backswing and that hook should quickly disappear.