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Why Does A Golf Ball Have Dimples?

Why Does A Golf Ball Have Dimples?

When the Pete and Alice Dye Golf Experience is in full-swing at the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, you can bet there are plenty of aspiring golf legends taking advantage of the hole-in-one fun. The four courses, presented by Henry and Christine Camferdam, consist of two amateur courses with hole-replicas of Pete and Alice Dye’s most-famous designs, as well as an introductory and toddler course for the new and tiny tee-ers! The courses also come with specially-designed equipment that help everyone in the family learn golf fundamentals. 

When your tiny legend picks up a traditional golf ball, they’ll find dimples all over it. But why? There must be a link! (See what we did there?) Our caddy’s at HowStuffWorks and Live Science are helping us answer the question: 



Why does a golf ball have dimples? 

Originally, golf balls were smooth. As golfers used the same balls over and over, they started to notice that the more beat-up golf balls were traveling farther! The nicks, bumps, and slices were helping them win! Eventually, putting impressions on the golf ball became a standard—after being proved aerodynamically accurate by physicists, of course. 

Here’s the dimple deal 

The dimples in golf balls create turbulence (that means mixed airflow!) which, if done right, reduces drag, making it go farther. 

The mixed airflow is of two types: laminar and turbulent. Laminar movement creates less drag but is vulnerable to "separation”— the phenomenon whereby the air layer that clings to the ball as it moves through the air separates from the ball. Turbulent flow creates more drag initially but is less vulnerable to separation. When golf balls were smooth, separation happened easily. 

At high speeds, you want the air layers to cling to the ball as long as possible. The dimples do just that! 

There you have it. Now you can take all this new knowledge with you when you visit the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience at The Children’s Museum!  We promise you won’t fore-get it! 

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Categories: Never Stop Asking Why
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