There wouldn’t be golf without golf balls. Considering how these balls started off as feathers squeezed into animal skins, they are now made of rubber and are standardized as well. How these balls are made is a long process that includes analytical thinking and constant double checking of products.
Golf balls are a mass produced product and top companies such as Titleist and Callaway even have their own factories to produce said goods.
Rubber is what our current balls used in golf are made of. The process starts off with a bouncy rubber which is then mixed with other chemicals to make a hot batter. This batter is rolled like a pie crust and cooled between two huge steel drums. This is repeated until the end result is satisfactory to the person in charge. The rubbery sheets are then pushed into a machine called an intruder. When rammed inside the machine the rubber is spat out as large marshmallow shaped rubbers. This rubber, in that same process, is now dyed. The marshmallow shaped rubbers are placed on a conveyer belt that sends them into a compression mould machine.
A worker waits for these rubber slugs and places them each in a mould. These slugs vary in color because it is dependent on the type of ball that is about to be produced. When the slugs are in place, the mould presses upward to apply over a ton of pressure. This is what they call a shape and bake system because while the balls are being shaped to a sphere they are cooked at 167 degrees Celsius. The process lasts for thirteen minutes which hardens it. After it is cooled down with water, another worker places a piece of slotted glass over the mould. This slotted glass allows the rubber balls to be vacuumed up without the other leftover trimmings. These leftovers though are taken to be recycled later. The core of the golf ball is now done.
Now that the cores of the balls are done, a robot picks up these balls and places them into another mould. This mould is focused on adding the dimples to the balls. This is done by adding melted plastic into a mould cavity while a ram presses on the core and out comes the outer layer of the balls. Emerging as the golf balls you are accustomed along with their dimples. This standard injection moulding system can generate over four dozen of these balls every minute. These almost finished balls are filtered into a bin and using a golf ball elevator they are brought over to the next process of cleaning the balls.
These balls have a slight leftover on them so they aren’t as smooth as a finished golf ball yet. An automatic miller removes this extra plastic. After the miller, a robotic arm will filter the balls again into a chute entry that serves as a quality checkpoint for each and every ball. An imperfect ball would not be able to fit into this hole that only allows smooth and uniform balls. The balls then go to a stamping station wherein they are stamped with their brand along with their model type and number.
After the stamping, the golf balls go through ultraviolet light to dry the ink in place. Some balls are filtered for custom printing. The next and last step is wherein the balls are sprayed with polyurethane by an automated machine while the ball rotates at a top spindle. The spray is meant to protect the ink logos in the balls. The balls are carried out to dry in a machine that cooks them at 66 degrees Celsius for five minutes then they’re done.
With such a long manufacturing process, this small white ball that gets hit around on the golf course deserves a salute.