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Golf Ball Dimples - How Many?

A Kidzworld member asked the Zone, "How many dimples does a golf ball have?" We put this question to the Sports Lab which now has the answer.

Rather than actually count every single dimple on a golf ball, we asked Bob Thurman, who tests and designs golf balls for Wilson Sports. He says a golf ball usually has anywhere from 330 to 500 dimples - depending on which company designs the ball. The dimples help the ball travel farther and higher.

Dimples first appeared on golf balls more than 100 years ago when golfers discovered that balls which had been scratched or roughed up traveled farther than smooth balls. "Dimples are what gives a golf ball lift. They create two layers of air going around the ball. The top layer is going faster than the bottom layer which creates turbulence. This reduces the drag and allows the ball to travel farther than a smooth ball," says Bob who is a trained engineer.

Different companies have designed golf balls with different numbers of dimples to allow the ball to travel farther. This is quite a science and involves weeks of testing and retesting. Companies can even design golf balls to suit the swing of individual golfers. So a ball used by Tiger Woods might have a completely different dimple pattern than one used by David Duvall. The ideal ball will usually have between 380 and 432 dimples.

If you've got a question about science and sports, to Kidzworld. We'll do our best to give you an answer - or at least a pretty believable story.

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