Tim­ber balls were the rage

Learn the his­tory be­hind to­day’s great game

Central and North Burnett Times - - MUNDUBBERA IMPERIAL CHALLENGE -

QUITE a few things have changed since the days of the 1550s when golf was played with wooden balls.

In 1618 the feather golf ball or “feath­erie” was in­tro­duced.

They were hand­made balls made with goose feath­ers tightly packed into a horse or cow hide.

The ball was then painted to fin­ish it off.

Th­ese were rather ex­pen­sive balls and only the rich could af­ford to play.

Of­ten the wooden balls were more ex­pen­sive than the clubs.

Gutta per­cha ball or “gut­tie” in 1848 was in­vented and this ball was made from the rub­ber-like sap of the gutta tree.

Not only could the ball be in­ex­pen­sively formed this way, it could also be eas­ily fixed by warm­ing it up and re­shap­ing it to its orig­i­nal form.

The gut­ties had a smooth ex­te­rior which meant that they did not travel as far as the feath­eries.

After 1880, gut­ties were pro­duced with shapes on their ex­te­rior in an at­tempt to re­pro­duce the dis­tances scored us­ing a feath­erie.

With the Vic­to­ri­ans came in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and mech­a­ni­sa­tion, and by 1890, gut­ties were be­ing made in moulds which fur­ther in­creased their af­ford­abil­ity, con­sis­tency and qual­ity.

Many of the rub­ber com­pa­nies, like Dun­lop, be­gan mass-pro­duc­ing balls which killed off the hand­crafted ball business.

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