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The golf ball that made golfers too good

October 10, 2019


This is the 13th hole at Augusta National Golf Club. And to reach it, you have to hit a series of shots around the corner from the tee. One to get down the fairway, and a few more to get around the corner and onto the green. But not if you’re Bubba Watson. “Bubba Watson with a driver.” At the 2014 Masters Tournament, he did something remarkable. His drive sliced left, and into the woods, looking like a huge mistake. Until the announcers realized what Bubba was up to. That ball flew far enough to go over the trees and land right in front of the green. Bubba cut the corner. And that shot helped him win the tournament. But it also showed that golf might have a problem. Players like Bubba might be hitting the ball too far. Bernhard Langer is a pro golfer who had an average drive of 280 yards in 2018. That’s 20 yards farther than what he was hitting when he was 30. And that jump is part of a much bigger trend. Since 1980, the average driving distance on the PGA Pro Tour has climbed over 30 yards. So the question is, what’s causing this rise? The truth is, there are a lot of reasons why golfers are hitting the ball farther. They’re stronger, their clubs are high-tech, and the courses are in better condition. But while all of these factors have had an effect, one particular thing has become a focus of conversation: The earliest golf balls were, likely, wooden, or “Hairies,” made with stitched fabric filled with…hair. Then came “Featheries,” made from leather filled with…feathers. And later, “Gutties,” made with … Maybe you’ve never heard of the gutta percha, a tropical tree species that provided the sap used to make gutty balls. Playing Gutties, golfers noticed that their older balls, the ones beaten up with nicks and scratches, were flying farther than the new ones. So they started carving designs into Gutties to get more distance. And, experimenting with different patterns, golfers realized that dimples work best. Dimpled balls fly farther because air, coming into contact with an uneven surface, creates a protective layer of turbulence around the golf ball. And that creates a smaller wake, that has less drag on the ball. But remember this chart? Dimples were around way before this line started rising, so they don’t really explain what’s going on here. And I mean right here. See this jump? It’s the steepest part of this trendline. Something caused this, and it wasn’t dimples. It was this: The golf ball that revolutionized the sport. I know what you’re thinking — this looks like any other golf ball. But not when you look on the inside. So, for about 100 years before the Pro V1, the standard golf ball had been a “wound ball.” The inside is a rubber band, wound around a core, and sometimes filled with liquid, which you can see if you cut one open, like golfer Rick Shiels. But cutting open a Pro V1, you can see what makes this ball different. It’s the solid, multi-layered core. Before the Pro V1 and balls like it, players had to choose: between a solid-core ball that’s good for distance, or a wound ball that’s better for accuracy. But a multi-layered ball can do both. Its rigid core helps it fly far for distance, and the flexible outer layers allow a golfer to control spin when hitting closer to the hole. Before 2000, nearly all players hit wound balls. But afterwards, nearly all pro players in the US Open had switched to hitting solid multi-layer balls like the Pro V1. And that year was the year that the average driving distance shot up six yards. “Unusual and concerning” is how a 2017 report described the rise in driving distance for professional players. Hitting the ball too far means golfers can fly the ball over obstacles designed to make the game difficult. And that’s making some courses obsolete. Especially older ones, like Oakmont Country Club, where holes designed in another era are being overpowered by modern players. Now, officials are considering what they can do to limit distance. Making golf balls bigger would increase drag, and a heavier ball would fall out of the air more quickly. But adjusting dimpling, or rolling back innovations that made the Pro V1 successful, like layering and materials, could also reduce the flight of golf balls, and solve the problem. However, not everyone’s happy about this idea. “We own our manufacturing process, we own our technology, and we own our responsibility to the end-user.” As this epic marketing video shows, Titleist invests a lot in making golf balls. And for ball manufacturers, any little change to production would cost them a lot of money. But they probably shouldn’t be too worried. The truth is, golf has been having a version of this debate for nearly a hundred years, and nothing’s been settled yet. Debating the flight of the ball started a long time ago, with people asking “does it go too far?” as far back as 1936. And in the end, maybe it just doesn’t even matter. Remember the 13th hole at Augusta? That got fixed. The club just bought the land behind the tee box, in order to pull it back, and make it farther to hit a drive over the corner. No matter what kind of ball you use.

100 Comments

  • Reply Vox March 15, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Happy Friday everyone, thanks for watching our vidyas!

  • Reply Max Peng July 5, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    I don't play golf but i watched this video completly

  • Reply Aaliyan Anwar July 5, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    Wait a minute…..so i just watched a video about an issue which is not an issue. WaitWhat

  • Reply Diego Bustillos Estrada July 6, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Song?

  • Reply DNS July 6, 2019 at 11:36 am

    4:35 did he say a heavier ball would fall more quickly ?

    If yes: acceleration towards earth is independent of mass🤔🤔🤔🤔

  • Reply TacticalKyuubi July 6, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Why not do both make a second league called obstacle gold oh wait they have ITS CALLED MINI PUT PUT

  • Reply Ponce July 6, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    The announcers sound so excited

  • Reply Aaron G. July 7, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    who saw the F-14 Tomcat at 5:16? Aviation nerds unite!

  • Reply Hessel Sieburgh July 9, 2019 at 11:31 am

    What’s the song at the end?

  • Reply Jumbomuffin13 July 9, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Literally got a golf game ad before this… watched a video on American insurance and got a insurance ad before that too…

  • Reply Santiago Mancebo July 10, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    simple… when courses are old… make golfers use a different ball

  • Reply Ashleyxn July 11, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    …niall? Niall where are you??

  • Reply Who Cares July 12, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    "The club just bought the land behind the teebox" is hardly a solution is it, tho. LOL

  • Reply Pablo Sejas July 15, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    We all forgot Happy Gilmore

  • Reply John Marksman July 16, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Is there a Out of bounds in Golf?

  • Reply Think Different Music Group July 16, 2019 at 3:31 am

    Clearly the PGA don’t have any regulations if their allowing modifications to the golf ball, imagine if in the MLB they would allow hollowed out cork bats and lighter baseballs everybody would be a slugger.

  • Reply Thanos’s Fingers July 16, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Who else thought that when he said gutties it was gonna be leather and guts

  • Reply Dfegw Sdge July 16, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Well just make the golf courses bigger LUL

  • Reply cjr1881 July 17, 2019 at 4:55 am

    Why is it so hard to make a specific ball for the PGA? MLB has no issue with this.

  • Reply Moo Moo July 18, 2019 at 7:45 am

    GOLF IS BORING

  • Reply これはできますか?読めないのでしょうか July 18, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    v

  • Reply Go Beans July 19, 2019 at 4:04 am

    My cousin is a or famous golfer he is from Australia his name is Jeffry he's all over the news

  • Reply HyperionSc2 July 20, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    But do they shoot the island in Wii golf?

  • Reply Vince Burgos July 21, 2019 at 1:55 am

    When the golf ball more good than you

  • Reply chief 1 redwolf July 21, 2019 at 2:47 am

    All good gifts and perfect gifts comes down from the Father of lights in who there is no variableness or shadow or turning Jesus said that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God 👟❤️📖📖📖

  • Reply milkiieways July 21, 2019 at 3:07 am

    Me Using Wood: 58 Yards average

    Me Using Pro VI: 72 Yards average

  • Reply Lakshit Dagar July 21, 2019 at 7:40 am

    "The club just bought the land behind the tee box to solve the problem."

    Well that was a waste of time.

  • Reply Elmond Wilson July 23, 2019 at 3:18 am

    We need more Vox By Design

  • Reply Random Entertainment July 23, 2019 at 4:38 am

    Just ban the ball and cut the ball open every time they score

  • Reply Tanner TamejGames July 23, 2019 at 5:46 am

    WHERE DO I GET THIS BALL

  • Reply Timothy Rosman July 23, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    "right in front of the green"
    Ball Lands literally 190 yards out.

  • Reply Brandon Stennett July 24, 2019 at 1:46 am

    Hey ,favor could you guys explain the NO BAIL SWEDEN SITUATION ? would help us ASAP.

  • Reply Golf Guys July 24, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Interesting video documentation right here.

  • Reply SuperUghe July 26, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    30 yards in 30 years…

    “OMG THATS TOO FAR, WE HAVE TO STOP THIS NOW!”

  • Reply Phil Email July 28, 2019 at 4:32 am

    This is only really a problem for elite golfers. Average golfers have more flaws and the obstacle have more of an effect

  • Reply Chance Holton July 28, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Bowling is still more technical.

  • Reply Nathan Pratt July 31, 2019 at 3:32 am

    I dont believe theres such thing as too far

  • Reply Nathan Alexlander August 3, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Before I Watched This Video A Golf Ad Came.. Is That A Coincidence?

  • Reply Boopi August 4, 2019 at 3:09 am

    I say if it’s gonna become such a big problem, start creating new courses.

  • Reply Andrew August 6, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    So basically, the ball is just 15% less ballier.

  • Reply 5000 subs with no effort August 8, 2019 at 3:47 am

    Is the ball racist??

  • Reply John Smith August 9, 2019 at 11:52 am

    You should have metric distances too for the rest of the world. FYI 300 yards is just under 275 m.

  • Reply T August 10, 2019 at 9:18 am

    What if i am too poor to play golf?

  • Reply Swiftly August 10, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Song in the beginning?

  • Reply Jeff White August 11, 2019 at 8:33 am

    They bought the land behind the tee box and made the hole longer aka Tiger Proofing

  • Reply Skeleton Masher August 12, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    You can make my ball good

  • Reply BickieDitch August 13, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Golf would actually be interesting if it was always played like that

  • Reply tia nguyen August 15, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    i got an ad for birdieball right before this video so i guess that’s the answer

  • Reply xd DEATHGUY10223 August 16, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Good boy bubba

  • Reply Team Tawag August 17, 2019 at 3:08 am

    Listen to the sound @ 0:49 it sounded like a driver… but look at bubba's follow thru.. its an iron.

  • Reply Yoot Official August 17, 2019 at 6:25 am

    Man- this video is–
    aE S T H E T I C.

  • Reply Ain Annie Qistina Jamaludin August 17, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    they just told golfers how to cheat in a game😃😃😃
    Hope my dad didn't see this.

  • Reply Tirthankar Pandit August 17, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    There is no criteria or requirements to qualify to play golf . You only need to be rich and rich people tend to make things easier for them

  • Reply Lammet August 17, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    why does it matter, I can't even hit the ball let alone make it go 100 meters

  • Reply Frankie Kuriakuz III August 18, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    I literally got a golf ad in the middle of the video

  • Reply Gary Weaver August 19, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Jump to 2:53 for the reveal. The Titleist pro v1.

  • Reply Kyle Fast August 21, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    This was so true at Medinah last week, once a course that was extremely tough was practically made obsolete with driver technology and ball tech. Instead of players having to work the ball they just cut all the corners

  • Reply Luxembourg Time August 25, 2019 at 3:05 am

    Remove the golf ball entirely

  • Reply yellooh August 25, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Not everyone is happy? You mean not every golfer is happy? Just kidding.

  • Reply Channel 4 August 25, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Jesus Christ, okay youtube I watched it.

  • Reply Qwertiop August 26, 2019 at 1:35 am

    That thumbnail is my spirit animal

  • Reply Qwertiop August 26, 2019 at 1:43 am

    Don’t limit the ball, make the courses harder! Wouldn’t it be way more entertaining to see someone blast the ball super far across the huge field than it would be to watch normal golf?

  • Reply LatvianTHatMaYbEisJaPaneS E August 26, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Use METRES

  • Reply D LaGarde August 27, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Why is this in my recommended list I've literally never touched a golf club

  • Reply Tom Donnelly August 27, 2019 at 3:59 am

    Actually, Nike had a ball, made for them by Bridgestone, that pre-dated the Titleist ProV1. It’s the reason that Tiger Woods won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots. Unfortunately for Nike, Bridgestone could not supple them in sufficient quantities to satisfy demand. Titleist came along shortly thereafter and using their marketing and manufacturing muscle made the ProV1 “the number one ball in golf”.

  • Reply carlsong643 August 27, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    0:49 hits with an iron sound of a driver

  • Reply Ramenaitor August 29, 2019 at 12:04 am

    That is a high quality thumbnail

  • Reply delicious snacc August 29, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Why am i watching a golf facts at 1am

  • Reply P I K U L I C H U August 29, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    When a golf ad comes in before the actual golf video

  • Reply A. Sheridan August 29, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    I got a golf game ad

  • Reply Kien Nguyen August 30, 2019 at 1:11 am

    so the solution is to destroy more lands to build bigger golf courses? Sounds good.

  • Reply johnrob1977 August 30, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    This actually isn't accurate. Nike and Tiger woods debuted their ball in May of 2000 while the ProV1 didn't come out until November of that year. Bridgestone helped make the Nike ball. Go back and look at 2000-2001 Tiger Woods. He was head and shoulders above everyone and part of this is due to the superior ball he was playing.

  • Reply David Buschhorn August 31, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    My golf instructor said, "If you can hit a 250 yard drive, you can compete with the pros IF you never more than two-putt."
    I spent more time on the practice green than on the driving range and my game improved a lot.

  • Reply D Will September 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Put the sound of someone smacking a driver while bubba hit his iron 🤦🏻‍♂️

  • Reply MalseMarcel September 2, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Reminds me of that course in Wii Sports

  • Reply outlawstars100 September 4, 2019 at 4:42 am

    A golf advert on a golf video

  • Reply Pat Stallsmith September 18, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    What is the rule is that you had to follow the course?

  • Reply Michael Bay September 18, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Whoever made this video has no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to oakmont lol

  • Reply Joe Blow September 20, 2019 at 5:46 am

    Anybody else get this in their recommended September 2019!?

  • Reply Rhett Copland September 21, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    It's not a problem: I don't care if they hit it a ton, it's fun to watch. We'll never hit it that far and golf is still fun. don't matter.

  • Reply Kelly McGregor September 21, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Around 1998 callaway came out with big Bertha, the first titanium golf club that was bigger. I believe this also had a effect.

  • Reply Fewdastrongone September 22, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    then there were haires
    me: ok
    then there were featheries
    me: ok
    then there were gutteries
    me: ok…. WAT WHAT

  • Reply Thunderdash107 September 22, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    I never knew an iron could sound like a driver!

  • Reply Aroxyz September 23, 2019 at 2:27 am

    I have a pro v1x in my hand rn

  • Reply mythirdchannel September 23, 2019 at 11:54 am

    so what you're saying is that physics has real-life applications, interesting, go on 😛

  • Reply DurpYT September 23, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    The person speaking sounds like Oversimplified

  • Reply Bryce Parker September 24, 2019 at 3:54 am

    Yep just make the courses longer 👍

  • Reply Parker Stewart September 24, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Vox should get out of politics and make amazing productions that are cool and interesting like this!

  • Reply MaxGolfs September 26, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    I’m gifting my next 50 subs

  • Reply Kobe Wood September 27, 2019 at 2:07 am

    Lol simple solution just hit hit harder

  • Reply Lu G. September 28, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Golf should be banned. The water used for the grassfield is an obscene amount, and local wildlife may soon be threatened as more areas are converted to golf courses.

  • Reply Black Scythe September 29, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    i play pro v 1 all the tme

  • Reply suke October 3, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Stop speaking at a constant volume then dipping to nothing at the end of your sentence

    This makes me wanna wack a golf ball

  • Reply Jake Theraper October 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Lets not forget the extreme risk bubba watson took when cutting that corner. I think it added some intrigue to the tournament. It's not like he just duffed one over those trees. he had to hit a high cut perfectly and he had to hit it 315 yards. THAT IS RIDICULOUS.

  • Reply SporkUse October 4, 2019 at 11:25 am

    why am I watching a video about golf at 4:30 am on a school night

  • Reply Jazy Bomber October 5, 2019 at 12:13 am

    How about they make bigger courses

  • Reply Coles Brown October 6, 2019 at 2:40 am

    For some strange reason, I got a golf ad during this video!

  • Reply Dylan P October 6, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    5:26 In the end, it doesn't even matter

  • Reply sebastian yepes October 7, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Metric system, please

  • Reply Noob Skater gang gang Gang October 9, 2019 at 3:36 am

    Why have I watched this 10 times

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