Today’s golf ball technology rocks. That’s why used golf balls can be pulled from lakes and still perform comparable to new. But it wasn’t always like that. Sure, people have always enjoyed hitting things with sticks, particularly each other. But historians generally agree that the balls for the first game actually called “golf” (invented in Scotland during the 1400s) were made from beech wood handcrafted by carpenters. Talk about high compression!
From there it took over a hundred years for the next technological advancement (and we use the word advancement loosely). This new ball was called the “feathery.” It was piece
of leather stuffed with goose feathers, sewn tight, dried-hard and painted. Sweet, right? And to make things even nuttier, King James VI granted exclusive rights for 21 years to just one guy to make these “balls.” And he could only make like 4 a day! So, it's probably safe to assume a few things about the first golf balls:
- They weren’t exactly round
- They didn’t go far
- You couldn’t get ‘em wet
- They cost some tall-green, or whatever they used for money back then
- They sucked
Worst of all, we’d have been out of business. But fortunately for all of us, better times were ahead. So, stay tuned for Part Two of the History of the Golf Ball (or just go read the whole thing here).