The same technology that causes a golf ball to compress and spring forward when struck by a club also permits the ball to bounce when it strikes some surfaces. Bouncing the ball can be helpful, both on the course during a round of play, or as a practice exercise. There are other times, however, when you don’t want the ball to bounce.
When a golfer must lift his ball from the ground, he uses a marker. Normally, the need to pick up a ball is restricted to the green, but occasionally you may have to pick up a ball from elsewhere on the course to identify the ball, replace the ball if it is damaged, or -- if the rules permit -- to clean the ball. No matter the circumstance that causes a player to lift his ball, it must be marked properly.
Sand traps can be nightmares for casual or less-skilled golfers. If you don’t swing hard enough the ball may not leave the trap. If you swing too hard in a greenside bunker the ball may strike the green and roll into the rough, or it may fly over the green, perhaps even landing in another trap. Experiments regarding different ways to maintain sand traps are often aimed at making courses more difficult for professional players who may find a smooth, well-maintained trap too easy.
In golf, the launch angle is the “initial trajectory of the ball relative to the ground,” according to PGA pro Mark Blakemore. Golf writer Steve Newell quantifies the launch angle as the ball’s trajectory over its first 20 yards. Other launch characteristics include the ball’s initial velocity on impact and the amount of backspin it possesses.
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Marking your golf balls prior to playing a round of golf enables you to clearly identify your ball. Practicality aside, this is also a superstitious exercise for many golfers -- if they play well with a ball that bears a certain mark, the mark may be adopted for future games as a sort of good-luck talisman. Because it is such a commonly used brand, Titleist is playing up the practice with a fun ad campaign in which golfers share their mark on the company's website and in advertisements. Whether you lean toward the no-fuss simplicity of a colored dot or prefer the upbeat whimsey of a smiley face, your mark will help distinguish your Titleist ball from all the others on the greens.
If you're playing an informal round of golf by yourself or with some friends, switching your ball for a different ball during a hole isn't likely to bring down the golf police on you, but if you're playing by official USGA rules, it could cost you on the scorecard. There are only a few conditions that allow changing from one ball to another between tee-off on a particular hole and holing out.
Marking your golf ball on the green is an important part of golf etiquette, and the rules of golf require that the position of any ball to be lifted must marked. When your group has reached the green and you're not the first to play, replace your ball with a marker to give other players a clear shot at the hole. After they've putted, replace your ball to make your putt. Magnetic ball markers are one common type of marker -- although the term is something of a misnomer, since the markers themselves typically are not magnetized.
Hybrid golf clubs feature traits of both woods and irons in an attempt to give golfers the best of both worlds. The attempt has been unquestionably successful with casual and pro golfers alike. Since hybrid clubs entered the golf scene, around the turn of the 21st century, they’ve become “a staple on professional golf tours and in everyday foursomes,” according to the “New York Times.” Like woods and irons, hybrids can be used to hit a draw, a shot that features a controlled right-to-left movement of the ball (for right-handed players).
Unless you store your golf balls in an environment with an extreme temperature -- a freezer, for example, or during summer in the trunk of your car -- they will last for years. "Under normal storage conditions -- 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit -- a golf ball can last forever," states The Golf Professor. That's a bit of an exaggeration: If you were to tee up a ball stored at room temperature for 1,000 years, you wouldn't get the same performance as with a brand new ball. But a decade or more is a plausible time frame, especially for a two-piece solid ball, although no scientific studies have been conducted to precisely determine the shelf life of a golf ball.
Before traveling to a golf course, a conscientious golfer will make sure he has all of his equipment. Items such as clubs, golf balls, tees and ball markers are obvious requirements, but a felt pen in a bright color, such as purple, can also be an important piece of equipment. The pen may be used to mark your ball so you can positively identify it as yours when you locate it in a hazard or deep rough.
On the outside, a golf ball appears to be a perfect sphere, except for the dimpled surface. But there may be imperfections beneath the skin of some golf balls. Among those who’ve warned the public about these structural anomalies is golf coach Dave Pelz. In his book, “Putt Like the Pros,” Pelz (a former NASA scientist) had a putting machine strike unbalanced balls -- balls that were slightly heavier in one spot than another. Pelz states that the worst balanced balls wandered 2½ inches off course during a 10-foot putt. While some manufacturers advertise golf balls as being perfectly balanced, there’s a simple way you may test your golf balls to be sure.
Finding the perfect shaft flex for your golf swing used to be a case of trial and error. Today, with computerized launch monitors available in most areas of the country, it has truly become a science any player can use. Shaft flex and ball speed are closely related in a variety of ways. Understanding these interrelationships can help you see how ball speed affects shaft flex, and vice versa.