Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

It is technology taken for granted but in this piece we aim to explain why golf balls have dimples.

It is technology taken for granted but in this piece we aim to explain why golf balls have dimples.

Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

The dimples on a golf ball seem like a peculiar design but believe it or not they have a huge impact on how a golf ball performs whether it be in terms of size, shape, depth, and whether they are there in the first place.

In this piece we have looked to explain why they are so important.

Dimples on a golf ball are so important because they help create turbulence in the layer of air around the ball which reduces drag and therefore makes the ball fly further.

It is widely believed that a golf ball without dimples would fly about half the distance of a golf ball with dimples because of this technology. This is because dimpled balls create about half the drag of a smooth ball.

Related: What Is Inside A Golf Ball?

Many golf ball manufacturers research dimple technology because any slight change to the design of dimples has a huge impact on the performance characteristics of a ball.

For example the lift and drag forces on a golf ball are very sensitive to dimple depth. Some research has shown that a depth change of 0.001 inch can produce a radical change to the ball's trajectory and the overall distance it can fly.

This also explains why brands try out different dimple shapes like spheres, circles, or even hexagons.

Additionally brands experiment with how many dimples they put on golf balls to see if there are any advantages in having more or less of them. Usually the best performing balls have between 300 and 400 dimples.

So dimples take a variety of different forms on golf balls but what is clear is how important they are to modern golf especially in terms of distance.

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Sam Tremlett
Senior Staff Writer

A golfer for most of his life, Sam is a Senior Staff Writer for Golf Monthly. 

Working with golf gear and equipment over the last six years, Sam has quickly built outstanding knowledge and expertise on golf products ranging from drivers, to balls, to shoes. 

He combines this knowledge with a passion for helping golfers get the best gear for them, and as such Sam manages a team of writers that look to deliver the most accurate and informative reviews and buying advice. This is so the reader can find exactly what they are looking for.


Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website, whilst he is also responsible for all content related to golf apparel. 

He also oversees all Tour player content as well so if you need to know what clubs Tiger or Rory has in play, Sam is the person to ask. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five. 


Sam's What's In The Bag: 

Driver: Titleist TS3 (9 degrees) 

Fairway Wood: Callaway Paradym (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees) 

Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚ 

Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 

Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond

Shoes: G/FORE Gallivanter/Nike Air Zoom Infinity NEXT%/Cuater The Ringer/adidas Tour 360 22