The Moment of Impact. An Inside Look at Titleist Golf Ball R&D

For our Titleist Golf Ball R&D team, the goal is always the same: Design and develop the most consistent and best performing golf balls to help golfers shoot lower scores. It’s a process focused on continuous improvement, fostered by many talented individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes.

Of course, there’s also some really cool (and extremely sophisticated) test equipment that plays a role in continually making the best golf balls in the game even better.

Case in point: The Titleist R&D team recently fired up one of their mechanical robots to film golf ball impact footage, using a high-speed camera, at 22,000 frames per second.

The second we heard this was happening, we were inspired to bring you an exclusive insider’s view. So we grabbed our cameras, headed to the Manchester Lane Testing facility and met up with Paul Furze, Manager of Product Test Methods.

Paul’s plan was to run through a series of tests and capture the moment of impact of different Titleist golf ball models across various clubhead speeds. Using the high-speed footage, the team could then analyze how the golf ball reacts to the force being applied and show the actual compression upon impact.

One result, as you will see in the video: “If you compare the 120 mph driver speed to the 175 mph driver speed, you’ll see that the compression on the ball is really quite similar,” said Furze. In other words, every player, no matter their swing speed, compresses the golf ball.

Check out the video for a closer look at this step in our R&D process and to see what happens to a golf ball at impact — and a few micro-seconds after impact… (Yes, we said micro-seconds.)

Just in case you were wondering, “What exactly is Product Test Methods Development?” Well, this team develops and maintains all of the test equipment used throughout the various stages of the process. From robotic swing machines and air canons to wind tunnels and advanced simulators, they’ve got it covered.

Pretty cool gig if you ask us.

32 thoughts on “The Moment of Impact. An Inside Look at Titleist Golf Ball R&D

  1. Interesting!  The logo is parallel to the ground in the test.  Is this for advertisement?  I have always played the proV logo parallel to the face of the driver..  Anybody?  Help??

  2. Thats pretty cool, when my cousin said that it gets "smashed" and then goes back into a oval, i didnt believe him. But hey, learn something new every day!

  3. "In other words, every player, no matter their swing speed, compresses the golf ball "…. What is the point of this sentence???

  4. Why does Titleist use that machine to hit the balls when they could hire me to sit there for 8 hours and consistently drive it straight as an arrow 400 yards.

  5. I'm just a guy from Texas that builds catapults. I use golf balls for my smaller machines. I use magnus in one of my launching styles. Golf balls are perfect for this. I started casting large cement golf balls in silicone molds I make, for my larger machines. Being of science, I have a question about dimples. Scaling up the diameter of the ball, would the dimples scale up proportionally, or should they stay the same size as on a standard size golf ball? The test balls I have produced have proportionally up scaled dimples, but my gut is telling me that they should remain small. The small dimples will still induce magnus, but won't create a bunch of drag. I have seen computer simulations of how air behaves over the surface of a golf ball, but none exist of how the air flow behaves over a spinning golf ball with linear motion. Shark skin comes to mind, and hydrodynamics, and that one wouldn't up scale the skin surface texture, the larger the shark.

  6. If you're looking for additional real world test data, feel free st send me some of your prototypes along with some gear and I'll be more than happy to help!

    Doesn't hurt to ask lol!

    Stay in the short stuff folks!

  7. I enjoyed that, and the fellows enthusiasm…. I like the goal of making the best possible golf ball. Titleist has got it down…

  8. I have a theory. If the grooves on club face connecting the ball at angle (smooth ball with dimples) spin is produced. If ball is coarse and not smooth, wouldn't more spin be achieved. I don't have the equipment to test this theory though. If you wish? you can do it, just be so kind and give me feedback please.

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