Core and dimple improvements
aid pros in windy conditions
Most golfers know the adage, “When it’s breezy, swing it easy.” While that might seem simplistic, the rationale behind
it makes perfect sense. When you swing
harder, you tend to come into the ball more
steeply and impart more spin. In windy con-ditons that’s the last thing you want to do.
Ball designers know that too, especially
since the conversion to solid-core, multilayer balls. Lowering spin and improving the
aerodynamics of the cover/dimple design
are among the chief goals of ballmakers.
Consequently, the wind now has less of an
effect on shots than it used to.
“Historically speaking, building a golf ball
has always been a series of trade-offs,” said
John Rae, VP of R&D for Cleveland/Srixon.
“You could choose to get more distance or
you could choose to get more spin; you could choose good
performance into the wind or good performance downwind.
Over time we have minimized those tradeoffs, so making a
ball that is good for distance and can perform in the wind
Although players at the WGC-Cadillac Championship
often spoke about the wind and its effect, none mentioned the
improvements that have been made to counteract wind’s ef-
fect when a ball is in flight. Of course, that doesn’t mean those
advancements aren’t helpful.
“Probably the biggest improvement in
aerodynamics is the design of golf balls
has driven spin rates to be low,” said Dean
Snell, senior director of golf ball R&D for
TaylorMade. “What’s happened, though,
is a lot of players tell us it seems to knuckle
or fall out of the sky. But through core and
dimple design we’ve been able to enhance
the aerodynamic designs to mitigate that
effect while still making a ball that performs
well in the wind.”
At the Champions Tour’s ACE Group
Classic in February, Kenny Perry had dif-
ficulty adapting to a new ball. “I played the
’05 [Titleist] Pro V1x since ’05. Now I’m
having to use the  Pro V1x, and I’m
having an adjustment process with this golf
ball. It spins more into the wind for me.”
The comment would likely surprise Bill
Even Perry became a believer. He went on to win the ACE
Group Classic—thanks to a final-round 70 in very windy
BREEZY DAYS ARE PART OF THE FLORIDA SWING, AND R&D SPECIALISTS ARE INCREASINGLY ABLE
TO OFFER LOW-SPIN BALLS THAT AVOID BALLOONING, KNUCKLING AND OTHER UNDESIRABLE THINGS
Perry won last month despite early concerns
about the model ball he had switched to.
Thomas Björn has been a tour professional for nearly 20 years, and his 13 European Tour titles make him the most successful Danish player ever. During that time he has endured his share of difficulties on the course, but rebounded to win
four times in the last two-plus seasons. Still, there was something Björn, 41, had not yet done in a pro tournament—until
the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He had never used a belly putter.
That changed at Doral’s TPC Blue Monster where Björn used Odyssey’s White Hot XG #1 Protype Blade belly model.
Björn, who came into the week - 2.135 in strokes gained/putting (which would have ranked him 183rd if he had enough
rounds played), chose the club because he wanted a top line and preferred the soft feel of the White Hot XG insert. The
experiment worked well its first week. Björn needed just 26. 5 putts per round (T- 11), and he was not far from the the plus
side of the ledger in strokes gained/putting at -0.227 (ranked 46th). Björn finished T- 24.