Is A Golf Ball Hollow Or Solid? We Took A Look Inside

A golf ball is a special type of ball that is small in size, white in color and is tough on the outside with dimples molded in. As the name suggests, these balls are to be used in the game of golf.

Many players are curious about the make-up of the golf balls, particularly the inside.

Are they hollow or solid? And how does this impact the performance of the ball? I decided to do a little research and here is what I found:

Are Golf Balls Hollow Or Solid?

The inside of a golf ball is solid and not hollow. It is made of a stout rubber core or center that is encapsulated or enclosed within a shell. This shell is typically made of Surlyn which is a relatively hard and durable material that allows the golf ball to pop off the face of the club more quickly. Surlyn coated golf balls will spin less but go farther in distance.

There are different types of golf balls though, but all of them have a solid structure within. They include the one piece, two piece, three piece, four piece and even five piece golf balls.

One Piece Golf Ball

This golf ball is not used today. As the name suggests, it is only made of one type of material wrought from a duff hunk of surlyn. Because surlyn is the main material, they are extremely durable and have a heavy feel. They also generate very low spin as a result.

These balls are used for miniature golf also knowns as crazy golf or putt-putt. Even for beginner players, these balls should be avoided and left out of the golf bag.

Two Piece Golf Ball

These balls are the most popular and are used by all level of golfers. They have a solid rubber core and the shell is made of surlyn or a softer urethane. Urethane golf balls offer a softer feel and greater control. They are typically found on higher-end balls that are preferred by professional players.

Two piece golf balls are known for their durability and distance. This ball should be the model of choice for those who are getting started with the game, even though skilled players would probably want something with a bit more layers. This brings us to the next type of golf ball…

Three Piece Golf Ball

Three piece ball offers good distance without compromising the feel of the ball. The most common three piece ball used on the PGA tour is the legendary Titleist pro v1. The best players in the world use this ball. It features an extra layer which allows for a softer feel and more spin than your regular two piece.

Four Piece Golf Ball

Many players wonder what’s the difference between a three piece and four piece golf ball and does it offer better performance?

The answer is that the four piece offer more spin separation. This means that the extra layer of the four piece will be activated when the player reaches a fast enough swing speed. The theory is a bit complicated, but the concept is that the driver shots will spin less.

Five Piece Golf Ball

If you thought four piece was excessive, then you should take a look at the five piece. The theory behind the four piece ball is similar to this one; that is it offers more spin separation. It has a super soft urethane covering that ensures that the ball remains spinny, thereby causing it to be responsive on short shots.

Do Golf Balls Have A Liquid Core?

Liquid core golf balls are not used today but were common in 3 piece balls. As early as 1935, golf ball engineers would use liquid cores that would otherwise have too much spin.

Some believe that the liquid core was dangerous with poisons and explosives. But it turned out that this was just a myth.

Contrary to this, the liquid cores aren’t dangerous. Titleist which manufactures 3 piece golf balls has used corn syrup and salt water blend in the past as their liquid core.

However, in today’s era, the core is generally made from synthetic rubber that is mixed with bits of metals like titanium or tungsten. Acrylate which is a plastic material can also be found in the mixture.

Cutting The Golf Ball To See Inside

There are many reasons why one would want to cut a golf ball in half. For me, I do it out of curiosity and for the fun. Since we are on the topic of whether golf balls are solid or hollow, you may want to perform this exercise to see for yourself.

Golf balls can be cut in several ways, but there is not a right way to cut it as you may find one particular method useful or fun.

Here we will discuss two popular methods of cutting a golf ball:
1. The Sharp Method

2. The Chop Method

The Sharp Method

The sharp method is the most popular approach to cutting the ball but it produces halves that are not perfectly spherical. You won’t really able to tell if you aren’t paying that much attention.

It uses a sharp blade to slice through the ball and is quite frankly the easiest of methods that produces the best results for cutting thick balls.

You can use a sharp kitchen knife, but it is preferred to use a blade that offers more angular control like a pocket knife or utility blade. In this exercise, we used a utility blade.

It’s important to note that if your blade has no grip, then you can use a rubber band to wrap around one end. This also helps for a sturdier grip that controls the angle of your cuts.

Now that we’ve chosen our blade, it’s time to select the golf ball. I suggest that you choose a thick golf ball rather than those with a lot of dimples as they are more difficult to cut in half.

  • Place the golf ball on a hard surface with the seam facing upward. The ball should lay flat.
  • Slice through the ball using an up and down motion.
  • Don’t go too fast. Go slowly so you don’t cut yourself in the process.
  • About half way into the cut, your blade may slice right through if it is sharp enough. Otherwise, continue to make some more cuts and slice through the ball as cleanly as possible without getting any rough spots or jagged edges.
  • If it so happens that you get rough edges, you can smooth it out with your blade, but ensure that you don’t press too hard as you’ll end up with scratches.

The Chop Method

This method is ideal for cutting thin golf balls and just requires a little patience. Find a good area that is clear of objects so you won’t cause damage.

A patio or even a concrete driveway is a nice area to perform the chop method.

Simply aim the hammer at the ball and strike with a hard and quick blow that will get through the outer shell.

Once you have done this, grab one side and start pulling. This should tear the ball apart fairly easily.

Regulations Of The Golf Ball

Like in every sport, there are rules that helps govern the game. Rule 5-1 ensures that the balls conform to a specific velocity, distance and symmetry. They are subjected to testing and approval by the United States Golf Association and the R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews)

The golf ball is designed to have a solid rubber core so that it covers enough distance with a driver. This rubber core makes up the bulk of the weight of the ball and should be no more than 1.62 oz or 45.9 g according to the rules of the United States Golf Association. Also, the golf ball should have no less a diameter of 1.68 inches equivalent to 42.7 mm.

The initial velocity of the golf ball should not travel at a rate higher than 250 ft per second when struck with a maximum tolerance of 2%.

Moreover, the ball must be spherically symmetric with a carry distance difference no more than 4 yards or a flight time no more than 0.4 seconds (regardless of the axis that the golf ball is spinning about when launched into the air).

Golf balls that do not conform with these regulations may not be used in competitive golf matches.

Final Verdict

The type of golf ball that you chose to use will impact your game. Higher quality golf balls like the 3 piece will have greater spin control and feel leading to a better game of golf. These balls will also have a longer life span.

Most golf balls that you buy will come with a rubber core that is responsible for giving the ball distance. Balls with urethane outer shell have more spin control than ones with surlyn although these tend to have more durability.

If you are looking for the best golf ball to use, then I highly recommend that you go with the Titleist. 

It is the most widely played ball on the PGA tour, and you can expect to get a high level of spin control, distance and durability.


Scroll to Top