As a sport that brings thousands together to enjoy tournaments throughout the year, golf is just as alluring to watch on the course as it is to talk about off the course.
Golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century, where they used a collection of boiled feathers and local wood as a ball. The next known variation of the golf ball consisted of a Yucatan fruit that when boiled, would make a sticky substance that was virtually incorruptible.
Oddly enough, it was the Industrial Revolution that introduced the idea of using rubber. The first model used rubber threads and a natural rubber core, while still encased in the Yucatan fruit substance. Many modifications later, including one prototype that would explode (don’t worry – that version has long been dismissed), a natural substance was found to replace the Yucatan plant based golf ball.
Today’s golf balls used by pros are made out of a butadiene rubber coated by a tough skin. These materials are made out of ethylene copolymers, which essentially harden through ionic crosslinking between negatively charged acid groups and positively charged metal salts, such as zinc and sodium salts.
The typical golf gear worn by those on the greens have a chemistry of their own. Items like collared shirts help provide coverage from the sun, and consist of a stretchy and breathable fabric that helps keep them cool and dry. By using fabrics such as medium weight polyester and polyester microfibers it creates a breathable uniform that can look just as good as it feels and still allows for a wide range of movement.
Golf as a long standing sport which brings players and audiences from around the globe. Isn’t it interesting to see how chemistry effects the game of golf?