Carmel Magazine

Winter 2014

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Page 46 of 195

C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 45 An antique "featherie" shown in the center shares the spotlight with colorful "gutties," mesh, and army/navy golf balls. The featherie was introduced in the early 1600s in Scotland and was created by stuffing a cowhide pouch with feathers. Photo: Marjorie Snow er. The ball was brilliantly designed by channeling a hard rubber core wrapped in high-tension rubber thread with an outer layer of balata sap, native to Central America. The guttie now became history, as this new breed of golf ball featured a much larger variety of outer designs, which greatly improved the airflow, reaching potential distances of nearly 430 yards. As the rubber core ball replaced the guttie, golfers complained that while they created more distance, they were uncontrollable around the greens. Up until the early 1900s, golf balls had raised patterns. Then, an inventor found that indented patterns, called "dimples," created a circular relationship between control and dis- tance, and pros could even put a backspin on it. Golf ball manufacturer William Taylor was the first to add the dimple pattern using the Coburn Haskell ball. This dimple pattern maximized lift while minimizing drag. Golf balls had now taken on their current modern form. Throughout the years, golf ball testing was done using different cores. Sacks of water, mer- cury, cork, steel and glycerin were unsuccessful- ly attempted. Eventually, golf ball makers settled on some form of rubber, and the composition of the rubber used was a trade secret. Today, there are a vast variety of golf balls to suit each individual's game. Some favor control, some favor distance, while others are used mere- ly for practice. At present day, the technology of the golf ball is still a highly guarded secret among the leaders of golf ball manufacturers such as Titleist, Callaway, Pinnacle and Nike, as they com- pete for a multi-million dollar a year industry. Antique golf balls are avidly collected and are becoming increasingly valuable. A featherie is valued at approximately $6,500-$15,000. Gutties range from $1,500-$3,000, and some great deals can often be found online. It's a com- pelling hunt to own a piece of history through these spherical orbs that have faded to a subtle patina, and while of humble materials, nothing has changed the landscape of the game more than the evolution of the ball. Marjorie Snow is a published writer and pho- tographer with a vast knowledge of antiques and their history, Snow was the owner of Terra Cotta in Las Vegas, an exclusive architectural vintage gallery, which was featured in numerous West Coast magazines. 044-045 Collecting_Layout 1/24/14 5:18 AM Page 2

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