Trivia

Hard

The Function Of Golf Ball Dimples Is To?

Reduce Weight
Stabilize the Ball
Reduce Drag
Add Spin

Answer: Reduce Drag

Whether you’re a fan of the sport or not, one has to admire the sheer amount of physics going on in a game of golf. When the game is separated from the history, the dry announcers, and the lengthy time spent just admiring the lush greens of the course while waiting for the next step of the game to unfold, you’re left with all manner of interesting physics lessons to explore: the mechanics of the swing, the weight of the club head, the angle of the club face and, of course, the ball.

The physics of golf balls could be a textbook unto itself thanks to the numerous aspects of the ball’s interaction with the environment that highlight all manner of physics theories, effects, and equations. The ball has dimples, for example, not to reduce weight or any such matter but to, paradoxically, decrease drag. On cursory examination it would seem that adding hundreds of little tiny depressions on a surface would increase drag.

That much is true, actually, breaking of the surface of a previously smooth object with any sort of patterns, depressions, protrusions, or the like will, in fact, increase drag. In the case of golf balls, however, their speed and spin through the air creates what is known as the “Magnus effect” wherein a rotating body generates a lifting force similar to the effect of an airfoil. The dimples on the ball significantly increase the Magnus effect such that a dimpled ball will travel nearly twice the distance of an undimpled ball under identical conditions.

Ready for some more trivia on the matter? Here’s a curious consideration: if you could stand the look of it, you could cover your entire car with a golf-ball-like dimpled sheeting that would reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency the same way the dimpling helps a golf ball travel further and more efficiently.

Trivia

Hard

The Pattern Of What On A Newborn’s Body Is An Indicator Of Abnormal Brain Development?

Trivia

Easy

What Is It Illegal For The U.S. Treasury To Print On Currency?

Trivia

Easy

Patients With “Alice In Wonderland Syndrome” Have Trouble Perceiving?

Trivia

Hard

The First Person To Be Honored With A Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star For Live Performances Was?

Trivia

Hard

Tapping On A Ketchup Bottle With A Knife To Extract The Ketchup Works Because Of?

Trivia

Hard

The Lava Lamp Was Invented By Whom?

Trivia

Hard

What Distinctly Non-Food Item Do Photographers Use In Cereal Ads?

Trivia

Hard

Who Originally Spread The Idea That Carrots Improve Night Vision?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These Colors Appears With The Highest Frequency In National Flags?

Trivia

Easy

Which Common Vegetable Was Originally A Deep Purple Color?