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Photo Golf Balls, 6 Dozen Callaway Chrome Soft Balls
Concealed by the rules of golf, a golf ball has a weight no more than 1.620 oz (45.93 grams), has a diameter not less than 1.680 in (42.67 mm), and performs within specified velocity, distance, and symmetry limits. Like golf clubs, golf balls are subject to testing and approval by the R&A (formerly part of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) and the United States Golf Association, and those that do not conform with regulations may not be used in competitions.
Commonly believed that hard wooden, round balls were the first balls used for golf between the 14th through the 17th centuries. Though they were no doubt used for other similar contemporary stick and ball games, made from hardwoods such as beech and box trees, there is no definite evidence that they were used in golf in Scotland. It is equally, if not more likely, that leather balls filled with cows’ hair were used, imported from The Netherlands from at least 1486 onward. Then or later, the featherie ball was developed and introduced. A featherie, or feathery, is a hand-sewn round leather pouch stuffed with chicken or goose feathers and coated with paint, usually white in color. The volume measurement for the feathers was a gentleman’s top hat full of feathers. The feathers were boiled and softened before they were stuffed into the leather pouch.2 Making a featherie was a tedious and time-consuming process. An experienced ball maker could only make a few balls in one day, and so they were expensive. A single ball would cost between 2 shillings and 5 shillings, which is the equivalent of 10 to 20 US dollars today.3
There were a few drawbacks to the featherie. First, it was hard to make a perfectly round, spherical ball, and because of this, the featherie often flew irregularly. Also, when the featherie became too wet, its distance would be reduced, and there was a possibility of its splitting open upon impact when hit or when hitting the ground or other hard surface. Despite these, the featherie was still a dramatic improvement over the wooden ball, and remained the standard golf ball well into the 19th century.