VIDEO: The Moment of Impact. An Inside Look at Titleist Golf Ball R&D

Posted: October 24, 2013

For our Titleist Golf Ball R&D team, the goal is always the same: Design and develop the most consistent and best performing golf balls to help golfers shoot lower scores. It's a process focused on continuous improvement, fostered by many talented individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes.

Of course, there's also some really cool (and extremely sophisticated) test equipment that plays a role in continually making the best golf balls in the game even better.

Case in point: The Titleist R&D team recently fired up one of their mechanical robots to film golf ball impact footage, using a high-speed camera, at 22,000 frames per second.

The second we heard this was happening, we were inspired to bring you an exclusive insider’s view. So we grabbed our cameras, headed to the Manchester Lane Testing facility and met up with Paul Furze, Manager of Product Test Methods.

Paul's plan was to run through a series of tests and capture the moment of impact of different Titleist golf ball models across various ball speeds. Using the high-speed footage, the team could then analyze how the golf ball reacts to the force being applied and show the actual compression upon impact.

One result, as you will see in the video: "If you compare the 120 mph driver [ball] speed to the 175 mph driver [ball] speed, you'll see that the compression on the ball is really quite similar," said Furze. In other words, every player, no matter their swing speed, compresses the golf ball.

Check out the video for a closer look at this step in our R&D process and to see what happens to a golf ball at impact – and a few micro-seconds after impact... (Yes, we said micro-seconds.)

Just in case you were wondering, "What exactly is Product Test Methods Development?" Well, this team develops and maintains all of the test equipment used throughout the various stages of the process. From robotic swing machines and air canons to wind tunnels and advanced simulators, they’ve got it covered.

Pretty cool gig if you ask us.

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Thanks to Titleist for sharing this great glimpse into ball R&D. Video analysis, obviously being only one of many methods used to expose the behavior of club contact and ball reaction, has by itself influenced the development of the Titleist balls and clubs to what they are today. Makes me wonder about the bright future ahead given what technology can expose about the physics of a golf ball being struck. I guess things have only just begun. I'm glad I'm part of this development by using Titleist products.

Randy K

Pretty cool stuff, thanks Titleist.

Greg P

I tip my Titleist hat to you, Paul!  Thanks for helping make the game fun!

Mark P

I watched the ball deform at impact.  When it returns to its original shape is it over in one try or does the ball have "ripple" motion where it continues to deform a little bit over and over? Love seeing the super slow motion. Keep up the good work Paul.

Robert B

How does the impact compare with a 80 mph swing speed that most seniors have?  Does the prov1 still compress enough?

John H

Thanks for sharing.

James S

Even a 120 mph swing speed is pretty fast.  I'd be interested in seeing what a 90 mph swing speed looks like when it hits the ball.  Enjoyed the video, though.  Super slow-mo is always fun to watch.


Great Video

Michael JC

That robot has an awesome swing! Great video. Yep, pretty cool gig!

John W

The lowest driver speed tested is 120mph.  Ball is compressed fully at that point and beyond, but what about at speeds of 80-100 mph, where average player is at?  I think the compression is a lot less, and consequently less distance traveled.  Am I right or wrong?