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how many dimples are there on a golf ball
- ibrahim (age 22)
university of benin, benin,edo,nigeria
The number of dimples on a golf ball varies, depending on the
manufacturer and may even be different for different models made by the
same manufacturer. The dimples are usually the same size as one
another, but some golf balls have several different sizes of dimple on
the same ball. Any number between 300 and 500 dimples is reasonable,
and 336 is a common number. Not just any number will do. Golf balls are
usually covered with dimples in a spherically symmetrical way, and for
many values of N, it is impossible to cover the golf ball uniformly
without gaps. Symmetry is important or the ball will wobble or its
flight will depend on which part of the ball is forwards or sideways as
the ball spins. You can get an idea of how to space dimples uniformly
around a sphere by thinking about the "platonic solids" -- the
tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron, and
placing a dimple at the corners of an inscribed platonic solid.
Variations on this theme give the corners of Buckminster Fuller's
geodesic domes, and also the possible symmetrical locations of dimples
on a golf ball.
If you're curious about why the dimples are there in the first place, see our answer
(published on 10/22/2007)
Follow-up on this answer.