The Secret Lives... and Surprising Metaphorical Possibilities... of Golf Balls

Golf Ball Guts                                        Illustration: Golf Girl Media

Golf balls have been getting a bit of a bad rap lately.

No less an authority than Jack Nicklaus recently stated that he felt golf balls were largely to blame for slow play.  That's problematic when you consider that slow play... for many golfers and golf fans... is the scourge of the game.  Or at least the scourge du jour.

The tiny, dimpled orbs have also taken some flak due to environmental concerns. Probably because it takes hundreds of years for a golf ball to decompose naturally... and because some 300 million of them are lost in the US each year. There are however, some innovative solutions to that problem.

Then there are all the stories about the errant golf balls that make calamitous contact with people and possessions.  Certainly those anecdotes do nothing to enhance the reputation of that much maligned white sphere we chase around our verdant courses.

Leave it to a non-golfing artist to show us the golf ball's gorgeous side... or inside as it were... and allow us to appreciate the unique multi-chromatic beauty hidden within.  The hero is photographer James Friedman, who had the ingenious idea of simply splitting a bunch of golf balls down the middle, presumably with some kind of saw. What was revealed, and artfully presented by Mr. Friedman, was something quite stunning... and rather delightful.

The story's been all over the place these past few days, allowing the humble golf ball to transcend the sport into the realms of tech and design, with Mashable gushing about the golf ball's gorgeous guts, while Gizmodo compared one bisected ball's close-up to... a pint of dragon fire ice cream. I'm not sure, but I think that's a very flattering comparison.

The photographer said it best when he wrote, "To my surprise, what I found inside inspired me to consider that I could discover, in the unlikeliest of places, elegant formal qualities and surprising metaphorical possibilities."

* You can admire each of James Friedman's sexy golf ball portraits (and his other amazing projects) at his website


  1. a few comments;

    remember when GOLF BALLs were considered as material to use to plug the BP oil leak in the Gulf at the spouting well ?

    the exterior design of those dimples have underGONE and continue to underGO aerodynamic analysis only a NASA engineer could understand - so it's not only the INSIDE that is worthy of an art study

    a GOLF BALL is political correct as the purest form of a J O B s creator as replacements are a constant and sustained necessity

    - NO other product is so durable YET so sure to need replacement than the GOLF BALL

  2. Truly amazing and yes, quite delightful. Great point about the golf ball's durability / replacement Frank. I've got to admit, I love playing with a new ball, though in my case it most probably makes zero difference. :\


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