Golfers always like to play with a particular brand of golf ball and generally the preferred colour is white. However, our correspondent’s eyes have been opened (literally) by something new.
Golfers always like to play with a particular brand of golf ball and generally the preferred colour is white. However, our correspondent, Philippa Kennedy, has had her eyes open (literally) by something new.
By Philippa Kennedy
"Blue balls!” I said in my best Hyacinth Bouquet voice. “I don’t think so.”
As Henry Ford once said, “You can have any colour of car that you want, as long as it’s black”. Or as the Wimbledon committee still insist, tennis garb is white and that’s that.
There are petty snobberies about just about anything and in golf it has traditionally been that golf balls are white. Yellow balls have been around for ages, but there’s always been a touch of snobbery about them. I once heard a tale about a young man who was invited to play at Swinley Forest in Surrey, possibly one of the poshest clubs in the UK and described in a Top 100 Golf Courses review as ‘frozen in time’ and ‘totally eccentric’. The club boasts a Prince and a Duke and all sorts of minor aristocracy amongst its membership.
On the first tee, this young man produced a yellow ball and was about to place it when there was a polite cough from a member who told him that “we don’t use yellow balls here.” Oh the mortification!
I’ve never been able to bring myself to use a yellow ball since I heard that story, except once when it started to snow mid-round. (My goodness I was keen in those days).
Until now that is. A really quite pretty revolution is taking place in golf ball style and you are very likely to see bowls of coloured balls on pro shop counters all over the country - blue, yellow, pink, purple and luminous green.
It appears that the golf ball manufacturer Volvik is breaking the mould with their new matte-finished VIVID golf balls. They also produce another type of coloured ball, used by double Masters winner Bubba Watson, but they’re nowhere near as exciting with their shinier finish.
There’s fashion and design in everything - clothes, food, furniture and golf equipment. We used to have hickory shafts. Now it’s titanium so why not a new style of golf ball?
The unique selling point is their visibility. You can see them clearly in flight and they’re so much easier to find in the heather, which brings me back to the very heathery Swinley Forest. Surely they won’t be selling them there? But I phoned and they are, and when they first appeared in the pro shop, I’m told they were a big hit, if you will forgive the pun. Even the green balls show up against grass although my personal favourite is the blue.
When I’m scanning the fairways for my ball, I get a sort of impression of blue as my eyes move around. Although I still can’t actually make out its shape till I get closer, I know it’s there because a blue blur has registered somewhere behind my eyeballs. Blue balls still get some funny looks when you put them in the ball chute, but who cares if you can see where you are in the queue from the putting green. There’s something about the focus too that I can’t quite explain except to say that when I look down at a blue ball on the tee, I really see it...
This is just a snippet of Philippa Kennedy's full article in the latest issue of Women & Golf magazine. You can pick up Women & Golf, on sale now, or click here to subscribe now to read the full feature and enjoy W&G delivered to your door!
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