Parachute golf balls somehow fascinate me. I think they remind me of all those cool gadgets, tricks and oddities in the back of 1970’s comic books I used to drool and dream about. I thought it might be a fun little holiday post – just something a bit different that hopefully you’ll enjoy.
I can see these soon to be taking over your practice sessions. Just a big bucket of balls with parachutes on them. I mean you’ll only hit your driver about a buck 125 but heck, you’ll save on the walking to retreive them.
I received this reply below to an article I wrote a while back called, “Wackiest Training Aid: Parachute Golf Balls”
I wanted to share it with you as it has some wonderful additional information about these “parachute golf balls” from our friend Doug who resides in Scotland from Antique Golf Clubs.
REPLY BEGINS BELOW
“I happened across your piece on: Wackiest Training Aid: Parachute Golf Balls. Often in golf design (and particularly with golf balls) there are madcap ideas which appear and disappear without trace, never to be heard of again.
Some which spring to mind are a radium-cored golf ball (in the late 1950s enthusiasm for all things ‘nuclear’; a 1912 patent where ‘the core of a golf or other ball consists of a bull’s penis first prepared by skinning or drying; or, in keeping with your love of GI Joe, the 1901 Saunders patent for balls with a compressed air centre – they had an alarming tendency to explode in mid-air).
Oddly enough, the parachute ball is not one of these – it has been popping up in various guises for the last hundred years.
The best-known parachute ball to collectors is the J B Halley model of the 1920s (see top photo) but there are earlier examples. I have seen, at auction, a “Hopper” bramble ball (ca 1900-1905) fitted with a parachute.
Whether this was a private piece of ingenuity or a patented design, I don’t know, UK patents are rather hard to research than US ones but certainly “The Hopper” was available as a ‘normal’ ball without parachute.
Even into the 1920s it made sense to look after golf balls: the relative cost of golf ball to golf club was much higher in the early days. In 1905-1910 a club would only cost approximately two and a half to three times the price of a golf ball.
However, there are patents granted in the US for parachuting golf balls in
So this is an idea which has persisted.
If you have not already come across it, I recommend The Curious History of the Golf Ball, Mankind’s Most Fascinating Sphere
Antique Golf Clubs from Scotland
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