Saturday, October 27, 2018

Excerpt from Ch. 26 Bad Golf Made Easy - Trouble-shooting Around the Course

Sidehill putts
Golfers are often left with sidehill putts because green designers like slopes on greens in part because they are megalomaniacal sadists who revel in destroying the spirit of golfers. And in part because the slopes facilitate the drainage of water and increase the difficulty of putting. You might have a ball that breaks left or it may break to the right. It may be slightly or drastically uphill or downhill. Gravity is the force which causes the ball to arc downward on a slope trending towards the center of the earth, i.e., the center of the force of gravity. As the formula below clearly demonstrates, where a=acceleration, G=gravitational constant, M=mass, r=radius of the Earth, acceleration due to gravity is roughly 32 feet per second per second.
You must keep all this in mind as you determine the speed and direction of your putt. There are an infinite number of combinations of speed and direction which will result in your ball falling the last few inches into the cup toward the center of the earth on any given 8-foot putt. The fact that there an infinite number of combinations would lead one to believe these putts could never be missed. However, there are an even greater number of infinite combinations of speed and direction which will not result in your ball falling the last few inches toward the center of the earth on any given 8-foot putt.

If say, you aim 12 inches to the right of the hole, and putt the ball with force of x, it may or may not go in, but if you aim 12 inches to the right of the hole and putt the ball with force of x-5, it might just go in. In other words, a putt aimed 11 inches to the right would have to be struck slightly harder thus increasing its velocity reducing the force of gravity’s effect on the ball as it approached the cup. This can be further complicated by the fact that the farther to the right you aim, you may actually be putting uphill for the beginning portion of the downhill putt. You must calculate the first gravitational effect on the putt for its uphill portion of the journey as well. So the formula is something like infinity #1 (the uphill portion of the downhill putt) plus infinity #2 (the downhill portion of the downhill putt) times 32 feet per second per second. In other words: The standard form is (x - h)2 = 4p (y - k), where the focus is (h, k + p) and the directrix is y = k - p. If the parabola is rotated so that its vertex is (h,k) and its axis of symmetry is parallel to the x-axis, it has an equation of (y - k)2 = 4p (x - h), where the focus is (h + p, k) and the directrix is x = h - p.
Sometimes a green will have multiple breaks, sloping to the left and then sloping to right, or vice versa, in which case you have an even greater number of infinite combinations of speed and direction. How one infinity can be greater than another infinity? you ask. Well, this is, I am sure, a philosophical and mathematical conundrum and the source of great speculation (see Georg Cantor, German mathematician on the “cardinality of the continuum” or Liebniz; also see Aristotle’s discussion regarding the potential infinite and the actual infinite; and my question, for example, would be: can more angels dance on the head of two pins than on one pin?”). But on the golf course these infinities are not abstract, they are the difference between a par and a bogey, the difference between having a 12-inch tap in par putt or a 5-foot uphill sidehill comeback putt.
When putting, golfers must also decide on whether to increase the speed of putt slightly thus allowing gravity less time for that 32 feet per second per second to influence the curvature of the line of the putt or to decrease the speed thus allowing gravity more time for that 32 feet per second per second to influence said curvature. A common mistake is to pick the “slow line” and hit it the “fast line” intended velocity or to do the opposite, pick the “fast line” and hit the putt the “slow line” velocity. That seldom works. So don’t do that. And keep in mind that friction of the ball rolling on the green will slow the velocity of the ball thus increasing its break as the force of gravity works its magic. The Standard Friction Equation is:
Fr = μrN
Dividing by N, you can get the equation for the coefficient of rolling friction:
μr = Fr/N
• μr is the coefficient of rolling friction for the two surfaces (Greek letter "mu" sub r)
• Fr is the resistive force of rolling friction
• N is the normal or perpendicular force of the wheel on a surface
As you can see, this is not rocket science.
Occasionally, the force of gravity is greater than the friction of the ball on a downhill sidehill putt and you may actually putt the ball completely off the green. This is embarrassing when it happens, as you clearly either forgot or misapplied the standard equation for rolling friction coeffiecient. Duh. In US Open and other golf tournaments, greens often are virtually frictionless due to the secret application of Teflon mist during the overnight hours. A ball sent in motion will continue with no apparent deceleration whatsoever as the force of gravity is greater than the now frictionless putting surface.
More often, a player fails to recognize the gravity of the situation as happened to Ollie Schneiderjans in the Phoenix Waste Management Tournament in Feb. of 2018. Ollie had a 74-foot putt for eagle after driving the green on the par 4 17th hole. He misjudged both speed and direction and hit his putt too hard and rolled it into a pond as the gravitational forces increased when the ball left the putting surface and accelerated 32 ft per second per second minus the slight deceleration due to the bouncing ball’s friction as it contacted the grass of the fringe down the slope leading to the water. After a penalty stroke and a drop, he finished with a bogey. The video of the event shows him pointing to his brain after the putt clearly indicating he had failed to use the above gravitational formula in attempting this putt.
And while it is true that gravitational forces can vary from place to place due to density differences in the crust and mantle of the earth, or the distance from the center of the earth’s gravitational influence, and even on how fast time happens, these differences are minute and likely play no role in making an 8-foot sidehill, downhill, breaking putt.

A tip - avoid the "power lip-out." This occurs when the ball becomes influenced by the micro-gravity well at the time/space continuum event horizon of the cup. On a cup cut into a sloping green, one side of the slope is higher than the other and the difference is a variable [r=radius] in the gravitational acceleration formula above. An eighth of an inch or a quarter of an inch may not seem like much, but when applied to Newton's First Law of Motion in which Force = Mass x Acceleration, it can mean the difference between a birdie and a bogey. As the ball enters the cup it accelerates toward the center of gravity of the Earth and 32 feet per second per second. When (r=3959 miles) you get one result; however, when (r=3959 miles -1/4 inch) you get a different result. Not including that radii differential in your calculations is an egregious error. If a ball is struck ever slightly too firmly and the gravity well event horizon of the cup is unable to overcome the inertial forces of the ball in motion, and you manage to find that one out of an infinite number of combinations of speed and direction, the ball may accelerate as it moves toward the gravitational center of the earth, dip slightly below the planar surface of the opening and if the downward slope of the cup edge is greater than the gravitational forces can overcome, the ball may then escape the gravity well and accelerate away from the hole at a greater speed than which it entered the cup. And instead of making a more or less routine two foot tap-in putt for birdie, you are left with a six-foot comeback putt, albeit a straighter putt for par. NASA often "slingshots" satellites in a similar acceleration maneuver around the sun or planets in our solar system thus applying the gravity well acceleration principles of physics to spacecraft moving among the heavenly bodies. This part of golf may actually BE rocket science as this diagram (Figure 1) clearly illustrates.

In addition, even on level putts, a golfer may perceive the ball lip out of the cup under certain circumstances at a greater speed than that which it entered the cup. This perception may be influenced by the adrenalin pumping into the golfer’s system accompanied by a loud vocalized obscenity as the ball exits the cup. Alcoholic consumption may also be a factor in 1) mis-hitting the putt in the first place, and 2) the above mentioned perception. But this perception is an illusion. Laws of angular momentum (Figure 2)would state that as the lesser diameter areas of the ball rotate against the cup edge, negative acceleration would occur in addition to the gravitational deceleration which would occur as the ball moved away from the center of gravity.
However, laws of angular momentum do apply for a sidehill downhill or uphill putt because when the diameter of the ball’s surface touching the cup edge increases as the ball enters the planar surface of the cup hole, the center of mass of the ball decreases the distance to the imaginary rotational center of the void of the hole, and thus speeds up as if a ballerina were bringing her arms toward her center of mass. In other words, in modern (20th century) theoretical physics, angular momentum (not including any intrinsic angular momentum –) is described using a different formalism, instead of a classical pseudovector. In this formalism, angular momentum is the 2-form Noether charge associated with rotational invariance. As a result, angular momentum is not conserved for general curved spacetimes, unless it happens to be asymptotically rotationally invariant as you can plainly see in the accompanying Figure 3.

So with all this in mind, my advice is keep it simple: when faced with that 8 foot sidehill downhill, breaking putt just remember the gravitational acceleration rate, the formula for the arc of a parabola, the potential and actual infinities of speed and direction from which you can choose, the cardinality of the continuum, the law of the conservation of angular momentum, the rolling friction coefficient of the ball on the grass due to grass cut length, the rate at which the grass has grown since last mown, the direction of the grain, the moisture content of the grass blade, the surface wind, the barometric pressure, the air temperature, whether you are playing a 2, 3, 4, or 5 layer ball, the shape and configuration of the dimples of the ball and how that relates to the force you use to contact the ball with the putter surface, the composition of the ball cover and its shock absorbing characteristics when struck with the putter surface, milled, or un-milled; try to avoid striking the ball on the edge of a dimple, avoid the power lip-out, stay calm, exhale, close your eyes, and proceed to attempt the putt forthwith as your playing partners and players standing on the tee box behind you have been watching you figure all this out for some time now are getting impatient with your dithering.

Friday, October 05, 2018

2019 Calendar Email me at artbycassiday@coxnet

2019 Art by Cassiday Calendars - $20
Thank you to all who purchased my 2018 Art by Bud Cassiday calendars. I am now taking orders for my 2019 calendars. Email me at I’d like to share with some of the encouragement I’ve received from artists I admire and some undoubtedly true stories I’ve heard from my customers.

"I love his colors and irreverance and outlook on life. He reminds me of my husband, Diego Rivera. Bud's a wonderful man. I have several of his calendars." - Frida Kahlo

Hans Hofmann just texted me that he was pleased by my use of color and texture devoid of comprehensible structure as an element of the failure of the communication nexus of the synthetic moral construction of epistemic communalism and the contextual disorientation of post-modern America, particularly in my happy dogs playing musical instruments. He ordered two.

"His work is so colorful and glimmers on the canvas. When I see his ocean villages, I can taste the salt air! His use of colors is exquisite. I learned so much from him that summer he spent with me at Arles. We painted every day. It was amazing to watch him -- he became the landscape. And the peasants loved him. He was so kind. And those evenings with Gaugin........... We both have his calendars. Love the guy. I'll send him my other ear someday." - Vincent van Gogh

"Bud would be totally embarrassed to know I am writing on his behalf, but I had him in mind when I painted "Whamm!" He is one of the few who understood Pop Art and the counter-cultural underground and the appropriation of art by consumerism. He taught me to work from sketches. A real smart man and fine artist. I have all his calendars. Without him, I wouldn't know what day it is." - Roy Lichtenstein

"Bud Cassiday? Sure I know him. I love his action art. He gave me the idea. My "Galaxy" painting was inspired by his work. He has such a free-flowing style; abstract expressionism would not have happened but for him. He introduced me to Peggy Guggenheim. I owe him so much. And we have a lot in common. We both lived in Wyoming as children; his son and I share a January 28 birthday. We always exchange birthday cards. And I loved his 1956 Buick Roadmaster. It was a lot like my Pontiac. His work in mixed media and textural painting is remarkable. If you haven't gotten a calendar yet, you should. And Lee Krasner and Bud are such good friends. I love him like a brother. He should charge a lot more for those calendars. " -- Jackson Pollock

Dear Bud: I'd like three of your excellent calendars. I understand they are only $20 each. I love your synaesthetic art. I consider you a find practitioner of synaesthetism of a high order. I wonder though what you think of the synchronic anti-modalism of the experiential synaptic cascade phenomenon in relation to the theosophic rather than spiritual/archetypal scaffolding paradigm? I would most interested. Sincerely, Wassily Kandinsky.

Dear Bud - even though I've been dead since 1995, I'd like to say thanks for watching my tv show and I love your Happy Dogs. I painted happy trees which are different than Happy Dogs, but they both are happy. I love happy trees, and clouds, and bushes, and rocks, and barns, and birds. Just remember, there are no mistakes, only happy accidents. Oops, I just spilled my f****** coffee. Sh**. ps. I'll take two calendars. – Your admirer, Bob Ross

"I love Cassiday's art, his inquisitiveness, his love of science and discovery. I always chuckle when I see one of his Happy Dog paintings. I wish I had thought of that. And who doesn't love dogs? I do. And his chicken paintings are a delight, especially those on the motorcycles. I've known him for years and we talk regularly, especially when I need inspiration. He's such an interesting and resourceful fellow. If he ever does a calendar for 1516, I'm ordering several. One for me and several for my friends." -Leonardo Da Vinci

Deconstructing the human form and reconstructing it again is the ultimate creative and destructive act. Cassiday achieves the symbiosis of chaos and order necessarily present in a post modern yet pre-apocalyptic world. Combining the musical whimsy of a happy dog and the entropy of a darkened universe on a space/time horizon is no small achievement. Cassiday does neither and both. – Andy Warhol

The artistic compulsion to semiotism is antecedent to postmodern antithetic nihilism in its psychogenic pathos. Sans an ego-destructive narcissism, we are but communal archetypes in a creative and cyclical neurogenesis. Or, you know, like whatever, dude. – Michel Foucalt

"Art is its own excuse, and it’s either Art or it’s something else. It’s either a poem or a piece of cheese." Or a Cassiday calendar. - Charles Bukowski

Other news:
Hector Eduardo Rodriguez is a veterinarian in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he has a successful business that treats large animals. He and his wife, Concelita, have four wonderful children. She is a Doctor at the local health clinic known for her caring and healing skills. Their children all excel in their schooling and want to follow in the footsteps of their parents. “We love our parents,” they all say. “They are respected by the whole town, they treat us so well, and they are so understanding and fun to be with. We want to be like them when we grow up. And it is all because they have 11” x 17” wall calendars.” They go on: “Without their 11” x 17” wall calendars, they would have arrived late for their universities. They would have not become the doctors everyone loves. They owe it all to Bud Cassiday, Papillion, Ne. And the calendars are only $20. We love him so much.” This is a true story.

Sally McSweeney, 35, worked at The Adams Agency, an advertising company in Lubbock, Texas. She had worked for 8 long grueling months to land the contract of an important aerospace industry and planned to meet them in Chicago on Nov. 8, 2016. She had worked weekends. She had worked long hours. She lost track of time. She had prepared extensively for the meeting with her financial projections, her audience analysis, her list of prospective customers. And she was ready; however, she had no calendar, in particular an 11” x 17” wall calendar. She went to Chicago on the wrong day losing the account and her job. Heartbroken, she thought, “If only I had a wall calendar, I could have written those important meetings on the right days instead of putting all that work in for nothing.” Don’t let what happened to Sally happen to you. Don’t lose track of time. Don’t miss that Chicago aerospace contract. Order a calendar today, preferably an Art by Cassiday 2019 calendar for only $20.

Jonathan Wormington Smythe Winfield woke with a nagging suspicion he had missed something the day before. "What is the date today?" he wondered. "What month is it?" he worried. "If only I had a calendar, " he thought, "I wouldn't have missed that important job interview and my life would be better." He pulled himself out of bed, sorted through the pile of soiled clothing on the floor and found his favorite underwear, a pair of black socks, the jeans he'd worn for seven consecutive days, smelled a t-shirt just to be sure it was okay to wear, and found a sweatshirt wadded up at the bottom of the pile. "Where, oh where, can I buy a calendar" he thought. "If only I'd had one, my life would be so much better. And an art calendar! That's what I need. Every day I can be amused and inspired by the monthly original art featured." So he remembered he had seen calendars by a Papillion artist. "$20?" he thought. "Heck, I can afford that and my life will be so much better." So he bought one and his life became so much better. He knew what day it was, what month it was, and knew Christmas was on Dec. 25. He found a good job, has a girl friend, moved into his own apartment, now remembers his mother's birthday, and is saving his money to buy a new car. This story is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


Prez what's his face's lawyer, Rudy Guliani, today released what he thought were appropriate questions to be asked by special prosecutor Robert Mueller:

Mr. President, what is your favorite color?

Mr. President, do you like ducks?

Mr. President, what is your favorite dessert?

Mr. President, why are you the greatest president ever?

Mr. President, why do you like golf?

Mr. President, do you put ketchup on hot dogs?

Mr. President, who is your favorite movie star?

Mr. President, I see we are out of time. One last question. Do you like Jello?


Whiskey - A Poem

I like whiskey

in a glass filled with ice.

I fill the glass with ice

and pour the whiskey

into the spaces between the cubes.

The first inch or so of the drink

is almost all whiskey.

After that, melting ice

tempers the bourbon’s bite.

My life now is that last inch or so

of the glass, diluted by experience,

joys and disappointments.

Time has melted the burn

of the drink.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Chapter 22 of Bad Golf Made Easy and/or Funner - Singular Achievements and Shooting Your Age

22) Singular Achievements and Shooting Your Age

Speaking of singular achievements, good golfers can chase a hole-in-one their entire golfing life and not get one. It took me about 55 years to get one. My regular playing partners have at least 7 among them which irritates me to no end. One got two in the same week on two different continents. I see stories about 10-year-old kids getting one on the first round of their lives. I want to hunt them down and run them over with a golf cart. I’ve seen ugly holes-in-one where players mishit their shots and roll and bounce the ball onto the green and it somehow hits the pin and drops in the hole. The mother of a former girlfriend did that. I think I missed the green with my shot I was so rattled. Holes-in-one are most often gotten on par 3 holes. But holes-in-one have been recorded on par 4 holes and even par 5 holes. A hole-in-one on a par 5 hole is called a condor, and as you might imagine is quite rare and almost always involves cutting the corners of a dogleg over trees to accomplish. A great deal of skill is required for any of these, as well as considerable blind luck. By the way, for a many years the world record length for a straight-line hole-in-one was from Omaha, Ne at Miracle Hills Golf Course: it was hit by Robert Mitera on October 7, 1965, at the Miracle Hills Golf Club in Omaha, Nebraska. Mitera used his driver to ace the 10th hole from 444 yards! Mitera couldn't even see the flag from where he teed off. He only realized he'd aced the hole when he arrived at the green and another golfer told him his ball was in the hole. According to Golf Today’s web page, “a condor was scored without cutting over a dogleg by Mike Crean at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver, Colorado, in 2002, when he holed his drive at the 517 yard par-5 9th.” This is longest straight line hole-in-one on record now and was aided by the altitude and thin air of 'mile-high' Denver.

A double-eagle is also a quite rare bird, called an albatross. That’s a 2 on a par 5 hole. The odds are about 6 million to one on that. Unlike Samuel Taylor Coleridge's “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” in which shooting an albatross leads to great misfortune, the one I shot lead to no misfortune, and in fact, I won a couple of bucks on it. I shot my albatross years ago at Benson Golf Course in Omaha, the par 5 11th hole, using a 3 wood and 7 iron. I must have hit the ball much farther back then. I knew I hit a good second shot but didn’t see it go in because of sun’s glare off the brown, shiny grass. As I approached the green, I mentioned to my playing partners that I had hit a good shot but that I couldn’t see it anywhere. “It was going right at it,” I said. One of my playing partners, Ray, I think, checked the hole, and there it was. When we play that same hole, I will often ask my playing partners who were with me that day if I ever told them the story of that shot. I think I’ve asked them that at least a hundred times since then. They never tire of it, I’m sure.

Shooting your age is another rare feat. One internet golf site says the odds are 1 in a million which is about six times more likely than the double-eagle. Only the best golfers in their primes can shoot a 68, for example, and that is usually in their younger years. For a 68-year-old to shoot a 68 is quite an accomplishment. It’s all about where physical golf skill and actuarial tables intersect on a line graph. For example, a score of 130 is very achievable by even the average duffer, but living to be 130 in order to do that is not nearly as easy. Virtually any old 160 old grandmother in good physical condition could do it. Ages 72-80 seem to be the most likely range of the intersection of good health and good scoring for a good golfer.

According to an internet golf records site, a guy named Bob Hamilton, the 1944 PGA Championship winner, shot his age of 59 at Hamilton Golf Club in Evansville, Ind., in 1975. “The oldest golfer to shoot his age was 103-year-old Arthur Thompson of Victoria, British Columbia. Thompson was playing the Uplands Golf Club in Victoria when he accomplished the feat in 1972.” And finally, T. Edison Smith, of Moorhead, Minnesota, shot his age an amazing 3,359 times before dying at the age of 98 in 2012. He apparently golfed a lot.
I’ve shot my friend’s age with a 71 last year, but I was 66, and it was my friend who was 71, so it didn’t really count. I’ve shot the temperature many times before on 75 or 80 degree days. The best score I ever had on a full-sized 18 hole course was a 67. I am now 67. Therefore, shooting my age now seems a possibility. I will sometimes play the senior tees which would seem to be my best chance to do this in the next few years. I figure I’ve probably got maybe 10 to 20 years years to accomplish this depending on mortality factors. My dad lived to be 89.

The most important elements in this probability equation is play lots of golf and don’t die.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The late afternoon of my life

I was writing an email about availability for an event and observed the difference between "afternoon" and "after noon." The former suggests a several hour block of time, and the latter suggests a point in time after which I'm available with no limit on the availability, that is, no end time. "Afternoon" ends at 6 pm. "After noon" never ends unless one suggests an expiration date of twenty-four hours when the nuances start all over again. And then I contemplated whether there is a difference between "anytime" and "any time." Again, there does seem to be a difference with the latter being a more specific point in time. The first seems to emphasize "any" and the second seems to emphasize "time."

In speech, though, it seems these nuances would be more difficult to interpret in that there is perhaps only the slightest difference in accent, or timing, or breaks between each word, or slightly longer puffs of air after the "t" in "time." And since both "r" and "n" are voiced in both "afternoon" and "after noon," they glide into each other continuously with no break. Further, we'd probably say "I'm available after noon" and "I'm available in the afternoon" reinforcing the difference in meaning. However, "I'm available any time" or "I'm available anytime" are written the same and sound nearly the same with just an ever-so-slightly stronger "t" on the "any time."

It should be noted that the one word formulation, "anytime," does not appear in English until the 1926 in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, according to Grammarist, and is used as an adverb and cannot be used with a preposition like "at," so "at any time" would be required, according to Grammarly. "Anytime" does appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, but the earliest noted usage was 1932 in a William Faulkner novel, Light in August, xv., 341 - "If you want to get to Jefferson anytime soon, you'd better go to town and hire a car." "Afternoon" and "after noon" both appear in the OED with their first written usage dating from the 1330s although standardized spelling was a later development. "Afternoon" also has metaphoric associations - "I am in the late afternoon of my life."

“Anymore” and “any more” is another interesting pair. In the latter “any” is an adjective modifying “more.” “Anymore” is an adverb, and first appeared in the 14th century, as in “I don’t like you anymore.” If you said, “I don’t like you any more,” a possible conclusion is you don’t like me any less either. It’s is rather neutral and it might very well be that you still like me. However, if you say, “I don’t like you anymore,” that’s the kiss of death. You have lost a friend. That translates to “I don’t like you at all now.”
In written English, the space between the words, or lack of space, determines which is the intended meaning. In spoken English, it is a combination of context and accent. If I ask you, “Do you like me any less?” and you say “I don’t like you any more” the context suggests you still like me but I’d better not push my luck. If you say “I don’t like you anymore,” the “a” is accented heavier than the “m.” If you say “any more,” then there seems to be a stronger accent on the “m.” Yogi Berra is famous for saying, “It’s too crowded; nobody goes there anymore.” I’m going to dig more into this sometime when I have some time.

Monday, February 05, 2018

I Love My Mother, but.................

I buy groceries for my mother each Sunday after church. She is 92. She leaves me a phone message with her list and I stop at the Baker’s on Saddle Creek and Leavenworth on the way to her apartment. It’s not a long list usually, maybe a dozen items, and it’s usually fairly predictable. And every so often, I will need to do a secondary stop at the HyVee since Baker’s does not carry the 39 serving Nestle’s chocolate mix she wants. And this is fine. And by the way, Bakers is the only supplier of pina colada yogurt or the broccoli salad that she likes. Or sometimes I will make a pharmacy run for vitamin supplements, or other medical supplies. But I cope with all this because she is, well, you know, my mother.

Every so often, though, Mother will throw a grocery list curve ball that disrupts my understanding of life and decorum and tradition and from which it takes a while to recover. A staple on her grocery lists for years has always been Honey Nut Cheerios. Two large boxes. For years. I know exactly where to find them in the cereal department. The large boxes are on the bottom shelf about half way down the aisle. So out of nowhere and with no warning about four months ago, Mother decides she wants Corn Flakes instead. Not Honey Nut Cheerios which is the norm, the custom, the historically recognized breakfast cereal. But two boxes of Corn Flakes. “Why now?” I wonder. Is it something I did? Is this my fault? What’s next, Shredded Wheat? Rice Krispies? Cocoa Puffs? This is way out of my comfort zone. But I persevere. I adjust to the changing circumstances of life. I search for and locate the Corn Flakes. I pass by the Honey Nut Cheerios in the aisle and I feel them looking at me wondering what is wrong. But I keep right on going until I get to the Corn Flakes and get two large boxes. All is well. I’ll be okay.

But today, Mother’s grocery list called for one box of Honey Nut Cheerios and one box of Corn Flakes. And I’m not even used to getting the Corn Flakes yet. Sometimes the burdens we must bear can be overwhelming. But I shall persevere. I will adapt. I will go along as the dutiful son. And I haven’t even gone into the time she asked me go get “about three” bananas.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Our Ancestors Played with Hairy Balls

Chapter 20) Our Ancestors had Hairy Balls

Ball Selection – This is a serious matter. Covers, compression, construction, spin-rate, and dimples. Golf balls are round. Smooth round doesn’t fly through the air all that well so early golf geniuses added cuts and scrapes, bumps, and later, dimples. Dimples have been round, square, and hexagonal. They may be shallow or ever-so-less shallow. Turbulence and laminar flow are concepts in modern golf ball design and jet aircraft flight.
History of the Ball 1486 to 1898: wooden, hairy, featherie, gutta, and Haskell. Wooden – pretty self explanatory; they used beech. A guy with a pocket knife carved them. Hairy balls? An advance. I wonder if there any possible jokes there? Both the hairy and the featherie were leather covered and filled with cow hair, and later chicken or goose feathers. Made while wet, the hair, feathers, and leather shrank and hardened when dry. The gutta was made from dried sap of the Malaysian sapodilla tree and was the first one-piece ball. I don’t think the Malaysians were big golfers though. I could be wrong. The evolution from cow hair to feathers was not a change Darwin paid attention to, but the gutta advanced golf and lowered handicaps everywhere, traveling farther and straighter. In fact, golfers noted the more nicks and bumps on a gutta ball, the farther and straighter it traveled, leading to the modern dimples. The Haskell is so named for the guy in 1898 who first wound long rubber strands into a ball and noticed it bounced pretty high. It was covered with the sap of the balata tree, and voila!, a balata covered golf ball. Balata has since met its evolutionary dead end. That pretty much covers golf balls from 1486 to the later twentieth century. I once removed the cover of a 1950s wound ball and stretched the continuous rubber band around our house in Sheridan, Wyoming. As I remember, it went around that three-bedroom bungalow four times. It had a steel ball bearing at the center. A later development of the wound ball was a liquid center. Modern golf ball design gets a bit more complicated.

History of the Dimple – There’s nothing like a dimple on the cheek of a cute girl, or guy, depending on which way you swing, so to speak, or on a golf ball. From the whack marks on a gutta to the modern Isocohedronic pattern on a Titleist, dimples make everyone smile. An internet spreadsheet list every ball, every dimple configuration and number, and the characteristics thereof (see I found this from a University of Budapest article on golf ball dimples: “The number of dimples and nodes (dimple sizes) is not arbitrary. The optimum dimple number has been defined at about 350 to 450 per ball, but the number of dimples can vary from 252 to 500 dimples per ball. Some of the most popular number of dimples, according to Tibor Tarnai, an engineer at the Technical University of Budapest, are 332, 360, 384, 392, 416, 420, 432 and 480, all of which are found in commercial balls. There is also a tendency to produce dimple patterns with the highest order of symmetry, leading from the Octahedron pattern, which divides the golf ball’s surface in eight identical triangles to the Icosahedron pattern, created by Titleist in 1973, dividing the ball’s surface into 20 identical triangles.”
Covers - Balata, Surlyn/Ionomer, trionomer, or urethane covers. Balata covers are rare these days. Surlyn and the ionomers are the most durable; urethane affords more spin. Surlyn is made by DuPont which says, “Surlyn brand resins are unique ionomer-class molding and extrusion materials created from DuPont proprietary acid copolymers. Starting with selected molecular weight grades of copolymers such as ethylene/methacrylic acid, DuPont adds zinc, sodium, lithium or other metal salts. Acid neutralization results in the formation of ion clusters (hence the general term, "ionomer") within the resulting polymer matrix.” Urethanes “ are made by the exothermic reactions between alcohols with two or more reactive hydroxyl (-OH) groups per molecule (diols, triols, polyols) and isocyanates that have more than one reactive isocyanate group (-NCO) per molecule (diisocyanates, polyisocyanates).” So, there you go: surlyn covers are hard and durable, urethanes are softer.

Construction - 2 piece, 3 piece, 4 piece, and now even 5 piece. Layers of soft and hard materials make a difference according to the swing speed of the golfer so you get more distance in a drive or more action around a green depending on how much you compress the ball with the strike of the club, that is, at which layer your club no longer compresses the ball. Golf Week says, “Three-piece balls used to feature threads of rubber or elastic wound tightly around the core. The cores of today’s balls are generally wrapped with synthetic rubber or plastic. Some Titleist balls, for example, use thermoplastic resins called ionomers. Nike surrounds its resin-center ball with synthetic rubber. Other balls are referred to as “dual core” because the core and the next layer or layers are all made of synthetic rubber. As of 2012, the most complex balls contain five pieces, including the cover. TaylorMade produced the first five-piece ball, containing a small rubber core surrounded by three progressively firmer layers made from synthetic rubber, HPF 1000 (an ionomer resin) and thermoplastic, respectively.”

I do not currently believe the color of a golf ball is a significant factor; however, I think studies should be done on the variations in color and how that affects the motor-neuron- synaptic firing sequence when mentally processing the golf swing -- just in case.

I play found balls, that is, balls I find while playing. And given the numbers of bad golfers out there who buy decent golf balls, no shortage of decent lost balls exists. When I play, I will often walk along the edges of tree lines, or higher grass cuts, with my eye searching for that glimpse of white, yellow, or orange that could be a ball. There are a select few “ball rich” environments I tend to concentrate on like the right side of hole #14 at Shoreline, or the long grasses along the creeks of most courses. I think this harkens back to the days when I learned to play on a sand green, nine-hole course, carved out of McCracken’s pasture in Friend, Ne. I couldn’t afford to buy balls, so I’d bike the two or three miles out there and look for balls in the farm fields bordering the course. One time, Barb McCracken, brought me a glass of water when she saw me out there. I liked her. This has afforded me the chance to hit hundreds of differently manufactured golf balls. I play a variety of balls. I do avoid water balls though.
If you do the permutations of dimple patterns, size, depth, cover compositions, compression, spin rates, construction elements, you come up with about seven trillion possibilities which is about seven trillion more than the average 10 handicapper can process. So close your eyes and just grab a box of Pinnacles, Srixons, Titleists, or Callaways, or virtually any brand, off the shelf and go forth. You are most likely not discerning enough to notice the difference. Advanced golfers and/or anal-retentive personality types – see Ch. 12.