Ken Hambleton: The problem with new Polara golf ball? It works

2011-06-09T10:30:00Z 2012-02-06T13:06:49Z Ken Hambleton: The problem with new Polara golf ball? It works
June 09, 2011 10:30 am

The ball part II.

A week ago we discussed the Polara golf ball and dismissed it as being against the rules, therefore unworthy of your attention.

However, in fairness, we interviewed David Felker, one of the key players in the development of the new Polara ball -- which cures the slice and hook.

Felker noted: "The reason people play golf is to have fun. About 1,000 courses of the 16,000 courses in the country are in or near bankruptcy. Golf courses are averaging fewer than 33,000 rounds a year -- which is usually the break-even point. A large majority of golfers do not have a handicap, do not know the rules and don't care all that much. We play with mulligans, lateral drops from hits out of bounds and allow gimme putts.

"So why not play a golf ball that makes the game more fun, quicker (because you don't spend as much time looking for it), less expensive (don't lose as many balls), and could bring new players to the game and bring former players back?"

The problem with the latest version of Polara -- developed by Felker, who worked in plastics for Dupont and Callaway in research and development -- is that it works.

Golf shows, The New York Times, CNBC and Bloomberg have all demonstrated the new ball.

Remember, the USGA does not allow the ball for competition under the dimple symmetry rule. But the USGA also does not allow more than 14 clubs in a bag, two-faced chippers, the follow through of hitting a shot, grounding the club in a hazard, reaching into your pocket and even putting down a towel to hit a shot off your knees.

"We changed the dimple design from the original Polara back in the 1970s, and we understand why it works," Felker said. Shallow dimples on the equator and deeper dimples on the poles produce a specific principle of inertia that, when rotating, creates lower lift and lower drag … a drastically reduced slice or hook. Hit the ball where the arrow points and you get the benefits. Hit the ball with the arrow pointed somewhere else and you get a flight similar to most golf balls.

"Look, statistics show 80 percent of golfers don't have handicaps, score 106 for 18 holes and drive less than 200 yards," Felker said. "We have a ball that is disqualified from USGA competition and we believe in the value of lessons.

"This worked for tennis with oversize rackets. It worked in softball by switching from fast pitch to slow pitch. It even worked in car racing by adding different classes, from rookie to F1."

If you're interested, you can get more information at

Reach Ken Hambleton at 402-473-7313 or


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Steven M. Sipple | Lincoln Journal Star

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

Ken Hambleton | Lincoln Journal Star

Ken grew up in Chicago and is a Doane College grad. His Mr. Sportsknowitall column appears Sundays, and he covers a variety of beats.

Brian Christopherson | Lincoln Journal Star

Brian graduated from UNL and has covered Husker football since the Solich years. He's in his seventh year as the NU football beat writer for the Journal Star.

Brian Rosenthal | Lincoln Journal Star

Brian is a Hastings College grad and has covered NU sports for the Journal Star since 2001. He also had stops at the Hutchison News and York News-Times.

Ryly Jane Hambleton | Lincoln Journal Star

A Scottsbluff native, Ryly Jane graduated from UNL and started at the Journal Star in 1974. She covers prep football, boys basketball and baseball.

Ron Powell | Lincoln Journal Star

Ron is a long-time prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers prep volleyball, girls basketball and tennis in addition to Husker and pro tennis.

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