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Interior Design
April 23, 2014 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Curiosity led me to cut my collection of golf balls in half to see what the cores looked like. 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.
posted by timshel (34 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dragonfruit
Hard Boiled Egg, Inverted (Also possibly butter. Or frosting..)
Dragon Embryo
Window to the Universe

Also what is the shiny stuff in some of these?
posted by royalsong at 8:18 AM on April 23


The golf balls look like Kenneth Nolan paintings from the late 1950's!
posted by R. Mutt at 8:20 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


I like things that look like planets that are not planets.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:20 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


These are great.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:29 AM on April 23


Sort of wish there were some details about the brands so I could go chop up some of the good ones on my own.
posted by SharkParty at 8:29 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


The Window to the Universe makes me feel as though I'm tumbling into my own portal ala Being John Malkovich.
posted by Llama-Lime at 8:34 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Sort of wish there were some details about the brands...

Yeah, I was hoping he'd identify the balls, too. It seems like an obvious thing to do. Cool pics, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on April 23


Also what is the shiny stuff in some of these?

I think it's tungsten.
posted by mullacc at 8:37 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Interesting, but yes, definitely would be good to see labels for brand/type of ball. Range ball vs topflite, etc.
posted by k5.user at 8:41 AM on April 23


Back in the late Middle Ages, when I was a kid, we were told NOT to cut golf balls in half because of some strange liquid inside. But being a foolish child I cut some. A few were just very tightly wound rubber bands. But a couple had this mysterious inner ball full of liquid. I didn't cut that...
posted by njohnson23 at 8:41 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


A few were just very tightly wound rubber bands.

Yup! When I was a kid I spent a while rubbing a golf ball on the sidewalk to scrape the coating off (I wasn't patient but I was stubborn UNLIKE NOW) and when I got the coating off the whole thing started hissing and spitting at me and whipping all over the place as the rubber bands unraveled like some sort of malignant ghost I had freed. Every time it stopped I tried to pick it up again, angering the ghost with my presence, and it would again start to unravel and fly all over the sidewalk. Eventually the ghost tired itself out and I found a small rubber ball inside which I kept as a treasure in a box in my room the way kids do until my parents' house was destroyed by fire so I don't have it any more.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:46 AM on April 23 [43 favorites]


We used to throw the old rubber-band-bound golf balls in the bon fire. Once the Surlyn coating melted, the rubber bands would start unraveling, sending bits of molten, flaming rubber in all directions. Good times.
posted by slogger at 9:01 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


If you tied a wad of paper to the end of one of those long rubber band segments you could zap another kid from behind from a great distance. Having one person hold the paper end and another hold the free end, you could increase the zapping distance enormously.
posted by Tube at 9:02 AM on April 23


very tightly wound rubber bands. But a couple had this mysterious inner ball full of liquid.

Because I had no sense that a golf ball could be dangerous I did cut through that inner ball. The liquid was thick and white. The Straight Dope asked Titleist, the maker of liquid-centered golf balls, and they said it was a non-toxic mixture of salt water and corn syrup.
posted by plastic_animals at 9:04 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Mrs. Pterodactyl: "until my parents' house was destroyed by fire"

Set by the vengeful golf-ball manitou you released earlier?
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:04 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


"If you tied a wad of paper to the end of one of those long rubber band segments you could zap another kid from behind from a great distance. Having one person hold the paper end and another hold the free end, you could increase the zapping distance enormously."

Good lord, man, how old ARE you. By the time I was old enough to try and put out someone's eye we at least had slingshots and BB guns. You were living in the stone age!!!
posted by HuronBob at 9:05 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


I know this is petty and stupid, but I wish the photographer had a better saw.
posted by aramaic at 9:06 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


"In the unlikeliest of places"...

I don't see anything unlikely about the interiors of golf balls having asthetic value. They are designed by engineers, who have as much asthetic sense as other humans, or maybe more than the average. The structure may be designed by one set of engineers and the colors chosen by a different set, who are suppliers to the first, but it's all humans designing things which are satisfying to them as humans.

The people I know who layout circuit boards put way more thought into the symmetry and balance of their composition than other people might assume. Prettier designs are often easier to debug, for various reasons, as well as being more fundamentally satisfying.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:27 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


I know this is petty and stupid, but I wish the photographer had a better saw.

I think the roughness of the cuts actually ads to the compositions enormously.
posted by SharkParty at 9:30 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


I'd just like to take this opportunity to use the word guttapercha. Thanks, Samuel Beckett. Or was it Joyce?
posted by ChuckRamone at 9:32 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Some people will do anything to get people talking about their balls. It narcissism run amok!
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:40 AM on April 23


The people I know who layout circuit boards put way more thought into the symmetry and balance of their composition than other people might assume.

There was an example of this in one of this morning's stories about OnePlus, which released a new smartphone today.
Even before his mobile days, Lau was already famous for one incident back at Oppo's AV division, where he smashed a Blu-ray player's logic board to, well, express his disappointment in a seemingly minor issue. This was pretty surprising to us, given how humble the man actually is.

"The circuitry wasn't laid out neatly, and I didn't feel good about it no matter how I looked at it," Lau explained to this author. "We compared ours with Denon's -- theirs was laid out beautifully, but ours wasn't..."
posted by mullacc at 9:57 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


when I got the coating off the whole thing started hissing and spitting at me and whipping all over the place as the rubber bands unraveled like some sort of malignant ghost I had freed. Every time it stopped I tried to pick it up again, angering the ghost with my presence, and it would again start to unravel and fly all over the sidewalk

Are you sure that wasn't a Happy Fun Ball?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:00 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Back in the late Middle Ages, when I was a kid, we were told NOT to cut golf balls in half because of some strange liquid inside.

we had more info. It wasn't "some strange liquid". It was acid, and if you got some on you, it would burn through your hand, burn down through the floor, burn through anything.

A child's life is full of disappointments.
posted by philip-random at 10:02 AM on April 23 [5 favorites]


They are designed by engineers, who have as much asthetic sense as other humans, or maybe more than the average.

My basic workflow is intense frustration, followed by the pleasing feel of seeing an elegantly completed design/analysis... followed by despair after realizing that no one but me cares how cleverly I pulled everything off.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:06 AM on April 23 [6 favorites]


we had more info. It wasn't "some strange liquid". It was acid, and if you got some on you, it would burn through your hand, burn down through the floor, burn through anything.

In my neck of the woods (Western Australia), it was simply referred to as 'the most poisonous substance known to Man'.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 10:07 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of picking a flavor from a gelato display.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:09 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


I had similar memories of vague rumours of poisonous golf ball centres, so I just looked up the answer.
posted by YAMWAK at 10:13 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


backseatpilot: "My basic workflow is intense frustration, followed by the pleasing feel of seeing an elegantly completed design/analysis... followed by despair after realizing that no one but me cares how cleverly I pulled everything off."

I care! I love examining and taking things apart to figure out how they work. Particularly clever designs to fit awkward spaces are a special joy.
posted by calamari kid at 10:49 AM on April 23


Just came in to say that I want to eat the one that looks like some kind of amazing dragonfruit-blood orange sherbet wrapped in a thin coconut shell
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:49 AM on April 23


ChuckRamone, I think it was Josephine Tey.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:46 PM on April 23


Also what is the shiny stuff in some of these?

Those are hollow titanium spheres - the theory is that they act as a spring to improve COR and decrease MOI. Popular with competitive distance players, but not PGA legal.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:25 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


What I find really interesting is that these balls are designed to be cut open. Resins and rubbers don't naturally come in bright, contrasting colors: someone has gone to the effort and expense of dyeing them and designing a manufacturing process that lets them retain an aesthetically-pleasing appearance. I can only suppose that sales people display dissected golf balls to demonstrate the high quality of their manufacture. Otherwise, what would be the point?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:20 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


The vendors for the rubbery material might dye different products different colors just so that they can tell by looking at any given sample which product it is, without having to do a chemical analysis.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:44 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


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