Golf Playing Through: Golf, the Canadian Story

Golf Comes to Canada: 1850 to 1900  
Canadian Clubs and Contests The Gutta-percha Ball Evolving Equipment Carrying Bags

The Gutta-percha Ball

In 1848 the feathery ball was replaced by the gutta-percha ball, or "gutty" as it was popularly known. The gutty was moulded from Malaysian tree gum, an elastic material that could be reshaped after immersion in hot water. Discovering that a rough surface gave the ball a longer and straighter flight, ball-makers began indenting the surface with hundreds of small "dimples" using the sharp end of a special hammer. Composite balls with "india-rubber" added to the gutta-percha were made for the North American climate.

By the 1880s most gutty balls were made in iron or steel moulds which stamped them with either a mesh-like or a dimpled surface. Gutties were imported from Scotland, as the market in Canada was too small to justify local manufacture.

Gutty Ball - 994.9.30 - CD97-385-079 Figure 12: Gutty ball, made by Henley's Tyre and Rubber Co. London, about 1850.
CMC 994.9.30

Gutty Ball Mould - 994.9.31 - CD97-385-081 Figure 13: Metal gutty ball mould, from the period 1850 to 1898.
This mould was found at the Brockville Golf and Country Club.
CMC 994.9.31