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WATCH: This is what happens when you hit a golf ball at 500 mph

May 10, 2019

Your golf swing speed may top out at 90 mph, but have you ever wondered what would happen if it didn’t? What if a golf ball was hit at a much higher speed — say, 500 mph? Now we know, thanks to a viral video, and the results are fascinating.

Popular Youtube channel SmarterEveryDay, which dedicates itself to exploring the world through science, waded into the world of golf with their most recent video. The team set out to apply their entertaining experimental process to find out how much heat golf balls can take.

Since even the fastest PGA Tour pros’ swing speeds rarely exceed 130 mph, there is no way a human swinging a club could test the hypothesis. So, SmarterEveryDay set up an experiment using a vacuum cannon to get the data they were looking for.

After cranking the PSI high enough, they began by firing a modern golf ball out of the cannon downrange into an anvil at an incredible speed of 500 mph. As soon as the ball hit the face of the anvil, it flattened almost completely, as you can see in the screenshot below.

A modern golf ball slams into an anvil at 500 mph.
A modern golf ball slams into an anvil at 500 mph.
@SmarterEveryDay on Youtube

Despite being compressed into a pancake, the ball sprung back to its normal shape almost immediately after contact. The ball was likely rendered unusable, but it did not explode as many probably expected it to.

After making deep cuts in the ball, the team was able to get the destructive results they wanted. But the experiment left them unsatisfied. So, to further their investigation, they retrieved an old golf ball from the 1960s, and subjected it to the same cannon-anvil test.

It’s safe to say the old-school tech did not hold up. The antique ball completely exploded when it made contact with the anvil, with the cover rippling out like a liquid.

While the annihilation of the old ball is mesmerizing, the most interesting finding from the experiment is how well the modern golf ball held up. Clearly golf ball technology has improved dramatically over the years, allowing them to withstand insane amounts of abuse.

If this video doesn’t satiate your thirst for more golf experiments, you can check out this video of a Youtuber’s rocket-powered driver that swings 150 mph.

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