Sometimes even the best putt doesn’t go quite where you would like or expect. Eighty-four years ago, a well-struck putt by Philip “Skipper” Young veered off course and away from the hole. Scratching his head, Young took the ball to his friend, a fellow golfer and dentist, for an x-ray. In the black-and-white image, they could see that the core of the ball had become askew.
By 1910, Young, an MIT graduate, had already founded Acushnet Process Company which concentrated on deresinating latex and producing rubber. After his experience with the missed shot that should have been “for sure,” Young developed a machine that could uniformly wind rubber string around a rubber core—creating the wound golf ball. With his “Dead Center” concept behind the new “Titleist” ball, he proclaimed it to be the winner of the quest to create the best for the game. By 1949, just a few years later, Titleist had become the most-played golf ball in the U.S. Open.