from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The nonelastic rubber obtained from the latex of the South American tree Manilkara bidentata. It has been used in the manufacture of golf-ball covers and machine belts.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A West Indian sapotaceous tree (Bumelia retusa).
- n. The bully tree (Minusops globosa); also, its milky juice (balata gum), which when dried constitutes an elastic gum called chicle, or chicle gum.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Same as balata-gum.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. when dried yields a hard substance used e.g. in golf balls
- n. a tropical hardwood tree yielding balata gum and heavy red timber
Its core was wrapped in tightly wound elastic threads, and its cover was made of a soft rubber called balata, which gave the pros the feel, high spin and control they needed to work their magic around the greens.
By far the biggest adjustment I had to make in playing with wood and balata involved sound.
In addition, since balata balls spin more than modern balls, they slice and hook more, too.
Modern premium balls, typified by Titleist Pro V1s, have nearly the feel and short-game control of balata balls, plus distance and durability.
I discovered the balata balls last year in my basement, miraculously preserved in their unopened package from the mid-1990s.
They consisted of a core wound round with rubber bands and encased in a rubber-like shell (the balata), which provided great feel around the greens but cut and scuffed easily.
As an experiment, I played a round of golf this week with old-fashioned wooden woods and a sleeve of virgin balata balls.
I also discovered an unopened sleeve of balata Maxfli XF balls from the mid-1990s.
These were such an expensive indulgence for me at the time (balata balls had great feel but cut easily) that I never actually used them.
They had reasonably soft covers and spun nearly as much around the greens as the balata balls did, but when hit hard with drivers and long irons spun much less and flew farther than balata balls.