New, Exciting Planets? Nope, Just Sliced Golf Balls

A photographer exposes the surprisingly colorful, wildly varying insides of unassuming dimpled white golf balls.


It was a big weekend for golf: Fans everywhere tuned in for the prestigious British Open, the sport’s oldest championship, to watch Phil Mickelson make birdie on four holes and sweep the tournament.


For the crowds who can do without the fairway and silent claps, there’s eye candy to be had in photographer James Friedman‘s series, Interior Design. The Ohio-based photographer’s portfolio of work is largely editorial and emotional. Flip through the scintillating Pleasures and Terrors of Kissing, or the autobiographical Self-Portrait with Jewish Nose Wandering in a Gentile World, for evidence. But in a recent detour from kissing and wandering, Friedman found himself amusedly dissecting golf balls, just to see what was inside.

Over on his site, Friedman writes:

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.

Golf balls–which first began as wooden iterations in the 15th century–typically have rubber cores, which create better bounce on the course. But as Interior Design shows, a few have metal spheres at their center. Those denser numbers are crafted for more advanced leagues.

The wild variation of color and pattern inside each dimpled plastic golf ball is proof of a design lesson and old trope: You can’t judge a book by its cover. Inspiration comes in unexpected places. Most surprising of all? Friedman doesn’t even play golf.

[h/t Visual News]

About the author

Margaret Rhodes is a former associate editor for Fast Company magazine.