17th century: Introduction Pennebal or Featherie
The invention of the featherie, a white-dyed ball of cowskin or horseskin, filled with compressed boiled chicken or goose feathers the size of a top hat, ensured that this type of ball remained the standard for almost two centuries. In the Netherlands, the feathery ball was also called “pennebal”.
Making golf balls was manual work and the Dutch in particular were very skilled at this. They are known as the ball frutters from Goirle. A few pieces of cowhide were sewn together and then stuffed with wet boiled feathers. Then the last stitching was closed and wet hammered into a round shape. After drying, a really hard ball was created.
A ball maker could only make a maximum of 3 balls per day, making the balls very expensive. Even more expensive than a golf stick. Even more expensive than a caddy. For this reason, it was mainly beaten with wood and only in extreme necessity with iron. In order to lose as few balls as possible, spotters were used, the so-called fore-caddies.
Sailors, mainly herring fishermen, who sailed from Kampen to Scotland, took large quantities of balls and sold them there for good money. Until Robert Adam Paterson invented gutta-percha (gutties) golf balls in 1848, which were cheaper. Away trade.