There was a time when Jeremy Freeman, a photographer and avid golfer from Atlanta, was no more enthralled by vintage golf balls than the rest of us. Then, in 2017, while rummaging through his father’s attic, he found his late grandfather’s golf bag. It contained a sleeve of Top-Flites from the 1970s, still fresh in the cellophane, their curious dimple pattern, slick texture, old-school typography and unusual paint pronouncing themselves as works of art.
This is how the collecting bug takes hold. Freeman, 37, began scouring eBay for the coolest balls, always seeking examples in excellent condition, with a special eye for ones bearing unique stamps and logos. Later he bought them by the crate at Play It Again Sports and spent hours sorting through them.
More importantly, he began photographing them, lighting each carefully and retouching the images to remove glare. The highlights of his passion are on his Instagram (@golfballgallery), where followers have joined him in his search, mailing him wonderful old models he never knew existed.
Rare golf balls can yield spectacular prices at auction. But that’s not what appeals to Freeman. “It’s the look and feel of them, the almost crude originality of some of the logos,” he says. “They’re a connection to a different time in golf and life.”