Shaders give a surface values for reflection, colour, luminance, anisotopicity and a variety of other things which are used to calculate how the surface interacts with other surfaces and lights in the virtual environment.
These shaders are used in conjunction with certain materials. Maya only allows one shader per material. Materials are not to be confused with textures they are two serprate things.
Blinn is a very common shader used in maya. The main attributes that can be edited are the spectacularity, the size of the specularity and the hardness of the specularity.
Of course you have your basic material colour options but the colour attribute is where you import the texture the uv co ordinance.
Using materials to shade the surface of an old golf ball can be done rather effectively and also achieve the high poly look only by using a low poly sphere.
With the use of a bump map, the dimples of the golf ball can really get a popping effect making them look textured with the added illusion of depth.
Combined with a layered shader you could make a new material with an imported texture that supports an alpha channel. This texture can be some sort of dirty patch. This is what we will use to give the ball the dirty look.
Assign the final layered material to the geometry of the ball and BAM! hit render and you will see an old golf ball.