Golf is one of the most played sports in the world. While you don’t need to reach the physical fitness peaks found in other sports like soccer or basketball, golf is a great way to stay fit and have fun at the same time.
When it comes to the rules and techniques of golf, many people get confused. You may think you just need to pick up a club and ‘whack’ the ball into a small hole.
While this is as basic a description of golf as you will ever find, there are many rules and regulations in the sport of golf. This includes the size of the golf balls.
If you’re new to golf, you probably have many questions surrounding the sport. One common query is – what is the size of a golf ball?
Considering this is arguably the most important component in a game of golf (try and play without a golf ball and you will struggle), it is important to understand the size of a golf ball.
If you’re a regular golfer, you may swear that the golf balls are smaller on some days as they keep missing the hole. However, this is not the case.
In today’s article, we will be taking a closer look at the diameter of a golf ball. We will also discuss a few interesting facts about golf balls that you may have never heard before.
The Standard Diameter Of A Golf Ball
It may not be the most widely known fact but finding out the diameter of a golf ball can put you in good stead with your golfing buddies on the weekend.
If you’re new to golf or simply passionate about the game, you are probably curious about the rules surrounding the sport.
Just as it is important to know what clubs to use on the course, it’s also crucial to understand what size your golf balls are.
The USGA (United States Golfing Association) states that standard golf balls should be 1.68 inches in diameter or 42.67 mm.
While you’re more than welcome to get your tape measure out and measure every golf ball before a competition, it is not required.
Most reputable golf ball manufacturers are quite meticulous about the ball’s sizes and follow the strict rules of the sport.
Therefore, golf balls are almost always designed according to these stringent measurements.
Some of the most reputable golfing companies include:
- Top Flight
If you purchase golf balls from any of these brands, then you are guaranteed the correct and accepted diameter. Furthermore, you will be purchasing high-quality balls made from top-quality material.
If your golf balls are made by a lesser-known company, it may be advisable to check the specifications before entering any tournament.
If they are not in sync with the USGA standards, you may not be able to use them.
If you do find golf balls that are a little smaller in diameter, you should not disregard them as counterfeit products.
If you measure a golf ball and it is smaller, it could be because of its age. Golf balls manufactured before the 1980s required a diameter of at least 1.62 inches.
Without measuring, however, you probably won’t see any difference between older and newer golf balls.
They Did Things Differently In Europe
While the USGA regulates the sport of Golf in the U.S., the R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) is responsible for rules and regulations in Europe. In this region, golf ball diameters were always 1.62 inches.
The reason for this .06 difference was down to the climate. On the whole, Europe is somewhat colder and windier than North America.
Therefore, the length of shots may be reduced to such environmental factors.
While .06 inches may not seem like much, some professional players such as the legendary Arnold Palmer saw noticeable changes in their performance levels when playing in European tournaments such as the Open Championship.
However, the USGA and R&A agreed to standardize the size of golf balls in the 1990s. This was when golf ball diameters became 1.68 inches throughout the world, regardless of weather conditions.
Why 1.68 Inches?
You may be wondering why golf’s governing bodies decided on such a specific number. Well, the R&A and USGA decided on 1.68 inches because of performance regulations.
The USGA has long been known for making new golf rules and not adhering to the rules of a by-gone age.
Although the association has changed certain regulations over the years, it has always focused on maintaining the difficulty associated with playing golf.
Some other limitations that the USGA has introduced over the years include the depth of grooves on a club’s face and the ban of anchor putter techniques most recently.
Because of these regulations, golf balls can not be smaller than 1.68 inches in diameter. When it comes to the weight of a golf ball, this should be 1.62 ounces.
Having a limit on the weight tends to make more sense. If a golf ball is heavier or lighter than 1.62 ounces, it may travel further or not as far.
The heavier the ball, the further it may travel making golf an easier sport to play. On the other hand, the added weight may mean the ball will not travel as far.
Therefore, all golfers have the same weighted golf balls to make it as fair as possible.
Are There Penalties For Not Using Standard Sized Golf Balls?
As with most sports, the rules of golf are pretty strict when it comes to tournaments and competitions.
If a player is found to be using a golf ball or any type of equipment that doesn’t meet the USGA standards, then they will face penalties.
More often than not, this will be in the form of disqualification. Even if you do not use some equipment in your golf bag, you could still face disqualification if it does not meet the necessary standards.
As well as disqualification, there are other possible penalties. These include 2-stroke penalties for every hole played.
This can lead to a maximum four-stroke penalty. That being said, these stringent rules are typically kept for competitive matches and tournaments.
If you play golf casually with friends at a local golf club, you shouldn’t have to worry about any disqualifications or penalties (unless your friends are VERY competitive).
Depending on your preference, it should be fine to choose between smaller or larger golf balls in casual games.
What Is The Radius Of A Golf Ball?
As well as the diameter of a golf ball, you should also understand the overall dimensions. One important factor is the radius of a golf ball.
Golf balls should have a radius of .83 inches. To figure out the radius of a golf ball, the diameter is divided into two.
This is because the radius is essentially one-half of the golf ball’s diameter.
What Is The Circumference Of A Golf Ball?
According to USHA regulations, a golf balls’ circumference should be 5.277 inches. This is approximately equal to 13.405 centimeters.
All golf ball manufacturers must adhere to this measurement so the ball can effectively fit in the hole.
What Is The Weight Of A Golf Ball?
The weight of a golf ball is critical as it has a significant impact on the outcome of each shot. If a ball is too light, the wind can easily push it off course.
If the wind is facing against the golf ball, it may not travel as far either.
On the other hand, if the wind is traveling in the same direction of the ball, it could carry it further giving players an unfair advantage over others who have heavier golf balls.
If a golf ball is too heavy, a golfer will need to put more effort into their shots every time. Therefore, it may not travel as far, especially if the wind is against it.
For casual golfers, the weight of a golf ball is typically 45.93 grams. This is considered to be the sweet spot between light and heavy.
However, in tournaments, the USGA states that a golf ball must always weigh exactly 46 grams.
If you’re practicing for an upcoming tournament, you better get those weighing scales out!
Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?
One of the most distinguishable features of a golf ball is its dimples. Without these, golf balls just wouldn’t be golf balls.
But, these are not there for decoration. Dimples on golf balls are designed this way for a reason.
Generally speaking, these markings have a significant impact on the overall performance of each and every golf ball.
Flat objects tend to travel through the air at an inconsistent rate. They will fluctuate enormously and become very hard to control.
The solution? To add dimples, of course. These simple dents on the ball’s outer surface allow air to flow over a larger portion of the golf ball and help affect the spin and lift of the ball.
The average dimple of a golf ball has a depth of around .01 inches.
However, the specific circumference of these dimples varies from one manufacturer to another as, unlike the diameter, radius, circumference, and weight of a golf ball, there are no regulations regarding the size of dimples.
How Is A Golf Ball Made?
It’s also useful to know how golf balls are constructed. The way a golf ball is designed can affect its weight and size which, in turn, can affect how far the ball travels.
Simply put, the overall construction of a golf ball will impact its performance on the course.
You will begin with two pieces of a golf ball. One piece is the core while the other is the outer shell.
The densest material of a golf ball is the core and is critical in the resulting performance of the golf ball.
If you are looking for a golf ball that has a better feel, then a three-piece construction is best.
These types of golf balls tend to possess more spin and are favored by many experienced golfers. However, this additional spin can make them more difficult to control.
As for professionals, the best choice is usually a multi-layer golf ball.
Unsurprisingly, these models are the most expensive but they also boast the best cores and feature very thin covers for excellent performance.