What Do The Numbers on Golf Balls Mean?

If you are new to golf, you have a lot of things to learn. From doing the proper swing to choosing the right club, novices must be familiar with the different aspects of the sport. Do not take small things for granted. Among others, one of the questions curious minds has is this – what does the number on a golf ball mean?

In this short guide, we’ll talk about the golf ball number meaning. They are printed on the ball for a reason. Read on and find out what they signify.


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What Does the Number on a Golf Ball Mean?

What Does the Number on a Golf Ball Mean

The numbers printed on a golf ball are there for easy identification of who owns the ball during a game. With most balls looking the same, identifying each can be difficult, which is exactly why the numbers exist. The meaning will differ depending on the manufacturer. There can be one, two, or three numbers. Here’s a quick look at the meaning behind the ball numbers.

One-Digit Number on a Golf Ball

One-Digit Number on a Golf Ball

In most golf balls, you will find a single number that is printed below the name of the manufacturer. The number is anywhere from 0 to 9. However, the most common will be 1 to 4. The truth is that they do not mean anything. The main purpose is for the identification of the ball and to differentiate it from other players.

Even if you and your friend are playing using the same brand of a golf ball, you will start the game with balls of different numbers. For instance, yours is 1 while your buddy’s ball is 2. This way, it is quicker to tell who’s ball it is.

When you purchase a set of new golf balls, they are often divided into sleeves. For instance, a set of 12 golf balls will have four sleeves. Each sleeve will contain four balls. All of the balls in the same sleeve will have the same number. So, in your set of 12 balls with three sleeves, four balls will be numbered 1, four are 2, and the other four a 3.

Two-Digit Numbers on a Golf Ball

Two-Digit Numbers on a Golf Ball

Most of the time, two-digit numbers are also there for easy identification of who is the rightful owner of the golf ball. Titleist and TaylorMade are two brands using two digits as a standard in their golf numbers. The double-digit golf balls will have anywhere from 00 to 99.

In the 1990s, the numbers on golf balls also used to indicate the compression rate. Today, however, only a few companies are still following this obsolete practice. Back then, the compression rating in golf balls range from 70 to 80 for female players. For males, on the other hand, it is at least 100, so that makes it technically three digits. If you have a slower swing speed, then you will need a lower compression, and that is the old purpose of the two-digit golf ball numbers. Today, however, it is rare that you will find compression ratings in golf balls.

Three-Digit Numbers on a Golf Ball

Three-Digit Numbers on a Golf Ball

When a golf ball has three-digit numbers, they will usually range from 300 to 500. These numbers are indicative of the dimples a golf ball has. This is a lot more common in older golf balls. For newer balls, this number is indicated on the box instead.

What do dimples represent? You are probably curious. Well, technically, they just impact the construction of a golf ball. In general, the dimples are there to improve the drag of the ball. They allow the ball to fly more consistently. Nonetheless, higher isn’t better. Even lower numbers will deliver the same performance. This is probably the reason why it is seldom that new golf balls will have the number of dimples printed.

Numbers in Custom Golf Balls

Numbers in Custom Golf Balls

Many manufacturers will make custom balls, especially for their endorsers or the top professional players. This way, you have the freedom to add any number that you want. Custom numbered golf balls consider the player’s favorite number. Some people consider certain numbers lucky, so they want it etched on their golf balls. It is all a matter of superstition and there is no other deeper meaning.

Rory McIlroy is one of the most popular players with custom number golf balls. His golf balls have 22 printed on them, which signifies his wedding anniversary. This perhaps shows how his wife is his inspiration in his games. Sergio Garcia, meanwhile, is known for having the number 10 etched on his golf balls. This represents the number of trophies Real Madrid has during his time, which is his favorite football club. Justin Rose, on the other hand, has 99 etched in his golf balls. According to him, 9 is the favorite number of his wife. He opted to make it a double digit to hopefully double the luck as well.

Even without being a popular player, you also have the option to customize the numbers in your golf balls. Titleist ball marking is available on its top-tier models. You can choose from their Special Play Numbers, which can range from 00 to 99. This way, you can also use your lucky numbers for marking your golf balls and feel like a pro. You can even personalize the text and the color, which can be your biggest flex on your next golf game.

Colors of Golf Ball Numbers

Colors of Golf Ball Numbers

Aside from the numbering, the color of the numbers is another thing that you might notice in golf balls if you have a keen eye. They can be red or black. This depends on the preference of the manufacturer. The color of the number has nothing to do with whatever it represents. It is simply a matter of what looks better and what the manufacturer likes.

Although, back in the day, the color of the numbers will dictate the compression of the ball. Red means that the compression is 90 and 100 when the color is black. This is no longer a practice these days. As mentioned, even compression ratings are no longer indicated in modern golf balls.

Are There Restrictions on the Numbers in Golf Balls?

For both recreational and professional games, the numbers printed on a golf ball are not subject to restrictions. What this means is that they are not that important apart from identification of the player who owns the ball in a round of golf. You won’t be sanctioned in tournaments if your ball has no number. There are also no specific rules indicating the numbers that should be printed on a golf ball.

What About the Numbers in Golf Clubs?

What About the Numbers in Golf Clubs

After learning about what are the numbers on golf balls, let’s also talk about the numbers in golf clubs. The number markings in clubs are often found on its head, and it is indicative of the golf club’s loft. You will often see them in fairway irons and woods, as well as various specialty clubs.

Aside from the head, you will also see the numbers in club covers. This is a practical feature for ease of identification. It will allow you to know the loft number of the specific club even without taking off the cover.

Other Interesting Golf Ball Numbers

For those with curious minds, this section will walk you through other important numbers you might want to know about golf balls. They aren’t life-changing, but it pays to know some interesting golf ball facts that might surprise other players. If you want to look smarter on your next game, below are some of the most important numbers to bring up in a conversation about golf.

Diameter of a Golf Ball

Circumference of a golf ball

A golf ball has a diameter of 1.68 inches or 42.67 mm. Older golf balls, however, have a diameter of 1.62 inches. The diameter is standard across several manufacturers. This is important to make sure that it fits in standard golf holes.

Mass of a Golf Ball

Radius of Golf Ball

This is another important number you need to know as it is indicative of the weight of a golf ball. A standard golf ball has a mass of 1.62 ounces or 45.93 grams. Using a lighter or heavier golf ball will affect its performance, especially the way it travels.

Speed of a Golf Ball

Speed of a Golf Ball

It will differ depending on the power of your swing. As a beginner, expect that the ball will travel slower. For professionals, the ball will travel faster because they are more powerful. In most instances, a ball that is hit off the tee will travel at an average speed of 160 MPH.


Now that you are done reading, we hope that you learned a thing or two about the numbers used as golf ball identifying marks. More often than not, they are used to identify who is the player with that ball. It can also mean compression rating or the number of dimples the ball has, but this is more common in older balls. Some golf balls have numbers with special meanings to the owners, such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or any number they believe is lucky for them.