Golf is an underrated sport. It may not enjoy the same massive following as football, baseball, soccer, and basketball, but it is equally fun to watch and play. Many are probably not aware of the right techniques and the game rules because of its lack of popularity. It is not just all about the swing or the club. Another important tool of the trade is a golf ball. With this, many people are wondering – what is the diameter of a golf ball?
In this short guide, we’ll be talking more than golf ball diameter. We’ll also give you a quick primer about other sizing information, as well as a few interesting facts that you might not have known yet about golf balls.
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What is the Diameter of a Golf Ball?
You aren’t crazy if you are asking this question. You are probably just curious, and we’re not judging. We love people who are inquisitive, always open to learning new things. Without any further ado, the diameter of a golf ball is 1.68 inches or 42.67 mm. This is the rule set by the United States Golf Association.
No, you do not need to manually measure the ball to make sure that it passes golf ball regulations. Manufacturers already know that. So, as long as you are buying from a reputable manufacturer, you can be sure that their golf ball has the right size.
Nonetheless, do not be surprised if you see golf balls with a diameter that is smaller than 1.68 inches. They are not counterfeit products. Chances are, they are old. They must have been manufactured before the 80s when the regulation requires the diameter of golf ball to be at least 1.62 inches.
If you are holding a new and old golf ball in your hand, it is almost impossible to tell the difference. You won’t know for sure until you use a tape measure.
Why is the Diameter Standard?
Like other sports, golf has to follow a specific set of rules. To adhere to these rules, the golf ball should follow the regular size. This is important to make sure that it will fit in the hole. More so, this size is standard so that it is easy to hit using the different clubs that you have in your bag during a round of golf.
The European Difference
The R&A and not the USGA regulates the sport in the European region. Their golf ball diameter used to be 1.62 inches. Europe is chillier and windier than North America. These environments may reduce the length of a shot, which calls for the creation of golf balls that are a bit smaller than what is used in the United States and most countries. The .06 difference may not seem much, but for professional players like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer who have played at the Open Championship in Europe, the effect in performance is noticeable.
However, by the 1990s, the R&A and USGA were able to come at an agreement to standardize the size of golf ball, and that is when the size became 1.68 inches.
Other Things to Know about Golf Ball Size
This article will also look at golf ball dimensions beyond the diameter. This section will quickly talk about some of the most important numbers you need to know regarding the dimensions of a golf ball.
Radius of Golf Ball
A golf ball’s radius is .83 inches. This is computed simply by dividing the diameter of the golf ball into two since a radius is technically just half of a diameter.
Circumference of a Golf Ball
The golf ball circumference is 5.277 inches, which is roughly equal to 13.405 centimeters. This is an important regulation that golf ball manufacturers must follow as it must fit on the hole.
Weight of a Golf Ball
Golf ball weight is another important technical specification as it affects the outcome of every shot. When you have a ball that is too light, it can be easily swayed by the wind and external factors will impact its travel. On the other hand, when it is too heavy, you will need to exert more effort in your shots, and it might not travel the anticipated distance.
For casual users, the weight of golf balls is generally 45.93 grams, which is the sweet spot between light and heavy. Any variation can impact the performance of the ball, including distance and trajectory. It is crucial to note, however, that for tournament games, the USGA rules state that a golf ball should weigh exactly 46 grams.
Dimples of a Golf Ball
One of the most interesting features of a golf ball is its dimples. They are there for a reason, not just for aesthetics. There is a science behind their presence, and they largely impact the overall performance of the golf ball.
When an object is flat, it travels inconsistently in the air. It will fluctuate and will be hard to control. With this, the best solution is to add dimples. They will cut drag, allowing air to flow at a larger portion of the golf ball. It also affects the lift and spin of the golf ball.
On average, the dimple in a golf ball will have a depth of .01 inch. The specific circumference, however, will vary from one model to another. There are no regulations dictating the right size of dimples in a golf ball.
Golf Ball Construction
While we are talking about the size of ball golfers use, let’s also quickly touch on the construction. This is important as it affects the weight and size of the ball. Consequently, the construction will impact its performance.
At the most basic, you will have a two-piece golf ball. It has a core and an outer shell. The core is the densest material of the golf ball. It is a great option for high handicappers and novices.
If you want a ball with a better feel, then choose one with a three-piece construction. It has more spin, which can make it quite difficult to control the movement of the ball.
Meanwhile, for professionals, the best option is the multi-layer golf ball. Understandably, it is also the most expensive. It has an exceptional core that and a thin cover.
Penalty for Using Golf Ball with the Wrong Size
If you are a recreational player, then you are probably not obsessing on the normal ball size in golf. You can use whatever size you are most comfortable with, as long as it fits in the hole.
However, for tournament players, it is a different story. The rules are quite strict, so you need to religiously follow the recommendations for ball size to use. If you do not use the right golf ball or other equipment that does not meet the tournament’s standards, disqualification is a possibility. You can be slapped with a two-stroke penalty in every hole and a maximum of four penalty strokes.
The diameter of the golf ball is 1.68 inches. This is according to the regulation set by the USGA. It must follow the standards to meet the hole and club requirements. No need to measure golf balls individually as the manufacturers will surely follow the sizing requirements.