What Is The Diameter Of A Golf Ball?

It’s sort of crazy what the game of golf asks us to do, isn’t it? Do you ever find yourself standing on tee box wondering how in the world you could rightly be expected to put the little ball in front of you into a four-inch hole in the ground some four hundred yards away?

Just how small is this ball you’re expected to send sailing? Read on to find out the diameter of a golf ball!

Alright, just tell us.

What is the Diameter of a Golf Ball

A USGA conforming golf ball is going to have a diameter of 1.68 inches. No, you don’t need to break out the tape measure every time you have a tournament on the horizon. I can assure you that all major golf ball manufacturers are well aware of the rules, and make their products accordingly.

If you purchased your ball from a reputable company such as Titleist, Top Flight, Taylormade, Nike, or Srixon, you never have to worry about golf ball diameter again. They’ve done it for you. Anything you find at a major retail store will do, really.

If you find yourself purchasing a ball that you have never heard of online, or perhaps off an infomercial, you may want to do a little digging to make sure its specifications are up to the USGA’s standards. Chances are you won’t run into any problems, but on the off chance that they don’t comply, you will save yourself the pains of a DQ during tournament play.

Why 1.68?

It’s a specific number, but then again I suppose all numbers are fairly specific. The answer lies in performance regulations. The USGA is infamous not just for writing and upholding the rules of golf, but also for doing all that they can maintain the difficulty of the sport.

Diameter of a Golf Ball

It sounds a little strange, doesn’t it? But it’s true. That’s why a few years back they decided to limit the depth of club face grooves, and it is why about a year ago, they outlawed the anchor putter technique. It’s also why golf balls can be no smaller than 1.68 inches, and no heavier than 1.62 ounces.

Any smaller, or any heavier, and the ball would travel a little farther. Wouldn’t want golf getting too easy, would we?

Have these limits always been in place?

No. Actually, the USGA put these limits in place about sixty years ago as golf ball technology was really beginning to take off, but in Europe, the rules were a little bit looser up until fairly recently.

The British golf ball came in at 1.62 inches up until the nineties. Rules of golf in Europe are governed by the R&A, not the USGA, which allowed for the discrepancy. The reason for the slight difference was simple. In Europe, playing conditions tend to be a little bit chillier, and a little bit windier. Both factors tend to shorten the length of golf shots.

While the smaller ball does not travel all that much further than its American counterpart every bit does help.

What is the Penalty for using a non-conforming ball?

Unfortunately, when it comes to tournament play, the rules of golf are pretty strict. If you are found to be playing with any non-conforming equipment in a competitive setting, you will face disqualification. The rule for even having the equipment in your bag, to begin with, is a penalty of 2 strokes per hole, with a maximum of four penalty strokes.

But what if you are just playing a casual round with friends?

Obviously, you aren’t going to disqualify yourself from a weekend loop at your local municipal. If you find yourself in the position of having mistakenly used a non-conforming golf ball, just explain the situation to your playing partners.

Ninety-nine percent of the time they aren’t going to care in the least bit. If you were playing for money, they are probably going to want to find you a sleeve of balls that comply with the rules, but otherwise, you’ll be just fine.

Final Thoughts:

Golf has a lot of rules, but the fact of the matter is they aren’t all created equal. This isn’t something that you need to worry about the same way that you stress over making rule conforming drops. Serious tournament golfers are never going to find themselves in the position of teeing off with a non-compliant ball.

For the weekend warriors out there? If you spend a lot of time raiding the lake ball bin, yeah, it might happen to you. The truth of the matter is though, you will never know. If you’re playing the game to have fun, not collect trophies, don’t worry too much about the size of your ball. Just worry about putting it in the hole.

Questions? Concerns? Comments? Let us know what you think below!

Paul Durante

My name is Paul, and I truly love the game of golf. I’ve been playing for many years now, but still regularly discover new things about the sport. I believe that blogs like this can go a long way in helping people understand this game’s rich history and rules, and I am very proud to have the opportunity to contribute.

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