This post was most recently updated on January 22nd, 2022
Even a seasoned golf veteran probably doesn’t know that golf balls come in different sizes. Granted, even though there are different sizes of golf balls, the differences are minimal. However, golf is a game of millimeters, and every little bit counts.
We are going to break down the different golf balls sizes, history of the ball, and how it may affect your game.
What Is The Average Golf Ball Size
The minimum size a golf ball can measure is 1.68″. The average golf ball size, however, may be different from the minimum allowed diameter. Although 1.68″ is the minimum, balls can be made larger than this. Which would mean the mathematical average golf ball size could be bigger.
So how big is a golf ball anyway? The vast majority of golf balls are made to be 1.68″ in diameter, and most players would not choose a larger ball if they had the choice. In fact, before the worldwide minimum of 1.68″ was agreed upon, many golfers chose to use a smaller ball when permitted. We will talk about the history of the golf ball size below.
Are All Golf Balls The Same Size
Not all golf balls are the same size, but the overwhelming majority will fit into the standard 1.68″ category. The differences between one ball and another would be marginal at best. Manufacturers of golf balls realize that the standard ball is essentially optimal in terms of size and weight and tend to stick to these metrics.
Golf Ball Size Rules And Regulations
Before 1990, there were two different standard ball sizes. The smaller of the two was set by the R&A rules, which allowed a ball 1.62″ in diameter to be used in tournament play.
In the early 1900s, both parties allowed golf balls to be as small as the British Ball at 1.62″. However, in the 1930s, the USGA changed its tune and decided to rule the smaller balls and raise the minimum ball diameter for official play.
The USGA set the minimum ball size at 1.68″. The two different ball sizes became known as the “American Ball” and the “British Ball,” which was also known as the “European Ball.”
A diameter difference of 0.06 inches may not seem like much. Still, many American players tended to choose the smaller ball when they traveled across the Atlantic to play in the British Open. The smaller ball worked better in the wind and gave players a little more distance, reportedly.
When did the golf ball change size in the R&A rules? It was in the early part of the 1990s.
The one thing that the British and American golf officials did agree upon was that the maximum weight of a golf ball was to be 1.62oz. The standard golf ball size and weight remain to this day, and golf balls worldwide must be a minimum of 1.68″ and a maximum weight of 1.62oz.
Players could use whatever size ball they wanted. However, for their score to be counted, players had to follow the governing body’s rules wherever they were playing.
Meaning, any player who was in the territory of the R&A would be allowed to play using a ball as small as 1.62″, while players under the government of the USGA were forced to use balls with a minimum of 1.68″.
Golf Ball Diameter
The diameter of a golf ball is measured from one end of the sphere to the other. It would be measured as a straight line cutting right through the middle of the ball. The standard and minimum size of a golf ball is 1.68″.
Golf ball dimensions do not vary much in modern golf, but the way we measure them may.
Golf Ball Volume
The volume of a golf ball is calculated by taking the ball’s radius (0.83″) and using the spherical volume equation of V = 4/3 π r^3. Using this equation would give you a spherical volume of 2.48″(cu in).
How Wide Is A Golf Ball
The ball’s width is the same as the diameter and measures 1.68″ on a standard-sized ball. This is also the answer to the questions: how wide and how tall is a golf ball?
Circumference Of Golf Ball
The average circumference of a golf ball is 5.277″ measured all the way around in any direction.
The Radius Of A Golf Ball
The standard-sized golf ball’s radius would be .83 inches, measuring half of the diameter would give you the radius. Knowing the radius of a golf ball can be useful when measuring the volume.
Golf Ball Diameter In cm
The diameter of a golf ball in cm would measure 4.26cm.
How Many mm Is A Golf Ball
The diameter, width, and height of a golf ball measure 42.6mm.
The Golf Ball To Cup Ratio
The Golf Ball to Cup Ratio is 2.52:1
If the hole were too small, it would be even more frustrating on the green for players. However, if they were too big, the game wouldn’t be as competitive and skilled. Golf holes are all the same size and are set by the USGA rules and other governing bodies.
Are Larger Balls Legal
Large golf balls are 100% legal to use in play. However, it is highly unlikely that a player would want to use a larger ball than 1.68″. The larger a ball is, the harder it would be to hit it in the club’s sweet spot, the more wind would affect the flight, and the shorter it would fly in the air.
Also, golf balls are allowed to be larger in diameter, width, and height. However, they are not allowed to have more weight. A golf ball can only weight up to 1.62oz.
Any more than that and a player could have an unfair advantage as heavier balls would cut through the wind much easier up to a certain point.
The only times that using a larger ball may be helpful would be in practice situations. Using a larger ball to practice putting would make putting with a standard ball easier.
Trying to sink a large golf ball in a hole that only measures 4.25″ would be super tricky. It may give golfers a little bit of confidence when they step up to the ball on the green next time.
How Many Golf Balls Can Fit In A Golf Hole
Golf cup diameter is 4.25″. That means you can fit two balls in the opening of the hole simultaneously, but you could not fit three. In fact, the exact number of golf balls that could fit in a hole is 2.52. So, just over two and a half balls would fit into a golf hole.
How Does Golf Ball Size Affect Play
The size of a golf ball makes a big difference in how it flies, spins, and comes off a club’s face. One of the reasons why a ball needs to be standardized is because if players could tweak the golf ball, they could gain an edge over the competition.
If a ball was permitted to be heavier, it could hold a position in the air much better when the wind is a factor. Of course, adding weight to the ball would only be effective up to a certain point.
A ball that is too heavy wouldn’t fly very far at all. Still, making minimal tweaks to a ball’s weight could have resounding impacts on a player’s score.
Balls that are smaller also interact with the wind differently. Therefore, a smaller ball has a lower surface area and would create less drag in the air. Less drag would mean that the ball could fly further, and the wind would affect it much less.
The golf ball’s compression point would also be smaller, giving players a higher probability of hitting the ball dead in the center of the sweet spot.
A higher probability of sweet spot hits would give golfers another unfair advantage.
If the ball is too light, then it wouldn’t go very far either. Consider a hollow practice ball that only flies 10-20 yards when hit at full swing speed.
All of these factors lend themselves to the standard ball used by professionals as the most beneficial. Golf manufacturers have honed in on what makes the golf ball fly as well as possible. There are only slight variations in ball size, dimple structure, and weight from brand to brand.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in our comments section below.
The Editorial Staff at Golfible is a team of golfing geeks and enthusiasts led by founder Alec Rose. All have the same obsession with golf tech, equipment updates and avoiding rain on the course.