What Do The Numbers On Golf Balls Mean?

This post was most recently updated on January 5th, 2022

What Do The Numbers On Golf Balls Mean?

Published By Charl Jooste Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by Editorial Staff

Anyone that has played golf would have noticed that there is a number printed on every ball. Golf ball numbers are frequently used as identification to ensure that you do not play another golfer’s ball that could result in a penalty.

Furthermore, you would have noticed that some numbered golf balls numbers are black while others are red.

Does the number serve any purpose other than for identification? We investigated and we will reveal the answer in this article.

What Do Numbers On Golf Balls Mean?

Is there a deeper golf ball number meaning to the number on the golf ball?

Well, in short, the answer is yes, at least there was meaning attached to the numbering system in the past.

Initially, the color and number are often used to indicate the compression or other features of the golf ball.

So, let’s look at what’s the difference in golf ball numbers.

Single Digit

Single-digit numbers are generally used for identification purposes only.

When 2 golfers in a group play the same brand ball, they should identify and differentiate between the different numbers before starting a round.

If this doesn’t happen, confusion can reign during the round with one golfer always claiming the farthest ball with the best angle into the flag.

Since golf balls are sold by the dozen which generally consist of three sleeves containing 3 balls each.

The most frequent numbers, therefore, are 1 to 4 which coincides with the maximum number of golfers that most golf courses allow playing together. However, numbers between 0 and 9 are acceptable.

What Does The Number 1 On A Golf Ball Mean?

Number 1 on golf balls has no significant meaning as such. It simply identifies the golf ball.


Double digits on a golf ball were extremely popular in the 1990s but have since become less widely used. This was done to represent the compression rating.

Low compression golf balls, starting anywhere from a 30 rating, are more appropriate for golfers with low swing speed such as juniors, older men, and ladies.

Although it refers to double-digit numbers, golf balls can have a compression rating of 100+ which could be printed under the information covered in this section.

It is common for professional golfers to request their favorite number that carries significant meaning for them, to replace the standard number on the golf ball.


So, what does high numbers on golf balls mean?

Triple-digit numbers on golf balls are likely to be greater than 300. This indicates the number of dimples on the golf ball which varies widely between brands and even within the ranges of a specific brand.

As mentioned earlier, triple-digit numbers around the 100 mark, represent the compression rating of the golf ball.

What Does The Color Of The Number On A Golf Ball Mean?

What Do Red Numbers On Golf Balls Mean?

Similar to the use of double-digit numbers, golf ball manufacturers used color to distinguish between the compression rating of golf balls.

Red numbers were employed on balls with a compression rating of around ninety. Black numbers were used to represent golf balls with a compression rating of 100+.

It is more common now for manufacturers to use red numbers on soft feel balls and black numbers on golf balls with a firmer feel.

Titleist Golf Ball Numbers Meaning

Titleist numbers do not have a different meaning than other brands.

However, Titleist uses different side stamps to identify the version of the golf ball. It started in 2000 using a side stamp with Pro V1 392 and a dot followed by an arrowhead on either side of the writing.

In 2005 the dots were removed, and a hyphen was added between the Pro V1 and the 392.

This continues evolving with every new release including the 2022 version.


Were you aware of the use of color and numbers on golf balls? Do you think it is a tradition that should return to assist golfers in selecting the right golf ball for them?

Add your comment in the section below for future discussion.

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About The Editorial Staff

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.

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