What Does the Number on a Golf Ball Mean

What Does the Number on a Golf Ball Mean? (You Need to Know This)


Not sure what the number on your golf ball means? All golf balls come with a single-digit number pasted in the exact center of the ball. It’s usually under the brand name of the golf ball. This number is more than just an identification number. What is it then?

And it’s not a personal and unique identification number. Especially when the number is the same across multiple golf balls. The number on a golf ball varies from one brand to the next. This article explains the reason behind these numbers on golf balls.

It also explains the different types of numbers on golf balls. Starting from identification, dimple count, and compression rating.

Golf Balls Have A Single Number, Right?


If you see a number from zero to 9 under the golf brand’s name. This identification number is the customization number of a golf ball. It’s also true that many modern golf balls have double-digit numbers. This could be for more accurate customizations. We will get into that later on.

But to kick things off, a single-digit number is ideal. Now, identification means “to identify,” right? Well, you’re not wrong there. These numbers don’t mean anything. They’re best used for identifying between 2 or 3 golf balls. 

Golf is a game best played when shared. So if you and your partner can choose two golf balls with different numbers. So you’d never get confused and it would be a fair game. 

You could be using the same golf brand between you and your partner. So you can easily pick up a different number than that of your playmate. 

Now, allow me to go a little further. The time when this classification system came up. The color of the numbers was either red or black. A red number meant low compression. And a black number meant high compression. But now, things don’t stay the same.

The zero to 9 numbers can be anything placed on the equator of the ball. They don’t indicate anything nor does the color of those numbers. 

Why Does My Ball Have A 2-Digit Number?


Before you go. Let me fill you in about golf ball compression. If the number of your golf ball is a double-digit. And if it’s something like 20, 30, 40, or 90. This could also be the golf ball’s compression rating. 

This, unlike the dimple count, is a significant deciding factor for golf balls. The compression determines your technique on the turf. Golfers with slow swing speeds use low compression. And golfers with a fast swing speed use high compression.

The numbers game for compression ratings on golf balls goes something like this. It starts from the range of 20 and goes up to 100. 

A standard range from 20 to 40 is unintelligibly referred to as a “ladies” ball. Meanwhile, the range from 80 or up to 110 is a “he-nam” ball. Women golfers tend to use softer balls to reach the longest drives. Men, those skilled and proficient golfers, use a harder core due to their fast swing speed.

But this classification does not indicate anything. One choose compression based on their individual performance. And based on the level you’re playing golf at. 

Having said that, most modern golf balls don’t have this number anymore. Probably because of the impression of low compression vs high compression golf balls. Compelling professional golfers to buy a higher rating. Even though their swing speeds do not match up to it. 

Because lower compression means a softer ball, right? So why would someone with expert golfing skills use a soft golf ball? The kind of golf ball a rookie or beginner uses. But that’s not completely appropriate. 

A lot of the times a low compression gives you better performance on the turf. So to avoid such clumsy mistakes, most golf balls do not have a compression rating anymore. You will find the compression rating written on the packaging and not on the ball.

Why Does My Ball Have A 3-Digit Number?


More intricate and accurate customizations have allowed three-digit numbers on a ball. Is this possible? If yes, then what numbers are those?

Well, such numbers are usually higher than 300 or more. This is the total count of dimples on each golf ball. So it’s 300 or 400 higher in triple digits. The dimple pattern is a significant feature to brag about. And some golf brands do so by pasting the 3-digit number on their balls.

Does this mean the higher the number of dimples, the better? The 3-digit number should give you no token of performance. A lower number can offer just as striking performance as a higher number. 

But dimple of a golf ball, varying in shape, diameter, and design. They do affect how high a golf ball can fly. This influences the spin rate and trajectory of the golf ball. Though you won’t know by simply looking. You can read more about the golf ball’s dimple characteristics on the packaging.


The number on a golf ball can mean something. But that depends on the type of number you’re looking at. So, to sum up, what does the number of a golf ball mean?

  • If it’s a single number: It’s the identification number to avoid confusion or mistakes.
  • If it’s a double number: It’s most likely the compression rating.
  • If it’s a triple-digit number: It’s the total number of dimples on the golf ball. 

Does the number affect your performance on the turf? Does it affect speed, stability, and how long a shot you take? The number is a good classification tactic. It helps golfers understand their game better. And the kind of golf gear that comes in handy for their game. 

So would you prefer using a golf ball that doesn’t help you organized? I don’t think so. Purchasing new golf balls without identification numbers is not simple. And what if someone you know buys the same golf ball? 

It’s better to have a distinction in how you identify between the golf balls. And to have a better understanding of the kind of golf ball you’re buying.

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