Golf is a fun game, no doubt. But the game often causes a lot of confusion as well. Particularly if you’re a beginner or an occasional player. So asking questions like “what is the diameter of a golf ball?” is only common.
What’s also common is wondering how you’re going to manage to hole the tiny little golf ball into the 4-inch opening that’s around 400 yards away from that tee box you’re currently standing on. If you can relate to what I’m saying, then great. And if not, I’m sure you’ll get there eventually.
Either way, the small size of the golf ball is often placed under the scanner to solve much confusion revolving around it. So let’s find out the answer to the frequently asked question, what is the diameter of a golf ball?
What is the Diameter of a Golf Ball?
Golf balls that meet the USGA standards have a 1.68-inch diameter. You don’t have to go about measuring every golf ball when preparing for an upcoming tournament. The majority of golf ball manufacturers are quite in touch with the strict rules of the game. Therefore, they design their products appropriately.
Is your golf ball produced by a reputable golfing company like Srixon, Titleist, TaylorMade, Nike, or Top Flight? If yes, then flush down all worries concerning the golf ball construction. These brands take care of not only the diameter. But also the golf ball material.
On the other hand, do you have a golf ball manufactured by a company you haven’t heard of? If yes, then it makes sense to get the specifications checked. They have to be in sync with the standards set by the USGA.
Doing a lit bit of digging, at such times, is necessary. That is only you wish to avoid running into problems! Because, by chance, if these balls don’t comply, what you’ll be doing is saving yourself the trouble of DQ. Right in the middle of your tournament play!
Why is the Diameter 1.68 Inches?
The number is quite specific, isn’t it? So why is it so? Is it because all the numbers are, to some extent, fairly specific? No, that’s not it. The number here is so specific because of performance regulations.
Here’s the explanation. The USGA has earned a very infamous reputation in terms of not only upholding and writing the golf rules. But also in the context of doing everything under their control for maintaining the difficulty of the game of golf.
Now I know this sounds strange. However, it’s true. This explains why the USGA decided to place limitations on the clubface grooves depth. And it also explains why they cast out the technique of anchor putter just recently.
So golf balls are not allowed to be smaller than the strictly set 1.68-inch diameter. As for the golf ball volume, the weight is supposed to be 1.62 ounces. Heavier or lighter than that and your golf ball has the ability to travel further down. And this would certainly make the sport an easy one. Something that the USGA constantly strives to make impossible!
Have Golf Ball Limitations Always Been So Strict?
The answer, quite surprisingly, is NO. The USGA has been placing such limitations only over the past 60 years. It’s when advanced golf ball technology came into being in Europe. Up until then, the rules used to be slightly more lenient.
But the golf ball diameter on the British side of the sport is 1.62 inches. Let me explain why.
Golf rules in Europe fall under the control of R&A, not USGA. So this makes way for some discrepancy. This slight difference in the golf ball diameter is due to a simple reason. And that is, playing conditions in Europe are chillier and windier. These two factors end up reducing golf shot lengths.
However, the smaller European golf balls don’t travel considerably longer distances than the slightly larger Americal golf balls. Even so, every extra bit of diameter does help in some way.
Penalty for Using Non-Conforming Golf Balls
For tournament play, unfortunately, the golf rules are very strict. When caught playing with a golf ball or any other equipment that doesn’t meet the USGA standards, disqualification is inevitable. But this only applies in competitive settings!
During such professional tournaments, you can’t even carry the non-conforming equipment in your golfing bag. Otherwise, you suffer a 2-stroke penalty for every hole. That means a maximum of 4 penalty strokes.
How About Casual Golf with Friends?
Needless to say, don’t expect to get disqualified from your weekend game at your local golf course. Using smaller or larger golf balls during casual play by mistake is something you can explain to your other golfing buddies.
The majority of times it doesn’t even matter, to be honest. Unless you’re playing a serious game for money. Then you might want to use golf balls that comply with the strict 1.68-inch USGA standards.
More on the Average Size of a Golf Ball
The diameter you already know, which is 1.68 inches. In the units of centimeter and millimeter, it’s 4.268 centimeters and 42.68 millimeters.
What about the golf ball circumference? That is, in terms of inches, 5.277. This is 13.405 centimeters and 134.058 millimeters.
And the average height and width of golf balls? Both are 43 millimeters.
Naturally speaking, not every golf ball is manufactured equally. Meaning some balls have a larger diameter than 1.68 inches.
The rules of golf are aplenty. That’s for sure, isn’t it? I mean it’s only common sense to assume that not all rules are formed equal. But you don’t have to bother yourself with this issue, as you do in the case of rule-abiding drops. Professional golfers, more often than not, don’t tee off using non-compliant golf balls. These are serious tournament golfers. So that’s expected of them, isn’t it?
As for weekend golfing enthusiasts, there’s no need to stress over the golf ball size. Unless you spend most weekends of the month raiding the course lake for your golf balls. Only when you’re playing for fun and not collecting trophies you can let go of the question, what is the diameter of a golf ball? You just worry about managing to putt the ball in that hole!