We’ve become so accustomed to how a golf ball looks that we tend to take it for granted.
Have you ever wondered how big a golf ball is and how it came to be that way? If you have, then you’ve come to the right place.
Go through this guide to find out how big a golf ball is in cm, how much it weighs, and how these specifications became universally recognized as the norm.
Table of Contents
What Is The Size of a Golf Ball?
The regulation size of golf balls is enforced by the two premier governing bodies in the sport; the USGA and the R&A. These are the American and British golf associations respectively.
As per the rules agreed upon by the USGA and R&A, the diameter of a regulation golf ball should be 4.267 cm. In turn, the circumference of a golf ball is approximately 13.4 cm.
It should be noted that this is a minimum requirement. Therefore, golfers are allowed to use golf balls of larger diameter in official tournaments if they wish to do so.
However, any ball found to have a diameter of less than 4.267 cm would be grounds for the dismissal of the golfer using it from the tournament in question.
Are All Golf Balls the Same Size?
Not all golf balls are the same size. Some will be bigger than the aforementioned diameter of 4.267 cm. Other balls you’ll find available on the market might be smaller. However, these balls aren’t up to par with USGA and R&A specifications.
Therefore, these smaller balls can only be used by casual golfers hitting the links.
What Is the Size of Golf Ball Dimples?
Have you ever asked yourself why golf balls have those grooves on them? Well, here’s the answer.
These grooves, referred to in golfing circles as dimples, aren’t there to simply make golf balls look better. In fact, they’re a key determining factor when it comes to a golf ball’s performance.
A golf ball’s dimples make it more aerodynamic, reducing the air resistance it faces when the strike of your golf club sets it in motion. They’re also imperative in improving the lifespan of a golf ball.
As far as the USGA and R&A are concerned, there are no rules regulating how big or deep the dimples on a golf ball should be. Therefore, you’ll find the size and depth of dimples vary from one golf ball brand to the next.
However, based on years of testing, it has become apparent to most golf ball makers that a dimple depth of approximately 0.025 cm is what optimizes the performance of a golf ball.
What Is The Weight of a Golf Ball?
The USGA and R&A’s verdict on the required weight of a golf ball is a maximum of 45.93 grams (1.62 oz). Any ball that’s heavier than this isn’t permitted in tournaments under the umbrella of the two governing bodies.
How Big Is a Golf Hole?
The regulation diameter of a golf hole is 10.8 cm. Making it about two and a half times wider than a golf ball.
There have been talks that making golf holes bigger in an attempt to make golf a more exciting sport for fans. However, there have been no official statements made by the USGA or R&A on the matter. Therefore, the size of golf holes is unlikely to change for the time being.
How We Got Here: A Brief History of Golf Ball Size
The USGA and R&A didn’t always see eye to eye when it came to what the size of a golf ball should be. In fact, this was a back and forth subject of significant debate throughout the 20th century.
In terms of weight, the two governing bodies were in agreement with the 45.93 grams standard that’s universally recognized to this day.
However, the R&A was advocating for a minimum diameter of 4.1 cm, while the USGA maintained that it should be 4.267 cm. In fact, the USGA outright rejected the smaller ball in the early 1900s.
This led to different tournaments having different regulations depending on which association governed them, creating a dichotomy of the “American ball” vs the “British ball”.
Golfers had the option of using either ball in R&A regulated tournaments. On the other hand, USGA tournaments only permitted the American ball.
Interestingly enough, some of the most renowned American golfers in history would choose to use the British ball when competing in R&A events.
You may be wondering why there was such a heated debate over such a minimal difference in ball size. For starters, the pride of each governing body may have been stopping it from yielding to the whims of the other.
However, a more tangible reason is that even such a small difference in size altered the performance of a golf ball significantly.
Many golfers that tried both balls attested to the fact that the British ball experienced less drag, and in turn, covered greater distances than its American counterpart.
In the 1990s, the USGA and R&A set their differences aside and agreed on the diameter of 4.267 cm that’s used today.
The universally recognized regulation size of a golf ball is a minimum diameter of 4.267 cm and a maximum weight of 45.93 grams. Additionally, a golf hole has a diameter of 10.8 cm, which is just over two and a half times wider than a ball.
These specifications are agreed upon and enforced by the USGA and the R&A and were reached after a whole century of back and forth debate.
Not all golf balls are the same size, you may find ones that deviate from the regulation specifications. However, such balls can only be used in casual golfing, not in official tournaments.