In as much as golf is an exciting game to play and watch, it comes with several rules that some people find confusing, especially if you are new to the game. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear questions such as "what is the diameter of a golf ball?" or inquiries about the golf ball size.
Many people that do not know much about the game also wonder if all the golf balls have one standard size and diameter. Another frequently asked question is whether the balls have had the same size since the birth of golf. It is small, but there is so much confusion around the golf ball, and this article answers the most burning question- "what is the diameter of a golf ball" or "what is the allowed golf ball size."
What is the Diameter of a Golf Ball?
If you are wondering if you have to measure a golf ball to determine its diameter, the answer is no. You do not have to because the ball manufacturers already have you covered. The golf ball diameter is 1.68 inches, and it is the standard size set by the USGA. Manufacturers of golf balls know the rules concerning the standard and regulated size and stick to them irrespective of the tournament.
Besides the diameter and golf ball size, the best brands also ensure that all the other attributes, including construction material, number, and design of dimples, and compression, all comply with the set rules. Therefore, if you buy from the top brands such as TaylorMade, Titleist, Nike, or Srixon, you can rest assured that the golf balls meet the required diameter, and all you need to worry about is the play.
However, if you buy your golf balls from a company you are hearing about for the first time, it will not cost you anything to find out if they meet the specifications required by the golf governing body. Failure to use golf balls with the standard size and diameter might cost you a game of golf.
What are the other golf ball sizes to take into consideration?
Besides the diameter, which as stipulated above is 1.68 inches or 4.268 centimeters, other golf ball sizes are as follows:
- The circumference is 5.277 inches or 13.405 centimeters
- Average height of the golf ball is 43 millimeters
- Width averages 43 millimeters
- 62 ounces is the standard weight
Is The Diameter Standard In British Golf Balls?
Before 1990, both the British and American golf ball sizes differed. While the American golf rules fall under the USGA, British golf rules fall under R&A. There are some discrepancies between the USGA rules and the R&A rules mainly due to the differences in playing conditions. The European climate is windier and chillier compared to the American one, which affects the shot distance.
Before the USGA and R&A came into an agreement to use the same standard golf ball size in 1990, the diameters of the balls were different. The diameter of the British golf ball was 1.62 inches, which was slightly lower than the standard 1.68 inches set by the USGA.
Players even referred to the British golf ball as the small ball and the American one as the big ball. The concept for coming up with a smaller ball was that it would be easier to withstand the harsher European climate and fit into a golf course hole. Even the slightest size discrepancy makes a considerable difference in golf, and the small ball could not attain the same distance as the big ball.
In 1990, both golf giant regulating bodies USGA, and R&A, agreed that players would use the same standard size ball -1.68 inches irrespective of the tournament or hosting country. The regulations stay the same to date.
Read next: What Is 4-Ball In Golf
What Golf Ball Size Do Players Use On The British Open?
One of the most popular tournaments globally is British Open that attracts all the top players worldwide. One of the burning questions one might ask is whether foreign players in the British open use the USGA standard golf ball or the R&A standard size golf ball.
Even though the British had a different golf ball size, the same is not appropriate in competitive tournaments. Therefore, in the British open, all players use the standard 1.68-inch golf ball. The diameter is the accepted size to use for all the tournaments worldwide. However, the British can still use the small ball for non-competitive golf among friends and local clubs.
Has USGA Always Been This Strict With The Golf Ball Size?
The answer is no. the limitations of the golf size were not there 60 years ago. However, with advanced golf ball technology that started in Europe, USGA saw it fit to place limitations that would provide all the players with uniformity as far as golf balls, golf clubs, golf attire, and golf courses were concerned. Before then, players enjoyed more leniency and freedom to play golf with balls of their choice.
Penalties For Using Non-Standard Golf Balls
Golf rules are stringent, primarily for tournament matches. If a player uses golf balls or any other equipment that does not meet the standards set by the USGA, the inevitable penalty is a disqualification. Even the equipment a player carries in their golf bag should meet the set standards.
Besides disqualification, other penalties include suffering 2-stroke penalties for each hole played, leading to four-stroke penalties maximum. However, the strict rules only apply to competitive tournaments. If you play golf with friends at your local golf club, you do not have to worry about penalty strokes or disqualification. You can choose to use the small or large golf balls depending on your preference.
Read next: Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples
Wrapping it up
Golf is fun both for competition and for leisure. However, it is one of the sports with many rules, some of which are so strict that they get confusing. The rules are there for a reason, but they mainly target professional players that play for money.
Golf ball manufacturing companies make it easier for everyone by abiding by the regulations set by the USGA. They make it easier even for professional players not to worry about playing non-compliant balls. I hope the above explanation explains the question-what is the diameter of a golf ball.