How Big is a Golf Ball [All Size Guide]

Forrest Kritzer
How big is a golf ball? How does its size impact your game? If you want to know more about how the size of a golf ball influences your play, from precision and control to distance and trajectory, this guide is definitely for you.

Golf, a sport known for its precision and complexities, involves various equipment carefully designed to influence the game's outcome. Among these tools, the golf ball stands out as a fundamental component that has maintained its specifications for over a century. As enthusiasts and beginners step onto the course, a common question often arises: How big is a golf ball?

In golf, where accuracy and consistency are paramount, the size and weight of a golf ball are not an exception. Governed by strict regulations set by organizations like the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A, the international rules-making body for golf, the dimensions of a golf ball play a crucial role in shaping its behaviour during play. This article unravels the specifics of the golf ball's size and weight, exploring why adherence to these regulations is so important to the essence of the game.

Table Of Contents

History of Golf Balls Size

The evolution of golf ball size has seen significant changes throughout history. The 'featherie,' an early golf ball, was a hand-woven leather sphere filled with goose feathers, making it expensive and challenging to produce uniformly. Around 1850, the 'guttie,' made from dried tree sap, replaced the featherie, offering a more affordable and quickly produced alternative.

In the early 20th century, the Haskell ball, featuring wound rubber innards wrapped in balata, became a prominent design lasting for several decades. However, mass production in the 1960s marked the end of the Haskell ball era, bringing about more cost-effective manufacturing methods.

A lack of standardization in golf ball practices across the globe led to differing sizes in the UK and the US until 1990. Before this standardization, the USGA mandated a 1.68-inch diameter, while the R&A allowed a slightly smaller ball at 1.62 inches in diameter. The smaller British ball gained popularity for its perceived advantages in wind control and ease of play.

In 1990, the USGA and R&A reached an agreement, establishing a universal minimum diameter of 1.68 inches for all golf balls. Interestingly, there is no maximum size requirement for golf balls. While some manufacturers have experimented with larger diameters, scientific evidence suggests that smaller balls of the same weight tend to travel farther. The golf ball's journey through history reflects a quest for standardization and performance optimization, ultimately shaping the game we know today.


Despite their small size, golf balls wield significant influence over the outcome of every shot, affecting direction, distance, and accuracy. The diameter of a golf ball, regulated by both the R&A and USGA, measures approximately 1.68 inches (42.67 millimetres), a standardized dimension crucial for maintaining fairness and consistency in the sport. This ensures that all golf balls utilized in official play adhere to a uniform size.


The standard golf ball has a circumference of about 5.28 inches (13.4 centimetres), measured around its widest part, referred to as the equator.


As per the USGA Rules of Golf, the weight of a golf ball is capped at 1.620 ounces (45.93 grams). The average weight of most golf balls falls within this range, providing manufacturers with some flexibility while ensuring fairness in the game. This weight limit allows for optimal performance, as a slightly heavier ball can resist air resistance more effectively, leading to longer flights.


Rules do not restrict the number of dimples on a golf ball. Famous golf balls typically have between 300 and 400 dimples. While there are no specific regulations regarding dimple shapes, the USGA requires symmetrical dimple patterns to ensure a neutral influence on ball flight. The range of 320-390 dimples is commonly found on golf balls used by professional players, with the exact number varying based on the manufacturer and ball type.

Size of a Golf Ball Hole

The standard diameter for a golf hole is 4.25 inches, a dimension established by the British R&A rules governing body in 1891. This specific size aims to strike a balance in making the game challenging while successfully allowing players to hole out from a distance. The holes have a minimum depth requirement of 4 inches, with no specified maximum depth.

Types of Golf Balls and their Sizes

Numerous modern golf balls cater to different player preferences and performance needs. These offerings, crafted by various manufacturers, feature distinct designs, constructions, and volumes to optimize performance on the golf course. Among the common variations are two-piece, three-piece, and multi-layer golf balls, each tailored to provide specific advantages and characteristics, enhancing a player's experience across different aspects of the game.

1. Two-Piece Golf Ball

Two-piece golf balls are famous for higher handicap or beginner golfers, prioritizing distance over feel and control. With a standard diameter of 1.68 inches, these balls feature a small core and a Surlyn outer layer, making them more affordable and durable. The diameter and tougher composition provide better compression for players with slower swing speeds, making them suitable for average golfers. Known for their affordability and longevity, two-piece golf balls are widely available.

2. Three-piece Golf Ball

Three-piece golf balls, featuring a standard diameter of 1.68 inches and a maximum weight of 1.62 oz, cater to mid-handicap players seeking a superior feel and spin on the golf course. The Urethane outer cover distinguishes these balls, offering enhanced control and spin compared to their two-piece counterparts. The design may sound complex with three distinct parts—the cover, a small inner core, and an additional layer—but it improves performance. As these balls become more affordable, they are increasingly popular among golfers of various skill levels, delivering heightened levels of control and spin for a more satisfying gameplay experience.

3. Multi-layer Golf Ball

Multi-layer golf balls, maintaining a standard diameter of 1.68 inches and a weight of 45.93 grams (1.62 oz), cater to advanced players seeking a balanced combination of distance, control, and spin. With intricate inner layers surrounding a smaller core, these balls provide skilled players various options, including softness, spin control, and exceptional distance. The interaction between these layers and the clubface upon impact imparts unique flight characteristics, contributing to optimal performance for experienced golfers. Multi-layer golf balls stand out as a versatile choice, offering enhanced features while adhering to the standard size and weight regulations.

Are all Golf Balls the same size?

According to the rules established by golf's governing bodies, including the R&A and USGA, all golf balls used for tournament play must adhere to a universal standard size. This standard mandates a diameter of 1.68 inches (42.67mm) and a weight not exceeding 1.62 ounces (45.93 grams). However, golf balls can differ significantly in weight, compression, and other performance characteristics within this size restriction. Manufacturers employ various materials, dimple patterns, and construction techniques to achieve distinct outcomes, such as maximum distance, optimal spin, or improved feel.

While most golf balls adhere to the standardized dimensions for tournament play, there are exceptions. Some manufacturers produce non-conforming golf balls that deviate from the standard size. These non-conforming balls are intentionally designed to be smaller, allowing them to fly straighter and potentially cover more distance. Golfers need to be aware of the specifications and standards when selecting golf balls for tournament play to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations set by the governing bodies.

Importance of Golf Ball Size

The size of a golf ball holds paramount importance for various aspects of the game, influencing player performance and overall gameplay. A standardized size ensures consistency, creating a level playing field and fostering fair competition among golfers. This uniformity extends to aerodynamics, where the size of the golf ball regulates flight characteristics, including distance, trajectory, and spin.

Additionally, the ease of play is greatly facilitated by a consistent ball size. Golfers rely on knowing the dimensions of the ball for precision, control, and proper positioning on the tee. The choice of golf ball size becomes a strategic decision for players, impacting their ability to hit shots accurately.

The specific size of a golf ball further contributes to the feel and performance of a shot. Larger balls are generally easier to hit, promoting higher and potentially longer flights. On the other hand, smaller-sized balls offer more control, aiding in precision directing the ball's flight path. The choice between a larger or smaller ball depends on individual preferences, swing speed, and the desired outcome of the shot.

Selecting the right-sized golf ball is a crucial aspect of the game, influencing distance, accuracy, and the overall player experience. Whether optimizing for ease of hitting or fine-tuning control, understanding the impact of golf ball size allows golfers to make informed choices that align with their skill level and objectives on the course.


The size of a golf ball, governed by strict regulations from bodies like the R&A and USGA, is a critical factor shaping the dynamics of the sport. With a standardized diameter of 1.68 inches and a weight not exceeding 1.62 ounces, the golf ball ensures a level playing field for all participants. This uniformity fosters fair competition, promoting consistency across the golfing community. Beyond conformity, the size opens the door to various design possibilities. Golf ball manufacturers craft variations like two-piece, three-piece, and multi-layer balls, each tailored to specific performance attributes. From aerodynamics to ease of play, the size of a golf ball becomes the key element in the balance between tradition and innovation, influencing the game's essence.

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