Have you ever wondered about the exact weight of a golf ball? Golfing geeks and people that find this topic interesting may know the answer to this question already. If you golf on the weekends casually, you unlikely have no clue about the true weight of a golf ball.
This question may seem trivial on the surface, but golf ball weight (including varying weights based on model and brand) will affect the accuracy and distance of the golf ball while driving it down the fairway. In fact, depending on the weight of the ball, you may need to take a few extra swings just to figure out the best speed with which to hit a ball, meaning that your short game might benefit from using a lighter ball, for example.
So, to answer this pressing question, please consider the following answer. To enter a recognized golf tournament, the ball can only weigh as much as 1.62 ounces, which equals 45.93 g. These restrictions were determined by the golf rules created by the R & A and the USGA golf governing boards.
Would you like to learn more about golf ball weight restrictions? Would you like to find out the best golf ball for you? To learn this and much more, please continue reading below.
The History of Golf Balls & Golf Ball Weight
During the 14th century, when golf was initially a new and fun game on the verge of becoming popular, they used to play using hard wooden balls. Generally, these balls were made from the hardest types of wood, including the wood from box and beech trees.
In the 15th century, things changed and they continued to use wooden golf balls, but they also began using leather balls as well, which were stuffed with goose feathers, chicken feathers, and/or cow hair. The leather balls were manufactured and exported to other parts of the world directly from the Netherlands.
Feather-filled balls were known as featherie, which eventually became the standard golf ball used in match play. Making a golf ball out of feathers might seem like a strange choice, since heavier balls go further than lighter ones, but golf lawmakers knew what they were doing and they had a workaround.
The creators of featherie balls would boil roughly a top hats worth of feathers, which made them soft and capable of stuffing into the small pouch till it was practically bursting at the seams. They would then so the golf ball closed, which made it stay together and it actually had decent weight.
The labor required to make these golf balls was very tedious indeed, so they were rather expensive. With today’s rates, these balls would cost anywhere from $10-$20. These balls remained the standard until the 19th century.
During the 1800s and 1900s, golf began seeing a number of different innovations and breakthroughs that modernized the golf ball during its evolution.
One innovation was an interesting golf ball that was made from the sap from the Malaysian sapodilla tree. This rubber ball had a solid or liquid core, but the outer layer itself was made from balata tree sap. They added dimples to this golf ball to provide better dynamics. Later on, balata sap was then replaced with synthetic resin. The caustic liquid inside the core was later on replaced with a solid core, leading us to today’s modern golf ball.
Golf Ball Weight Restrictions
Competitive golfers understand that there are certain weight restrictions on golf balls according to the rules of the game. At this point in time a golf ball can only weigh 1.62 ounces or 45.93 g. The United States Golf Association, in conjunction with the R&A, are the governing bodies that make the rules in the United States, Mexico, and the rest of the world. They are the groups responsible for the weight and size restrictions of golf balls.
These two associations work closely together. In 1952, their partnership eventually led to the governing rules of the game, better known as the Rules of Golf. Within these rules and regulations, they determined the weight and size of golf balls for standard competitions.
At first, the USGA and R&A did not maintain the same rules regarding the specific weight and size of golf balls.
In 1990, the two regulating bodies came together and finally agreed upon a standard regulation weight and size for all golf balls in tournament play. So, between 1952-1990, there were different rules for golf balls depending on the presiding association overlooking the competition.
For example, when a golf ball is much heavier, it will soar through the air a lot faster and it will take a while for it to slow down. Since the ball doesn’t slow down as much when it’s heavier, it’s going to travel a lot further than lighter balls as well. A heavier ball gives golfers an unfair advantage, which is why these regulating rules are important so all golfers are now on the same page.
In fact, a golf ball is considered illegal for competition if it weighs more than 1.62 ounces or 45.93 g.
By coming up with standard rules, the game is much fairer for everyone and it’s much easier to practice and get better now that everyone uses the same size and weight golf ball. With these global regulations, competitors know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are practicing and competing with a golf ball using the correct weight.
Even though golf balls have a maximum weight, they do not have a minimum weight. This is specifically because using a lighter ball is a bad idea for your overall golf game, so it just doesn’t happen.
In fact, lighter golf balls have a much more difficult time traveling very far when compared to heavier balls. The air slows the light golf balls down. This is certainly reason enough for golfers to shy away from using later golf balls.
Golf ball manufacturers always do their best to produce golf balls that weigh 1.62 ounces. But there is always a small margin of error. That’s why golfers weigh their balls prior to beginning a competition to make sure they aren’t playing with a lighter ball and giving themselves a disadvantage.