For most amateur golfers, buying golf balls involves looking at compression rating, spin, and price. However, one key factor that many overlook is the weight of the golf ball. At first glance, weight may seem insignificant – all regulation golf balls look and feel roughly the same. But small differences in golf ball weight can impact trajectory, distance, and forgiveness.
Understanding golf ball weight limits, how major brands compare, and how ball weight shifts during a round is crucial to selecting the right ball and optimizing your performance. Read on for a detailed guide to everything you need to know about golf ball weights.
Table of Contents
Golf Ball Weight Restrictions
The United States Golf Association (USGA) sets strict standards for the weight of golf balls used in competition. According to the USGA rules, a golf ball:
“Must not weigh more than 1.620 ounces (45.93 gm)”
This upper limit has been in place for decades and ensures a level playing field. It prevents manufacturers from making excessively heavy balls that launch too far.
However, the USGA does not enforce a minimum weight limit. Balls can weigh less than 1.620 ounces as long as they still conform to size and initial velocity standards.
Most recreational golfers do not need to worry about USGA weight restrictions. But competitive players should ensure the balls in their bags are at or under the legal limit.
Heaviest and Lightest Balls by Brand
While all regulation golf balls fall somewhere near the 1.6 ounce average, small differences in weight exist across brands and models.
Here is a comparison of golf ball weights from some top manufacturers:
Tour B X
A few takeaways:
Titleist Pro V1 balls are often heaviest – The Pro V1 averaged 1.614 ounces, making it one of the heaviest across brands. The Pro V1x was 1.616 ounces, very close to the USGA limit.
Bridgestone e6 Soft is extremely light – The e6 Soft measured just 1.600 ounces, a full .016 ounces below average weight. This featherweight feel promotes slower swing speeds.
Most brands offer both heavy and light balls – Brands like Srixon and Bridgestone have models on both ends of the spectrum, allowing golfers to choose based on preferences.
While these small weight differences seem trivial, they can impact the balls flight and performance for all levels of golfers. We’ll explore those effects next.
Weight Changes During Play
One little known fact about golf ball weight is that it often decreases over the course of a round.
New golf balls right out of the sleeve will weigh slightly more than balls that have been used on the course for 18 holes.
There are two primary reasons for these golf ball weight changes:
Waterlogging – Golf balls that are hit into water hazards or heavy rain absorb water. This water retention reduces their density and weight.
Wear and Tear – Friction and club impact scrapes off the outer layers of the golf ball over time. This loss of surface coatings decreases the overall mass.
Research indicates that waterlogged balls weigh 0.5 to 1 gram less than new balls. Similarly, balls nearing the end of their useful life weigh up to 1 gram less than fresh balls.
While less than a 10% reduction, this lost weight further reduces distance and resiliency off the clubface. Keeping a consistent ball weight throughout your round is key for optimal control.
How Weight Affects Players
Now that you know the weights of different golf balls, how do those differences impact your performance on the course?
Here are key ways heavier and lighter golf ball weights affect shots:
Launch at lower trajectory off driver
Less spin on approach irons
More penetrating, boring flight
Roll farther on fairways
Launch at higher trajectory off driver
More spin on approach irons
More affected by wind
Release more on greens
In general, heavier golf balls launch lower with a more piercing trajectory. Their added mass leads to decreased spin on iron shots. Players with high swing speeds or who want maximum distance often favor the heaviest legal balls.
On the other hand, lighter balls are great for slow swingers. Their lightweight construction requires less effort to compress at impact. The high launch and extra spin makes them easier to control in the wind. Finesse players tend to prefer the lightest ball they can control.
Key Takeaways on Golf Ball Weight
To wrap up, here are the 5 key things all golfers should know about golf ball weight:
The USGA sets an upper limit of 1.620 oz for golf ball weight in competition.
Titleist Pro V1 balls tend to be heavier than average at 1.614 oz.
Feather-lite golf balls like the Srixon Soft Feel weigh as little as 1.600 oz.
Ball weight drops over time due to waterlogging and wear.
Heavier balls generally launch lower with more distance. Lighter balls are more affected by wind.
Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need.