How Many Dimples Are On a Golf Ball?

Have you ever wondered why golf balls have dimples? They seem mundane, but could there be a purpose that they serve? Also, the million-dollar question; how many dimples do you expect to find on a golf ball? 

If you have these questions, you are not alone. Both experienced and amateur golf players have wondered about this for ages. Nonetheless, worry no more as we will explicitly explain the intricate details of this subject. 

How Many Dimples are on a Golf Ball?

On average, golf balls have between 300 to 500 dimples, depending on the manufacturer and specific ball. This range is also seen within a particular brand. For example, the Titleist Pro V1 has 352 dimples, while the Pro V1x has only 321 dimples.

golf ball dimples

Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

Now let’s get to the elephant in the house; why do manufacturers put dimples on golf balls? You would be forgiven for thinking that it’s just for aesthetics purposes. They look cute with dimples, but it’s not all about appearance. There is a scientific explanation behind it. 

If you’ve ever hurled an irregularly shaped or flat object in the air, you must have noted that it moves inconsistently. This fluctuation in motion is mainly due to the action of air on the smooth surface. So could this be the reason why golf balls have an uneven surface? Yes, you’ve guessed right. 

What if Golf Balls Had No Dimples?

Suppose a golf ball lacked dimples; it would move unpredictably. Thus, a golfer would find it hard to control its motion. Consequently, golf would be a game of chance rather than expertise. Manufacturers realized this issue and solved it by modification of the ball’s surface. 

The science behind this technology is pretty simple. When a golf ball has dimples, a thin air film forms around it. This reduces the down drag effect that is synonymous with objects traveling through the air. Resultantly, air flows over a larger part of the ball than it would suppose it was smooth. It, in turn, yields a smooth flight.  

Did you know that the dimples principle is also applicable in cars? This is because cars also use the same theory to overcome air resistance and thus increase speed. 

Do Dimples Control the Lift?

Yes. In addition to facilitating the ball’s motion while in the air, dimples also enable the lift. When a golf ball is struck, its backward spinning motion contributes significantly to the lifting. 

What happens is as the ball spins backward, it creates some air pressure below its surface. This pressure is greater than the pressure above. As a result of the pressure difference, the ball is lifted. It is the dimples that are responsible for creating the air pressure. 

Almost half of the lift is facilitated by the action of the dimples. 

When Did Golf Balls Get Dimples?

It seems an awkward idea that someone sat down and decided to have dimples on golf balls for whatever reason. Well, it turns out that the need for dimples was discovered by accident.

The golf balls used in the 1880s were made from tree sap. These balls, then known as gutties, were the genesis of the present-day dimples. Golfers discovered that hitting a slightly damaged ball had better ball flight than the perfectly round ones.

This led to a practice of creating golf balls will protrusions. Nonetheless, there were improvements in the 1900s when it was discovered that indentations had better results than protrusions. The tune thus changed, and in 1905, the first golf ball with dimples was patented by William Taylor. This was the first time that the now-famous dimples on golf balls were made. 

Of course, in the past designs, there was little investment in the science of dimples. This has nonetheless since changed. Today, at the center of dimples creation is an attempt to give the ball the best conditions through high technology testing. 

How Big Are Dimples on Golf Balls?

The ideal size of dimples on golf balls is approximately 0.010 inches. You will also find a variation in the dimples’ circumference depending on the golf ball model. Also, the shapes are varied even though spherical dimples are more or less the standard. 

Nonetheless, some brands such as the Callaway HX Soft-Flight Practice Golf Balls sport hexagonally shaped dimples. 

Although manufacturers have the autonomy to make balls of any dimple size and shape, they must maintain symmetry. Therefore, expect to find dimples of standard depth and radius in any golf ball you interact with. 

How Much Does a Golf Ball Weigh?

If you are a golf connoisseur, you must be interested in knowing the standard golf ball weight. However, having such information in the past was virtually impossible. Earlier, golf balls had variations in size, shape, and weight. 

Today, such inconsistencies have been eliminated. The game’s governing bodies are clear on the range of weight that any golf ball should have. The maximum mass of a golf ball today is 45.93 grams. You will, thus, not find a ball weighing above this limit. 

What Size (Diameter) is a Golf Ball?

Similar to the weight, the golf ball size has also been inconsistent over the years. Nonetheless, in recent years, this has also been amended. At present, the minimum diameter of a golf ball stands at 42.67 mm. 

Which Dimple Pattern is the Best for me? 

We have explained that dimple patterns vary from one ball to the other. As a result, you will not find balls with the exact dimple sizes and shapes. This undoubtedly raises the question of which is the best dimple shape for you? 

Well, while you might be interested in such details, they are not too important. Of pertinent concern to you should be aspects such as the launch performance and spin characteristics. Indeed, you cannot separate these properties from the size and pattern of the dimple. 

Still, we insist that it is more important to pay attention to the performance properties over the other aspects. 

Final Thoughts 

We have listed some of the key takeaways on the number of dimples on a golf ball. Also, we have elaborated on the significance of the dimples and their role during play. Therefore, you’re more informed on what to look for when choosing golf balls. 

It is now your turn to act. Put the info into use. Enjoy golf while understanding why some of the seemingly mundane features as dimples are significant. 

Joe Morelli

Joe's been playing golf for 25 years, starting as a junior golfer in his early teens. He loves getting out on the links with his dad and friends -- whether an early weekend foursome or his weekday, afternoon league.

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