How Many Dimples Are on a Golf Ball?


Like every element that goes into today’s golf equipment, the dimples on a golf ball are there by design– not by accident.

But, how many dimples are on a golf ball? 

In this article, we’ll answer that and explain why dimples are added to gold balls and the science behind them.

Let’s dive in.

How Many Dimples Are on a Golf Ball?

There are typically between 300 and 500 dimples on golf balls, depending on the model and manufacturer of the golf ball.

The record for the most number of dimples on a golf ball is 1,070. The ball, better known as the Dimple 1070, has 414 large dimples and 656 small dimples, which makes it a non-regulation ball, meaning it was used in a professional game.

But, how many dimples are on a regulation golf ball?

A golf ball with the most dimples that made it into the regulation-grade list is the Mizuno RB 566 (with 566 dimples).

The number of dimples per golf ball for it to qualify for professional use largely depends on where the tournament takes place. For example, American golf balls have 336 dimples, whereas British golf balls have around 330 dimples.

How Big Are Golf Dimples?

The size of dimples on golf balls is most commonly measured by depth. Most dimples have an average depth of around 0.01 inches

The depth of the dimples can dictate how fast the ball is, its trajectory, and overall distance. Even a minor difference of just 0.001 inch can change how the ball travels through the air.

For golfers, this can be the difference between making the green or landing in a water hazard. 

Traditionally, golf ball dimples are spherical because this shape ensures optimal aerodynamic performance.

However, it is not uncommon for some manufacturers to opt for slightly different dimple shapes, like hexagons.

Related: The best way to clean golf balls

How Much Does a Golf Ball Weigh?

All regulation golf balls cannot weigh more than 1.620 ounces or 45.93 grams, per the R&A rules.

The size or diameter of regulation golf balls cannot be less than 1.680 inches or 42.67 mm.

Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

Dimples on golf balls are not just for show. 

They create a thin boundary layer of air that clings to the surface of the ball. This allows the air to flow over a greater area of the ball’s surface, reducing drag by half, compared to a smooth ball. 

Dimples also optimise the lift force of the ball

The backspin on the ball contributes about half of the lift as the spinning action makes the air pressure at the button of the ball higher than that at the top. Dimples provide the other half of the total lift. 

For golfers, this means that they have a lot more control over the trajectory of the ball.

When Were Dimples Added to Golf Balls?

The introduction of dimples to golf balls was, to an extent, unintentional. 

During the mid-19th century, golfers used ‘gutties’, balls that were made of moulded tree sap. Eventually, they found out that the damaged gutties had more consistent ball flight than the new ones. 

This prompted golf ball manufacturers to start etching raised protrusions into the balls. Then in the 1900s, another inventor found that indentations in golf balls performed better than raised protrusions.

In 1905, English engineer and manufacturer William Taylor of the Taylor Hobson company patented the first golf ball dimple design.

Nowadays, dimple patterns on modern balls are tested using high-tech equipment for optimal design.

How to Pick the Golf Ball Dimple Pattern for Your Play Style

Professional golfers are rarely concerned with dimple patterns. Instead, they focus on the ball’s performance characteristics. 

For example, it’s more important to know the ball’s spin rate, distance, and whether the ball has low or high launch performance. 

While it is true that the dimple pattern can contribute to all of these metrics, there’s no need for any golfer to worry about it.

Bottom Line

The dimples on a golf ball are essential to its performance. If you’re wondering ‘how many dimples are on a golf ball?’ the answer is between 300 and 500.

The number varies depending on the model and manufacturer, though, there are balls that have more dimples than that.

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