For the love of the sport

Just What Are Illegal Golf Balls?

What are illegal golf balls and how do they work? Here's a look at pros and cons, and more important information.


Golf is a highly regulated game, and one that you have to be prepared to know a lot about if you truly want to be able to succeed.  That’s why you have to know that there are certain rules that govern play and how you can use some types of equipment.  Take golf balls for example, you’re going to find that choosing the right types of balls is really vital, because there are quite a few things that can make for Illegal golf balls and you can get in trouble for using them.  You have to be sure that the equipment that you take out onto the course with you meets legal golf standards, when you’re going to be playing in a tournament or really even if you’re just playing with some friends.

But that’s not to say there aren’t some advantages to be found with Illegal golf balls, and that they can’t be fun when just used by yourself.  You’re going to find that there’s plenty you can do with balls like these, and plenty of different types that you can have fun buying as well.  But you do have to know your standards so that you can easily tell just when Illegal golf balls are going to be appropriate, and when they are not going to be quite so appropriate as well.

What is it that makes for a legal golf ball?

You’ll find that legal golf balls have to adhere to a very specific set of standards in order to be considered fair for play.  While there is a certain amount of forgiveness that’s given to how they are constructed, you’ll find that there are quite a few certainties that dictate what types of golf balls you can use and or buy when you’re planning on playing a few rounds.  Here are the standards that your ball will have to adhere to:

  • Golf balls have a size requirement of 1.68 inches in diameter.
  • They must also weigh under 1.62 ounces as well.
  • There is also a velocity requirement, that they cannot exceed 250 feet per second.

If a golf ball does not adhere to just one of these standards, it is not legal for tournament play if you’re using the PGA rule book to govern how you’re going to be playing the game.  That means you have to be mindful, and you have to ensure that you’re buying from trusted brands to ensure you avoid Illegal golf balls.

But why are these standards necessary?

This is a question that can have a few answers really, but basically it’s to put all golfers on level pegging.  If you’re all using about the same type of golf equipment, or at least that which adheres to a conforming standard, you’ll find that it’s more the skill of the golfer that comes to light.  The game of golf is to find out who is the best at using their equipment on any particular course.  But having equipment that gives you an unfair advantage over your competition would result in basically cheating to win because you have something they don’t.  By making rules to ban Illegal golf balls, you’ll find that it’s easier to keep things fair so you’re determining actual winners.

What are the advantages of using some illegal golf balls?

You’ll find that there can actually be several advantages, and they can actually be a lot of fun for that reason when just playing golf by yourself or with friends.  If you’re not looking for a professional or competitive game, then you can try all sorts of balls that feature illegal but fun construction.  For example, there are some that you can buy that feature counter weight construction so they are almost impossible to slice.  There are other balls with much faster velocity abilities than legal balls, so you’ll be able to drive them 300 yards without even trying.  That can make the game a lot more entertaining, just remember that it’s also not going to improve your skills which can be bad.

Final verdict

In most cases you want to steer clear of illegal golf balls, as while they can be a lot of fun, you’ll find that they actually limit your ability as a golfer.  If you go from a ball that gives you an extra 50 yards when you tee off, to trying to play the normal game with legal equipment, you can have a ton of trouble trying to keep up with legitimate golfers.  So usually it’s best to stick with the legal stuff if you want to grow as a player.

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