Many golf organizations regulate the use of golf balls in tournament play. In the United States, the United States Golf Association (USGA) sets these requirements. Balls that do not conform to these specifications are known as illegal golf balls, but can still be used by members of the public for recreational play. They can often be purchased at sporting goods stores and may be marketed as an advanced type of ball.
The USGA requires that golf balls used in tournament play be at least 1.68 inches (4.27 cm) in diameter. Maximum weight of these balls is 1.62 ounces (45.93 g). Illegal golf balls are typically smaller in diameter yet heavier than regulation balls.
Velocity refers to how fast an object moves in a particular direction. Regulation golf balls can not have a velocity of more than 250 feet per second (76.25 meters per second). The weight and size of the ball, as well as its overall construction, determines velocity. Illegal golf balls typically have a velocity much higher than that of standard golf balls.
People who use illegal golf balls often find they are able to hit the ball anywhere from 20 to 25 yards (18.2 to 22.75 m) farther than if they had used regulation balls. That is because these golf balls are designed to fly higher, which in turn maximizes distance. Golfers often find it difficult to put the ball into the hole once it is on the green because it is difficult to spin these balls.
Although they may not be used by professional golfers, illegal golf balls can be purchased by the public and are often used for recreational play. These golf balls are often advertised to give a golfer extra distance. For this reason, many people buy this golf equipment without realizing they are outlawed by the USGA.
Illegal golf balls often look similar to those that meet USGA standards. Like those balls, they are normally white but can also be bright colors. They normally come in boxes that contain around one dozen golf balls.
Golf instructors often advise clients against using illegal golf balls. This is because they can make players feel like they have gained distance on their swing when in fact they have not. The extra distance is usually lost whenever play resumes with regulation balls. People who are unsure whether or not they are playing with USGA sanctioned golf balls should ask a professional in order to be sure they are choosing the correct ones.