What Do The Numbers On Golf Balls Mean?

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What Do the Numbers on Golf Balls Mean

You may have noticed that many gold balls have small numbers printed on their surface if you golf frequently. Sometimes these are small numbers, like 1, 2, or 3, and sometimes they are bigger numbers, even up to three digits. 

So you wonder: what do the numbers on golf balls mean? Well, the numbers on golf balls can mean a few different things.

It is probably an identifying number for people golfing with identical balls if it’s a single-digit number. If it is a double-digit number, it is most likely a compression rating. A triple-digit number probably indicates the number of dimples on the golf ball. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the numbers on your golf balls and what they represent!

The Numbers on Golf Balls Explained

Here are some explanations of what do the numbers on golf mean:

Single-Digit numbers on your golf ball

Single digit golf ball

If there are single-digit numbers printed onto your golf ball, they are probably there for the purpose of players identifying their balls while playing. This is often the case at courses where the balls are given to the players, as if the balls are identical, it will be hard to tell the difference between two balls that were hit near each other. 

This way, you’ll be able to assign a number to each player, and that player will know if the ball they find further down the course is theirs or if it belongs to another player. This is especially helpful when two balls end up close together, especially if you hit them from far away and couldn’t see exactly where they landed. 

Double-Digit numbers on your golf ball

double digit golf ball

If you see a double-digit number on your golf ball, it can sometimes be for the identification of players, though it’s not very common. If this is the case, these numbers will be rather low, probably under 20. Once you get into the 80s and 90s, these numbers serve a different purpose.

So what are these numbers for? Double-digit numbers are usually there to indicate a ball’s compression rating. 

Compression rating refers to how compressed the ball is, and it has a lot to do with how the ball feels to hit, and how much strength you need to drive the ball down the green.

A lower compression rating, usually between 70 and 80, means the ball will move more easily. These balls are usually designed for women. A high compression rating, that is to say, one near or over 100, is rather hard to hit and is usually reserved for men. 

Compression rating was usually more popular back in the day, and ball brands stopped using them after the 90s passed. However, golf balls last a long time, and there are plenty of balls floating around from before this era. If you get a double-digit number printed on your ball, this is most likely what it means!

Red vs. Black numbers

Many times when you’re dealing with golf balls that have double-digit numbers on them, the numbers might be different colors. Often, 90 compression balls or balls with slightly lower compression might be marked in red. This will help golfers quickly identify low compression balls if that’s what they prefer. 

Black numbers on the other hand, when it comes to compression, normally represent higher compression, such as compression levels of 100 or above. 

Often though, companies will consider the entire feel of the ball when putting text on the ball. Although compression isn’t all of what makes a ball feel a certain way, it is a big part of it. Red text indicates balls with a softer feel, while the black text indicates balls that feel more firm. 

Triple-Digit numbers on your golf ball

If there is a triple-digit number on your golf ball, it can mean one of two things. Firstly, it might be a ball with a very high compression rating. This will only be the case if the number is in the low 100s. They do not make balls with a compression rating of much higher than this. 

If the number is higher usually in the 300s or 400s, it most likely indicates the number of dimples on your golf ball. Golf balls don’t have dimples for no reason after all, so it can help to know how many there actually are. 

Dimples are on a golf ball to help it move straighter and more predictably through the air. This is because a flat surface is more susceptible to changing directions due to wind. However, when dimples are put on the ball, it makes it easier for golfers to control. 

The dimples also help the golf ball by giving it lift. This is because they cause a backward spin to be applied to the ball on impact, making the ball go higher and further, faster. This helps with long drives and more long-distance shots. 


To make a long story short, there are a few reasons that golf balls might have numbers printed on them. Single-digit or low numbers are normally used to identify balls on the green so players can tell which one is theirs, and which ones belong to other players. 

Double-digit numbers printed on balls are usually used to indicate compression rating, although numbers in the lower 100s can also be for this purpose. Red numbers often indicate soft feeling balls, while firmer ball numbers are often printed in black. 

Triple-digit numbers are either for compression, if they’re in the low 100s, or used to indicate the number of dimples on the ball. This number is almost always between 300 and 500. 

So, now you know what the number on your golf ball means! These numbers can really help you as you play.

Whether they’re speeding up the game by telling you which ball is yours or letting you figure out based on compression and amount of dimples which ball is best for you, it’s important to know as much as you can about the ball your using to make you a more effective golfer. 

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