Do Golf Ball Float? (Find Out Now!)

Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Alex PT

Golf balls do not float in water because they are denser than water. The density of water is 1000 kg/m^3, and the density of a golf ball is about 1200 kg/m^3. This means that a golf ball will sink in water.

Why Don’t Golf Balls Float?

Why Dont Golf Balls Float?

Really simply, because they are heavier than the density of water, and lack the necessary floating buoyancy. Within the real golf ball, the outermost shell is a core that is weighty. The core consists of several layers within 1 to even 4 but regardless its weight is relatively the same. Which, according to USGA and R&A should not be heavier than 45.93 grams. A golf ball’s diameter is not less than 42.67mm, which is a fair amount of mass therein within its surface area. Owing to this, it connotes that a golf ball is heavier than a unit of water. Due to this density, it cannot float. So down the golf ball sinks into depths of ponds, lakes, and rivers.

However, the weight of golf balls isn’t just for the sake of it. The weight unit is pivotal to the ball traveling at optimal speed and covering the required distance. Lacking the required mass, the ball would fall short in aerodynamics, the slightest milligrams removed from the golf ball would have a ripple effect on the ball’s performance. If you tried playing golf with a hollow or underweight ball you’d have a bad experience.

Floating Golf Balls

Floating Golf Balls

A golf balls that floats in water is called a floater. They exist and are manufactured by a handful of vendors. Floaters have a unique capacity to move across water surfaces instead of sinking.

Virtually all golf balls are used in golf sinks when thrown in water because they possess a density that is more than water. Floaters were designed to overcome this challenge.

It’s the best resort for golfers who wants to curb waste and save more from lost golf ball to water.

If you’re really tired and angry about losing golf balls to water, you might then consider buying floating golf balls. They are designed to be lighter with little hindrance to performance (although the real golf ball outperforms it)

Of course, if you strike them it float across ponds, but you’ll experience a difficult time retrieving the ball. But if they are floating at the riverbank and you possess a golf retriever, then it should be relatively easy to get them back.

Another added advantage of buying a floater is that they are relatively cheaper than regular golf balls. Combined with its lightweight, it’s just perfect as a practice ball 

Golf ball, Salty And Fresh Water

It is worth noting that a real golf ball can actually float- for this to happen the water must contain the right amount of sat.

Freshwater are water bodies that are low in salt concentration within 1%. Freshwater is usually found in rivers, ponds, wetlands, and lakes.

The maritime environment contains saltwater and they include the ocean, estuaries, and coral reefs. Saltwater requires a higher salt concentration to maintain its salinity.

As against freshwater, saltwater provides more density than a golf ball unit, enabling the ball the just required buoyancy. It’s in a rare situation that a golf course will contain salty to freshwater but if your golf course is close to a sea, then your golf ball will float if it hits the sea.

Science can also be adapted to enable real golf balls to float. A school experiment might be carried out to that effect. Just drip the real golf ball into a bowl containing freshwater, then continue adding salt until the ball floats.

Can You Actually Get Floating Golf Balls?

Yes, you can get floating golf balls, although they are not the standard type of golf ball used for regular play. Floating golf balls are specifically designed to stay afloat on water, making them suitable for practice or recreational use in aquatic environments such as water hazards, ponds, or driving range targets near water.

These floating golf balls are typically constructed differently from regular golf balls. They have a core made of lightweight materials, often foam or other buoyant substances, and are covered with a durable outer layer similar to a traditional golf ball’s cover. This combination of materials allows them to stay on the water’s surface.

Floating golf balls are commonly used for various purposes:

  1. Practice: Golfers can use them for water hazard practice or to retrieve balls from water features on the course without having to wade into the water.
  2. Entertainment: Some driving ranges or golf courses with water features offer floating golf balls as a fun and challenging option for golfers to hit targets on the water.
  3. Retrieval: Maintenance personnel on golf courses or driving ranges may use floating golf balls to collect balls from water hazards efficiently.

It’s important to note that floating golf balls are not suitable for regular play on the golf course. They have different flight characteristics and may not perform like standard golf balls when hit from the tee or fairway. Golfers should use them primarily for their intended purposes in practice or recreational settings near water.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Enables A Golf Ball To Float?

Golf balls that float usually have a more reduced weight and increased diameter than a regular golf ball. The combination impacts its density lower than that of water. Therefore the ball floats on water bodies such as lakes, swimming pools, or ponds.

Do Golf Balls Sink In Freshwater?

Yes, real golf balls sink in freshwater such as rivers, ponds, or lakes. This is because freshwater’s density is approximately 1g/ml as against the golf ball’s 1.09g/ml density. As a result, the ball sinks.

 Real golf balls still sink in water if the water is high in salinity.

How Far Do Floating Golf Balls Go?

Evidence has shown that floating golf balls cause the golfer to lose their distance of ball reach. This could be caused by the swing the golfer took but professional golfers know that the reach of a ball is based on its construction.

The floater ball is designed to generate enough backspin, which would result in a higher launch with a soft landing. However, this makes players with little composure produce excess spin, causing awkward strikes and loss of distance.

Freshwater Or Seawater, Which Are Found In Most Golf Courses?

Most golf courses are covered in freshwaters such as lake or ponds except for golf course that is close to or attached to the seaside.

Which Ball Is Perfect For Golf?

Depending on your golf purpose. If you seek to play professionally, then the standardized ball is just perfect but if you are playing for practice then floaters will do. 

Final Thoughts

Standardized golf balls don’t float for obvious reasons. Golf balls wouldn’t fly as far if they were any size heavier, and your scorecard would look pretty much worse. Golf ball design has been revamped over the years to its current iteration. If you have to watch as your golf ball sinks to the bottom of the river, lake, or pond then it’s the price you have to pay for the best ball performance.


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