The indentations on a golf ball make it an unmistakable sphere entirely unique to the sport — and by most accounts, even most other recreational balls. But did you know that these divots — known as golf ball dimples — actually improve ball flight, aerodynamics, and distance?
Without these dimples, a ball would fly erratically through the air, causing a loss of control and an increase in drag. But enough of a science lesson — for now. You came here for the answer to one question: How many dimples are on a golf ball? Let’s find out.
Unfortunately, there’s no singular answer to this question, but rather, a range. Most golf balls have between 300 and 500 dimples on them, although some can have as many as 600 dimples. If you took the average of every manufactured golf ball to create a mean, the average golf ball contains 336 dimples.
Contrary to popular belief, the dimple count on a golf ball has nothing to do with hitting distance — whether on the course or the driving range. It’s all about control, lift, backspin, and trajectory. Dimples on a golf ball improve airflow around the surface of the ball by creating a thin layer of air, essentially lowering drag and air resistance. The air then flows over a more significant portion of the ball, which means more control and a similar trajectory every time you hit the ball in the air.
Moreover, golf ball dimples directly impact the ball’s lift. When you strike a golf ball, the lift force is what helps it gain height — it’s caused by the backspin of the ball. The science of this is rather complex, but essentially, the air pressure under the ball is greater than the air pressure beneath it. Add dimples to a ball, and the effect of ball spin and lift is magnified by 50%. With a dimpled ball, you get better performance characteristics, including better backspin, more lift, and improved control.
Dimples on a golf ball are a product of trial and error. When golf was first popularized in the mid-19th century, golf balls were made from hardened tree sap, also known as gutties or gutta percha golf balls.
Interestingly, this was one of the catalysts that propelled golf to new heights during this era. Prior to hardened tree sap, golf balls were made of leather stuffed with feathers, or featheries, which weren’t exactly affordable for the average person of the time.
Gutties were mass-produced in British colonies — specifically Malaysia — and imported to England and Scotland. And while the guttie is long gone, its impact on the game of golf remains. The smooth surface of the guttie didn’t bode well for control. Smooth golf balls knuckled frequently and changed trajectory without warning, which was only exacerbated by the famous winds of the Scottish Highlands.
Over time, the guttie got nicks and dents. But according to historians, golfers of the time found that these dents — or dimples — caused the ball to have a smoother, more controlled flight. Following this happenstance discovery, golf ball manufacturers began to create balls with raised bumps — the exact opposite of dimples.
It wasn’t until 1905 that modern golf balls entered the game. That year, English golf manufacturer William Taylor filed the first patent for a simplistic dimpled golf ball. Noting the improvement of the golf ball’s performance with dimples, other golf ball designs started to include them as well. Today, golf balls still contain dimples, and major manufacturers have R&D departments devoted entirely to the creation and testing of golf balls.
You may not think about the dimples of your golf ball when you hop out of your golf cart and take a swing on the course. But rest assured, they’re designed entirely to give you more control over your stroke — no matter what golf club you swing.
Now that you know how many dimples are on a golf ball and their purpose, you might be wondering if there’s anything else to the equation. Well, there is. The depth of the dimples and the shape of the dimples play yet another intriguing role in the flight of the golf ball.
For nearly 100 years, the dimples on a golf ball were round. Pick up a range ball or a mini-golf ball and that’s precisely what you’ll see. But in 2002, Callaway became the first company to change from circular dimples to hexagonal dimples.
Callaway found that hexagons could effectively cover 100% of the ball compared to just 86% for spherical dimples. As such, some companies have transitioned to a hexagonal pattern, albeit with varying results from golfers.
The other impact that dimples have is determined by the number and depth of the dimples. While dimples have a wide range of depths, the rule of thumb is that deeper dimples result in a lower flight path while shallow dimples have a higher flight path. This can play into your favor, depending on your swing, the weather/wind conditions, and your personal preference. But whether you have deep dimples or shallow dimples, both will undoubtedly improve the flight path of the ball.
Intriguingly, the number of dimples doesn’t have a huge impact — they seem to be more of a marketing gimmick. PGA Tour pros like Tiger Woods or Scottie Scheffler typically use balls near the 336-dimple average, and even amateurs usually stick in the 300 to 400 range. However, fewer than 300 dimples and the ball will knuckle, whereas more than about 500 can cause additional drag.
Not every golf ball has the same number of dimples. In fact, not even every golf ball manufacturer puts the same amount of dimples on their various models. The number of dimples on a golf ball varies by the dimple pattern and size, so depending on the model of the golf ball, the amount will change.
If you’re curious about your preferred golf ball, here are some of the top manufacturers and how many dimples each ball has:
Callaway is one of only two major brands that has the same number of dimples on all of its balls. So, if you’re asking, “How many dimples are on a golf ball made by Callaway?” the answer is always 322.
Like Callaway, Top Flite has the same number of dimples across all its ball designs. The only difference is that Top Flite balls have 332 divots in their dimple design.
Consistently ranked as the top golf ball manufacturer — including the best-selling Titleist Pro V1 — the Massachusetts-based golf outfitter has variable amounts of dimples on its golf balls.
Here are some more of the most popular — and arguably — the best golf balls and how many dimples each model contains.
With the enhancements in golf ball research and development, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club have proposed the Model Local Rule. Intended to level the playing field in elite competitions — namely the PGA and the European Tour — the rule gives tournament organizers the option to use golf balls designed to go no more than 317 yards in actual launch conditions.
If adopted, this rule will slice about 14 to 15 yards off the typical drive of a tour pro. The intent is to avoid any lengthening of courses and protect the inherent qualities of the sport. It’s designed not only to keep pro tour events fair but also to maintain the integrity of the recreational side of the sport for amateurs and those aiming to lower their handicaps. The rule — if enacted — will take effect during the 2026 pro golf season.
The next time someone asks you “How many dimples are on a golf ball?” you can respond with brazen and utter confidence: “It depends.”
But when you’re on the course or in the clubhouse, don’t put a ton of credence in the number of dimples on your golf ball. Instead, focus on the performance characteristics of each golf ball product. For example, you may want a ball that has more spin and control, or you may opt for forgiveness and distance. Or you may choose a ball that suits your swing — low-compression balls are ideal for slow swingers while high-compression balls are better for the quick-swinging linksman.
Regardless of what you choose, the golf ball won’t make or break you in all likelihood. Instead, focus on the fundamentals, practice as much as possible, and perhaps most importantly, love the game.
If you’re showing off your dimples by smiling on the course, you’re probably headed in the right direction.