Do Golf Balls Float: The Science Behind Golf Balls

Golf, a sport millions enjoy worldwide, has its fair share of mysteries and misconceptions. One common question that arises is whether golf balls float or sink. 

In short, golf balls generally do not float. Due to their dense core and outer layers, most golf balls tend to sink in water. However, a few exceptions and factors can influence their buoyancy, which we will delve into in this article.

In this blog post, we will explore the science behind golf balls and the factors that determine their buoyancy. By the end, you’ll clearly understand whether golf balls are designed to float or sink.

What Is A Floating Golf Ball?

image 30

A floating golf ball is a golf ball that is designed to float on water. They are typically made of a material that is denser than water but has small air bubbles trapped inside. This gives the ball a neutral buoyancy, so it will float on the surface of the water.

Floating golf balls are often used for practicing golf in water hazards, such as lakes or ponds. They can also be used for fun games of water golf.

Benefits of using floating golf balls

  • They can be used to practice golf in water hazards without having to worry about losing the ball.
  • They are a lot of fun to play with in the water.
  • They can be used for games of water golf.

Drawbacks of using floating golf balls

  • They are not as durable as regular golf balls.
  • They may not perform as well as regular golf balls in windy conditions.
  • They may not be accepted for use in official golf tournaments.

Overall, floating golf balls are a fun and versatile way to enjoy the game of golf. They are a great option for practicing in water hazards or for playing games of water golf.

Top brands that sell floating golf balls

  • Aqua Shot
  • Best4Balls
  • EliteShine
  • A99 Golf

What Factors Determine Whether A Golf Ball Floats Or Sinks?

image 29

When it comes to determining whether a golf ball floats or sinks, several factors come into play. 

Understanding these factors can help golfers make informed decisions on the course. Let’s take a closer look at the key considerations.

Density of the Golf Ball

The density of a golf ball primarily determines whether it will float or sink. A golf ball with a lower density will float, while one with a higher density will sink.

Material Composition

The material composition of the golf ball affects its density. Golf balls made of materials like foam or hollow plastic tend to have lower densities, making them more likely to float. 

On the other hand, golf balls made of denser materials like rubber or solid plastic have higher densities, causing them to sink.

Design Features

Certain design features of a golf ball can influence its ability to float or sink. 

For instance, golf balls with multiple layers or a hollow core tend to have lower densities and are more buoyant, allowing them to float. 

Conversely, golf balls with a solid core and fewer layers have higher densities, leading to sinking.

Surface Area and Texture

The surface area and texture of a golf ball can impact its floating or sinking behavior.

Golf balls with dimples, which are common in modern designs, create turbulence in the surrounding water, reducing drag and enhancing buoyancy. As a result, they are more likely to float. 

Smooth-surfaced golf balls, on the other hand, have higher drag and are prone to sinking.

Water Conditions

The conditions of the water in which the golf ball is placed also play a role. If the water is denser than the golf ball, it will sink regardless of its density. 

Additionally, the temperature and salinity of the water can affect its density, potentially altering the buoyancy of the golf ball.

Additional Factors

Other factors that can affect whether a golf ball floats or sinks include the presence of air pockets within the ball, damage or cracks that may alter its density, and the weight distribution within the ball.

Common Misconceptions About Golf Ball Floatation

image 31

Golf ball floatation is often misunderstood, leading to several misconceptions that need to be clarified. Let’s explore some of these misconceptions and set the record straight.

Golf Balls Float Easily on Water

Contrary to popular belief, golf balls do not effortlessly float on water. While some golf balls may exhibit limited buoyancy, they do not stay afloat indefinitely.

All Golf Balls Are Designed to Float

Not all golf balls are designed with floatation in mind. In fact, most golf balls are specifically crafted to optimize distance, control, and performance without considering buoyancy.

Floating Golf Balls Are Ideal for Water Hazards

While it may seem logical to use floating golf balls for water hazards, they are not necessarily the best choice. Floating balls often sacrifice performance characteristics, affecting accuracy and distance.

Floating Golf Balls Are Resistant to Water Damage

Floating golf balls are not immune to water damage. Even if they remain afloat, prolonged exposure to water can lead to the degradation of the ball’s performance and durability.

All Golf Balls Float Equally

Not all floating golf balls are created equal. Different brands and models vary in their floatation capabilities due to variations in construction, materials, and design.

Floating Golf Balls Are Easy to Retrieve

While floating golf balls may be easier to spot on the water’s surface, retrieving them can still be challenging. Factors such as wind, current, and distance can make retrieval difficult.

Floating Golf Balls Are Suitable for All Skill Levels

Floating golf balls are not inherently suitable for all skill levels. Novice players may struggle to adapt to the unique characteristics and performance trade-offs of floating balls.

Floating Golf Balls Are Always Legal for Play

Not all golf courses permit the use of floating golf balls during play. It is essential to check the rules and regulations of the specific course before using floating balls.

Floating Golf Balls Are More Expensive

Contrary to what some may assume, floating golf balls are not necessarily more expensive than regular ones. Prices can vary based on brand, quality, and other factors unrelated to floatation.

Floating Golf Balls Are the Solution for Water-Related Mishaps

While floating golf balls can offer advantages in water-related situations, prevention is often the best solution. 

Practicing accuracy and shot selection can help avoid landing in water hazards altogether.

Tips For Golfing Near Water And Avoiding Balls Lost 

image 32

When golfing near water, it’s essential to take precautions to avoid losing balls. Here are some tips to help you navigate those challenging water hazards:

Choose the Right Clubs 

Use clubs that you’re comfortable hitting consistently and accurately. Consider using more forgiving clubs with higher lofts, which can help prevent slices or hooks that might send your ball into the water.

Assess the Layout

Before teeing off, carefully examine the course layout and identify potential water hazards. Determine the best strategy to avoid them or play around them if possible.

Play Conservatively

When you’re near water, err on the side of caution. Aim for a safer target away from the water hazard, even if it means sacrificing some distance. 

It’s better to have a longer shot from the fairway than to risk losing a ball in the water.

Visualize Your Shots 

Before hitting, visualize the desired ball flight and landing area. Mentally picturing a successful shot can help you stay focused and avoid unnecessary risks near water.

Use a Softer Swing

Implementing a smoother and more controlled swing can help you maintain accuracy and reduce the chances of hitting a wayward shot that lands in the water.

Watch the Wind

Consider how the wind might affect your shot, especially when playing near water. 

Adjust your aim or club selection accordingly to compensate for wind drift and prevent the ball from straying off course.

Play the Percentages

If a water hazard is positioned such that it comes into play on several holes, consider a strategic approach to minimize risk. 

For example, if a water hazard runs along the left side of a fairway, favor the right side to reduce the chance of the ball finding the water.

Carry Extra Balls

Always have a sufficient number of golf balls in your bag when playing near water. This way, if a ball does go in, you can quickly replace it without delaying your game.

Stay Calm and Focused

In the event that a shot does land in the water, don’t let it affect your mindset for the rest of the round. Stay composed, refocus on the next shot, and continue playing your game.

Practice Hazard Shots 

Spend time practicing shots specifically tailored for water hazards. 

Practicing different shot options, such as hitting a low punch shot or laying up short of the hazard, can help you gain confidence.

Frequently Asked Question

Golf enthusiasts often wonder if golf balls float and what makes them behave as they do in the water. To shed light on this topic, we have compiled a list of some frequently asked questions about golf balls and their buoyancy.

What Makes Golf Balls Float?

Golf balls float due to their construction and the materials used. Typically, golf balls have a solid core surrounded by multiple layers, including a durable outer cover. These layers help reduce the density of the ball, enabling it to float.

Are All Golf Balls Equally Buoyant?

No, not all golf balls have the same buoyancy. Different types of golf balls, such as those used for professional play or recreational use, can vary in terms of construction and materials. These differences can affect their buoyancy in water.

Can Golf Balls Absorb Water?

Although golf balls may have small pores or imperfections on their surface, they are generally designed to repel water. This means that they do not absorb water, which helps maintain their performance and durability over time.


Golf balls do not float due to their dense construction and material composition. 

The science behind golf balls reveals their ability to sink in water, making them unsuitable for aquatic play. 

Understanding this fundamental characteristic can help golfers make informed decisions on the course.