There's been a lot of talk lately about nitro golf balls and whether or not they're legal. So, are they legal? The answer, my friends, is unfortunately no.
You see, nitro golf balls don't conform to the specifications set forth by the USGA. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that you can't tee them up on the golf course. It just means that they can't be used in tournament play.
What are Nitro Golf Balls
Nitro has been around for a while - 1973 to be exact. They are known for producing extremely affordable, durable golf balls that push the envelope when it comes to speed and distance.
If you're looking for a quality golf ball at a great price and you are okay with the non-conforming status, the Nitro does not disappoint. And they can certainly brighten up your round and add some flair to your game with their colorful matte finishes.
The USGA's Conforming Golf Ball List
In order for a golf ball to be used in tournament play, it must first appear on the USGA's Conforming Golf Ball List. This means that it is a legal golf ball that meets the USGA and the R&A rules and specifications.
The list is updated each month and includes all of the golf balls that meet the USGA's specifications. The specifications are designed across six different categories. Here's a quick look at them.
- The general construction of the golf ball including the materials that make up a golf ball
- The weight of the golf ball
- The size of the golf ball
- The spherical symmetry of the golf ball
- The initial velocity of the golf ball off the clubface
- The overall distance including carry and roll
At the time of writing, there were no Nitro golf balls on the list. However, if you look at the Nitro golf site there is conflicting information. We looked at 8 different models of Nitro golf balls and more than a few clearly state, "Conforms to USGA rules." They do mention that one of their models, the LD+ 20, is not USGA compliant - exceeding the allowable distance.
So, what does that mean for the average golfer? Well, if you're planning on playing in any tournaments sanctioned by the USGA, then you'll need to use a golf ball that's on their Conforming Golf Ball List. However, if you're just playing a round with your buddies, then you can tee off with whichever ball you like—including a nitro golf ball. So, if you're looking to add a little extra oomph to your game, nitro golf balls might be just what you're looking for.
At the end of the day, it's up to you whether or not you want to use Nitro golf balls. If you're looking for an edge in your game, they might be just what you need. Just remember golf is a game of respect and integrity so you should probably let your playing partners know. Especially, if you're pounding your drive 20 yards past them. Other than that, have fun and enjoy your game!
If you're looking for more distance or an anti-slice ball and don't mind that the USGA doesn't like it, then you have to see below.