Not so long ago, an interesting video from the 2022 Pebble Beach Pro-Am golfing event was making rounds on the internet.
It featured Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
After he saw his ball land off the fairway, near the crowd in a rather tough position, the young NFL star pulled out his right-arm wedge and made a few practice swings,
However, instead of hitting the ball, he picked it off the ground and threw it towards the green.
Although the video doesn’t show where the ball landed, he seems to have gotten a good distance.
Seeing one of the players with the strongest arm in the NFL do this, many people watching the video wondered how far can you throw a golf ball.
Below, I’ll look deeper into this and investigate what would happen if you would decide to throw the golf ball instead of hitting it with your club.
So, let’s dive into it!
How Far Can You Throw a Golf Ball?
An average person should be able to throw the golf ball to a distance of about 60 yards.
If you spend some time practicing and perfecting your throwing technique, you may be able to throw it even further, to a distance of about 100 yards.
Especially if you have a naturally strong arm.
The record books describe throws that went even further than this, but more on that later.
Although throwing a golf ball far away may seem easy, in reality, once you try it, you’ll notice that it is not exactly true.
There are a couple of factors that influence how far a golf ball will fly and it’s necessary to take them all into account when figuring out the potential distance.
Most of the same laws of physics apply both when hitting and throwing the ball, but there are a few significant distinctions that make the difference.
How do the Size and Weight of the Golf Ball Influence Throwing Distance?
As a golf ball is smaller and lighter than a baseball or football, for example, it will travel through the air a bit differently.
The overall distance will depend on the initial velocity which is determined by the moment of inertia at the moment the golf ball leaves the hand.
This is why modern golf clubs are made of materials that can provide the highest MOI possible.
Also, the light weight of the ball means that it’s harder to achieve much acceleration, resulting in a less overall force of the thrown ball.
How Does the Shape and Design of the Golf Ball Influence the Throwing Distance?
The shape and the design of the golf ball has a major impact on how far it will fly after you hit it with your club.
The situation when throwing the golf ball is no different.
The material the golf ball is made of also plays a part in the ball’s trajectory and the distance it can reach.
However, dimples and grooves on the golf ball’s surface are even more important. As the ball flies through the air it faces two aerodynamic forces: lift and drag.
The combination of these two effects results in much greater distances achieved with dimpled balls than with those that feature flat surfaces.
There’s some pretty complicated physics behind this, but, basically, dimples reduce the pressure caused by the drag and generate more lift by deforming the air around the in-flight ball.
All this means that you’ll achieve greater distance when throwing a dimpled ball.
How does the Throwing Technique Influence the Distance?
Needless to say, no one spends time practicing how to throw golf balls. So, most throws are just for fun and you throw the ball like any other similar object.
However, working on perfecting your golf ball throwing technique, would provide much greater distance on the throw.
If you look at baseball pitchers, you realize how important throwing motion is.
An ideal golf ball throw would have to be perfect in three aspects: mechanics, timing, and weight transfer.
Throwing a golf ball requires a similar motion as throwing a baseball, although with less strain on the shoulder and the elbow.
In baseball, torque on the elbow is usually the limiting factor to how fast the ball will fly.
The lighter weight of the golf ball would allow for the arm to move faster during throwing motion allowing higher initial velocity, although some momentum would be lost for the same reason.
What’s the World Record for Throwing a Golf Ball?
As there’s no official golf ball-throwing competition where the distance would be precisely measured and validated, it’s hard to say what is the world record for the farthest throw.
Some data point to August 20, 1992, and Stefan Uhr from Sweden.
On this date, this big Swede was recorded throwing the golf ball at a distance of 131.5 yards.
In 2011, a well-known golfer, Paul Casey, during a game at Telus Skins Game in Alberta, Canada, threw the ball 132 yards onto the green.
These numbers may not seem that impressive, but when you consider that it’s more than a length of a football field, your perspective will likely change.
In addition, there are reports of even longer throws, at a distance of 170 yards, but those are not verified by any reliable source.
Is It Easier to Throw the Ball or Hit It with a Club?
A lot of people feel that if they were allowed to throw the golf ball instead of hitting it with the club, they would score better.
Throwing the ball around the golf course certainly seems like a fun idea, although it would provide no advantage over the traditional style of play.
If we consider that the average throw is at around 60 yards, the distance you would achieve this way is smaller than if you were to hit the ball with a club.
Even though a golf club by itself is rather lightweight, it transfers quite a lot of force to the ball making it fly further, sometimes without too much effort.
Additionally, when hitting the ball with the club, it’s easier to get it to fly higher where the air is thinner and there’s less resistance for the ball.
How Would You Score if you Threw the Ball Instead of Hitting It with a Club?
For example, a par four hole is typically at around 400 yards, a bit shorter than par 5 and a bit longer than par 3.
Usually, competent golfers are expected to play it in four strokes. Throwing the ball would require more attempts than this just to get on the green.
And, once on the green, you would have to roll the ball to the hole with your hand, instead of putting it.
If you’ve ever done this then you know how harder it is to roll the ball than to simply putt it, so that’s the few extra strokes or attempts.
So, over the 18 holes of golf, throwing the ball would result in a much worse overall score compared to the classic game of golf.
On the plus side, throwing is a bit more accurate, so you should likely lose fewer golf balls.
Should You Be Throwing a Golf Ball?
We already established that throwing the golf ball around the golf course can be a lot of fun.
However, should you do it?
It’s fair to say that it’s better to restrain from this practice, even if you’re playing just a casual game.
The most important reason is that it could cause an injury.
The mechanics of throwing the golf ball is much different than hitting it with the club. It engages a different group of muscles and puts more strain on different joints.
So, it’s very likely that when you throw a golf ball, the muscle and joints you’ll be using won’t be properly warmed up which can result in strains, pulls, and other injuries.
Rules on Throwing the Golf Ball
The second reason is that it goes not only against golf rules but also against the etiquette on the golf course.
When playing a round of golf, the only time you would touch the ball would be to lift it off the putting green to replace it with a marker.
Taking the ball in your hands and throwing it around, even if done jokingly, would likely annoy other players.
Even though it’s not really a part of the game, most of us have been in a position to throw a golf ball.
Sometimes it’s done just for fun and sometimes, out of frustration when things on the golf course don’t go the way you want them.
At times, during a casual game, it may just seem like an easier way to get to the green.
Whatever the reason to do this, finding out how far can you throw a golf ball is certainly a challenge as it should account for several factors that influence the overall distance.
If you’re just an average human, you should be able to throw it at a distance of around 60 yards.
With some practice and work on your throwing, you may even get to 100 yards or more.