Is an "X-out" ball allowed in competition?

Published 07/01/2011 07:20:00

While competing in his club championship, Andrew uses an "X-out" golf ball, a ball that the manufacturer considers to be imperfect and sells with the brand name crossed out. His fellow competitor, Tony, questions whether or not it is legal to use the ball.

Is the use of an X-out ball permitted by the Rules?

Generally, the use of an X-out ball is permitted. Decision 5-1/4 reasons that the majority of X-out balls are rejected only for aesthetic reasons, such as an imperfect paint job, so the ball is allowed unless there is strong evidence to suggest that it doesn't conform to the Rules. The ball would be illegal if it were heavier than 1.62 ounces, smaller than 1.68 inches in diameter, or if there were strong evidence that it didn't meet the spherical symmetry standard (for example, a ball designed to self-correct in flight) or initial velocity standard (a "hot" ball).

The use of an X-out ball is not permitted if the committee running the competition has adopted the condition that the player must use a ball that is named on the List of Conforming Golf Balls published by the USGA, even if the ball in question (without the X's) does appear on the List.

Now What If?

The committee has adopted the condition of competition that players must use a brand of ball on the current List of Conforming Golf Balls. The USGA recommends a penalty of disqualification if a committee sets such a condition.

Does the USGA allow the committee to stipulate that the penalty for using a ball not on the List is loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play for each hole at which a breach occurs?

Yes. However, if the ball obviously does not meet the prescribed specifications, such as for size and weight, the player is disqualified.



1.  X-out = cross out for those of a simple persuasion (me!)

comment by Paul Stephenson - 06/09/2013 08:13

Add your comment