A limit on the size and weight of the golf ball was implemented by the R&A (the regulatory body of golf) in 1921. This was the beginning of the separation in the rules for golf in Europe (and Commonwealth countries) and the United States.
These two groups in golf have been cemented in the popular Ryder Cup, which sees American and European teams compete since 1927.
While the R&A and USGA agreed to a common set of rules to be utilised for the game of golf in 1951, the difference in rules on size and weight of balls was only resolved as recently as 1988.
Differences in golf in the United States and Europe are not limited to rules. Even courses in the regions can differ:
- Bunkers: bunkers in America tend to be shallower and smoother, whereas European bunkers are deep and steep;
- Fairways: American fairways are softer and encourage a ball to fly, whereas European courses are designed as “runners”;
- Rough: The rough on European courses are known as being thick and course and nearly impossible to hit a ball out of, whereas rough on American courses is deemed much easier to get out of;
- Greens: Greens in America are flat, whereas European greens tend to have various slopes.