Ball washers may be used to clean golf balls. Various designs exist, and many golf courses provide stand-mounted ball-washers near the tee box of each hole. Some courses even have ball and club washers on each golf cart. According to strict rules, the ball is not allowed to be cleaned between a player's tee shot and the ball's landing on the green, except to the degree necessary to inspect the ball for damage that would make it unplayable. Once the ball has landed on the green, the player may pick up and wipe off the ball to remove attached dirt or debris that would impede the ball rolling along the green, and between holes the ball may be thoroughly cleaned.
The minimum allowed diameter of a golf ball is 42.67 mm and its mass may not exceed 45.93 g. Modern golf balls have a two-, three-, or four-layer design constructed from various synthetic materials. The surface usually has a pattern of 300-450 dimples designed to improve the ball's aerodynamics by reducing the ball's drag-inducing wake and allowing spin on the ball to create lift. The method of construction and materials used greatly affect the ball's playing characteristics such as distance, trajectory, spin and feel. Harder materials, such as Surlyn, usually result in the ball's traveling longer distances, while softer covers, such as urethane, tend to generate higher spin, more "feel" and greater stopping potential. Golf balls are separated into three groups depending on their construction: two-, three-, or four-piece covers. Generally four-piece golf balls tend to be the most expensive, though price is no assurance of quality.

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