The inspiration for this article came when a friend mentioned a Google interview question in which the candidate is asked how many golf balls fit inside a bus? I was interested to know of course and so I did some googling and found a whole range of suggestions, so I decided to have a go myself.
On top of this I uncovered some other interesting golfing questions people had been asking and so I thought it would be fun to answer some of those too.
Disclaimer: I do not claim any of these answers to be completely correct they are all just guessing with a bit of logic. If you disagree with my methods feel free to have a go and post in the comments below!
How Many Golf Balls Fit in a Bus?
Answer: around 1,115,624 golf balls apparently!
This question seems completely random, and it is! It was made famous by Google as an interview question to try and test analytical skills of candidates on the spot. But don’t go in and just shout 1,115,624 the interviewers will be suspicious. They want to see how you analyze things and how your brain works when presented with a problem like this.
Here is how to talk it through and sound like a genius, if you ever end up at Google having an interview!
Let’s say they mean a standard American school bus. The inside space of these are about 8.5 feet wide 6 feet tall (inside) and 35 feet in length. That works out at 1785 cubic feet. The diameter of a golf ball is 1.68 inches so from this the volume of a ball can be calculated as 2.48 cubic inches or 0.00144 cubic feet. So 1785 divided by 0.00144 = 1,239,583 golf balls.
That’s in a bus without any seats, and you have to take off some balls for the air space that would be present between. So let’s reduce the final number by 10% which gives us 1,115,624. That’s a lot of golf balls!
How Many Golf Balls Fit in a 747?
Answer: around 19,887,172 golf balls
Other companies have been known to ask how many golf balls fit in a 747 jet? Or how many ping pong balls fit in various vehicles. The same theory applies here.
A 747 is approximately 30935.6 cubic feet so approximately 22096857 balls – 10% again for air in between them and we get 19,887,172 around the same number I have lost in the woods on my local course!
Congratulations you’ve hopefully just made it into Google.
How Many Golf Balls are in the Air Right Now?
Answer: Around 4571!
According to Golf Today, there are approximately 60 million golfers in the world today. Being defined as someone who plays more than one round of golf per year. I couldn’t find any stats on total number of rounds played per year but lets assume that if the majority of these golfers play a low number of rounds with fewer and fewer playing a very high number of rounds per year (let’s face it we don’t all have time to play every day!) on average these 60 million people probably play about 5 rounds each per year (many will do just 1 but others may play hundreds).
That’s 300,000,000 rounds of golf per year worldwide!
Ok so the average amateur golf score according to Golf Week is 103. Let’s take off a few for the pros out there and say the average is around 100.
So 300 million rounds each at 100 strokes is 30 billion golf shots per year. However 41% of those shots are putts so that isn’t a shot in the air. We are back down to 12 billion shots.
But then that doesn’t account for the driving range or your new home practice net. Say you hit around 50 range balls in an hour on average that is about 3 times the speed you hit balls in a round of golf and so I am going to add another 3 x 12 billion shots to the total to give us 48 billion golf shots per year.
Are you still with me?
Now let us assume those shots are in the air for on average 3 seconds then that is 144 billion seconds of ‘golf ball airtime’ per year.
There are 31.5 million seconds in a year. As golf is now a global sport I am going to assume the 144 billion seconds of golf ball air time is spread out over 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
So 144 billion divided by 31.5 million gives us (drum roll please)…….
4571 golf balls in the air at any one time! Scary stuff!
How Many Golf Balls Are On The Moon?
Answer: 2 golf balls
Ok so this one doesn’t require any random maths or logic but I still thought it was interesting as I have been getting this wrong my whole life.
It was widely accepted for a long time that the answer was 3, it even appears as the answer on a Trivial Pursuit card! But after some digging around on the internet it turns out the answer is actually just 2, and here is why.
We have Matthew Weathers of MatthewWeathers.com for digging out this transcript from the Nasa archives. In it Alan Shephard, the man famous for hitting golf balls on the moon and his fellow astronauts discuss.
“I think I can see why some people mistakenly thought there were three. Shepard swung four times. Everyone seems to agree his first swing completely missed and just kicked up some dust. He swung three more times, but only at two balls. The second swing moved the ball just a little way. The third swing sent the first ball about 200 meters. Shepard then dropped the second ball, and his fourth swing (the first swing at the second ball) hit the ball and sent it about 400 meters.”
So there you go, don’t believe everything Trivial Pursuit tells you.