Like any other sport, the ball used in golf must conform to the rules issued by the USGA when used in competitions. The rule of thumb here is that if the ball is non-conforming to the rules, it will result in disqualification automatically.
The ball, like clubs will have a specific regulation which includes the weight, diameter and other elements. If the player is unsure whether the ball is permitted for play, they can check with the agencies before playing it.
The most significant issue for the golf ball is being unfit for play. A ball is considered and deemed to be unfit for play if it is out of shape naturally, cracked or altered through cutting or compression. When the ball is discolored, damaged or when the surface is scratched or scraped, it is considered to be unfit for play as well.
Should the player feel that the ball has become unfit for play during the course of the game, he is allowed to check it by lifting the ball without incurring any penalty. However, prior to lifting the ball from the position, the player must announce his intention to the fellow competitors or to the opponents. The position of the ball must be marked and then examine the ball. After that, the fellow competitor will be allowed to examine the ball before a replacement is carried out.
Failure to conform to this regulation will result in a penalty of one stroke in that particular hole.
In the event that the ball breaks into pieces during the course of a stroke, that particular stroke is nullified. The player will then have to play a ball again at the location closes to the original position where it was played before it broke. No penalty will be incurred for the player if this happens.