With the goal of delivering more than a “smart ball” that golfers won’t lose in the woods, OnCore leveraged its unconventional core technology and unique materials experience to embed high-performance electronics within the ball itself. The Buffalo, New York-based company, known originally for its innovative hollow metal core ball, in August was issued a U.S. patent covering the construction of a high-strength and high-stiffness core that can house sensitive electronics and withstand the high-speed impact of a golf club.
The result: a golf ball that will capture and transmit data directly to a mobile device – in real time. OnCore’s Genius Ball will track the ball’s performance and statistics on every shot, from distance and height to ball velocity and course location that’s accurate to within a foot.
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“We’re confident that what a launch monitor can do for a golfer on the driving range is what the Genius Ball will do on every hole and for every shot,” says OnCore Golf co-founder Bret Blakely. “Golfers crave technology and information, and our new ‘Ball with a Brain’ will deliver both.”
The Genius Ball is already in the works. OnCore plans to have a fully functional prototype for demonstration at the PGA Show in January 2018. Full manufacturing would begin shortly afterward, with the goal of a commercial launch as soon as Father’s Day in June. (To read more about why that would be a fitting launch date for OnCore, click here.)
The technology won’t come cheap. Not with a 9-axis accelerometer, magnetometer, high-performance GPS and a broadcast communication chip, not to mention a self-charging battery to power it all. And all of that technology will be embedded within a rigid core that’s just 0.9 inches in diameter and can withstand upward of 20,000 G’s of acceleration force. So, while a lot of other brands are promising technological advancements inside that cover, OnCore has plans to truly deliver.
If you balk at the price of a Titleist Pro-V1 (or are prone to hitting the first ball from a new sleeve into a water hazard), let’s face it, OnCore’s Genius Ball probably won’t be right for you. The current plan is to offer 2-ball sleeves for $49.95. Yes, that’s almost $25 per ball.
The price might drop as OnCore considers whether to charge for the use of its app or website, without which the Genius Ball wouldn’t be much different than a normal golf ball. Another factor in minimizing the cost per ball is whether the company is able to generate revenue streams from ads and video content on the Genius Ball app or website.
OnCore is kicking off an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help support the ball’s launch, giving those golfers who get involved the first chance to place orders for the initial production run.
With the Genius Ball, players will know the distance between their ball and the middle of the green (as well as left, right, front and center) while on the tee box or anywhere else on the course. Here’s a rundown of other targeted metrics OnCore’s Genius Ball will collect and transmit:
- GPS location within 1-foot accuracy
- G-force at impact
- Initial velocity (Off the tee and average)
- Carry flight within 1 foot
- Degree of draw or fade
- Spin rate (back, side, front)
- Time in the air
- Angle of descent
- Height apex
- Roll distance
If that’s not enough, players will be able to track and view their ball flight characteristics with historical overlay and the mobile app will also provide a player’s history on every course. With the use of a Bluetooth 4.1 connection, the Genius Ball will pair with a user’s mobile phone (iOS, Droid, Windows and Browser) through a small device that’s about the size of a pager and can be placed in or on a player’s bag, pocket or belt. In other words, the phone doesn’t have to stay in the pocket – simply within the range of the Bluetooth connection.
“We realize the customer is there to play golf, not to interact endlessly with their mobile device,” Blakely said. “As such, most functions will be at a glance, with the option to drill down on data if desired.”
Multiple Genius Balls can be connected at the same time too, ensuring that there’s no need to sync during a round or worry about hitting multiple balls off a particular tee. In fact, a golfer and his three buddies out for a round could all play with Genius Balls connected to the same phone.
OnCore has talks in the works to team with other intellectual companies and allow the Genius Ball data to be easily integrated with other GPS and course visualization applications (think of a popular shot-tracking product like Arccos), to provide further data extrapolation and qualitative player output. The intent is to create a true coaching or caddie experience, gathering enough behavioral data to apply predictive modeling and suggest pre-shot strategy.
Over the past few years, OnCore has invested significantly in golf ball technology and committed to innovation.
The company has moved beyond its hollow metal core roots and has garnered favorable attention for its most recent introduction, the ELIXR tour ball with, ahem, “conventional” technology. I recently wrote about OnCore’s founders — a story about family and a passion for golf that you can read here.
Now OnCore is set to take its innovation pursuit to the next level. The Genius Ball clearly won’t be for everyone, but with the continuing shift toward data gathering in golf, it could be the next little thing. And who knows, maybe you won’t lose as many balls in the trees, bushes or deep rough.
More Info: www.forbes.com