The story for 2019 balls? The big boys make incremental, but impressive, changes, and those with a bit less name recognition, but their own eye-popping (and distance-grabbing) technology continue to impress as well. Our sleeve-worthy selection:
ON CORE AVANT, ELIXR & GENIUS
Since this company bolted onto the golf scene about a decade ago, they’ve pushed the golf ball envelope — first with their hollow metal core original ball, more recently with their Avant 55 (compression) mega-soft ball and newest ball, the Elixr, which is designed for lower-handicap players.
“Avant is is the low compression ball, super soft, two-piece, priced right — anywhere from low 20s to $24 a dozen,” said Steve Coulton, OnCore co-founder and director of sales. “ The new version of Elixr we’re launching includes lime green matte finishes — a lot of good stuff.”
Even better, potentially, and even more earth-shaking, is OnCore’s planned Genius ball which, said Coulton, they’re hoping to launch this summer. It certainly promoses to be the smartest golf ball in history, incorporating GPS technology in its core to give the most complete speed, height and spin data available.
“We’re doing something different with the hollowness — it’ll be strong enough to protect the electronics,” Coulton said. “It’ll have GPS, Bluetooth, accelerometer, magnetometer, all within the circuit board. And a proprietary algorithm that will make sense of all that data feeding from the ball.”
How far will data travel? “Within Bluetooth range. You’ll get your GPS from your phone after you hit it, but when you get up to the ball it will port over the data via Bluetooth. There’s a passive mode if you don’t want to look at your data every hole. You can check it after the round. It’s designed to be unobtrusive — play your round of golf but get insights you’d normally have to get on a driving range with a launch monitor. We’re putting the launch monitor into the golf ball, drastically reduce the price and allow you to play out on the course.”
On-board ball speed, swing speed, elevation weren’t originally in the design. “Initially we were thinking GPS for location, but the way electronics have shrunk, we can put a lot more in the ball. You’ll get just about everything you get in a launch monitor.”
Coulton said that yes, the four-layer ball will obviously be more expensive, especially if you figure in the planned online subscription that will open up all of its capabilities. “We are thinking a two-ball pack, and if you want certain premium packages you could do a monthly subscription on the app. Basic features are provided, but if you want a coach to analyze the data, you can pay extra. We want to keep the price of the ball down so everyone can use it, but you can get more through the app.”
But wait there’s more: Something called “Smart Blades,” which will display data from the Genius Ball right before your very eyes. Hey, you can talk to your watch a la Dick Tracy and put the world’s information in your pocket, so why not?