OnCore Golf founders Bret Blakely and Steve Coulton started their company in 2011 with the idea of developing and bringing to market a high-performance golf ball of unusual construction to help revolutionize the golf equipment industry. This ball would be conventional on the outside, but at the center of the ball, beneath the cover and the elastomeric mantle, was a hollow metal sphere The name of that original ball – Omen – may have foretold its role in the development of OnCore’s newest product, a “smart” golf ball called the Genius Ball.
The Genius Ball represents a giant leap forward in golf ball technology, using an embedded electronic module to turn the golf ball into a high-tech recording and analysis device that will put the power of multiple technologies into a 1.68-inch diameter package. The concept consists of combining the functions of a GPS device and a launch monitor in the electronic module embedded in the golf ball, allowing the ball to record its own performance. Measuring characteristics such as velocity, launch angle, spin rate, carry, position, and more, radio-frequency signals transmitted by the module will communicate with a smartphone app, putting a wealth of information at the golfer’s disposal.
The hollow-core construction of the original Omen golf ball was controversial, and it pushed the bounds of credibility for the USGA’s Equipment Committee. The principals at OnCore convinced the USGA that non-traditional; i.e., non-elastomeric / non-polymeric, materials used in other approved balls opened the door for the hollow-metal-core construction of their ball, and the Omen gained USGA approval in 2014, later evolving into the current design, the Caliber.
The development of the earlier, hollow-core ball is important to the Genius Ball. The heart of the Genius Ball is the electronic module embedded in the ball’s center, and the primary design obstacle standing between concept and success for the Genius Ball is protection for that module. With the impact force acting on the golf ball at club head contact as high as 15,000 pounds, conventional all-elastomeric construction cannot provide the protection required to keep the delicate electronics functioning—which is where OnCore’s experience with the hollow-core construction of the Caliber and its predecessors comes into play.
A question that comes to mind: will the ball be durable? The electronics module in the Genius Ball is protected by a rigid core similar to the hollow metal sphere that is the heart of the Caliber. Since a metal core would block transmission of the signals that allow the ball to communicate with the receiving device, the OnCore team parlayed their experience with rigid hollow spheres into the development of a proprietary, non-metallic core which combines protection for the electronics with the radio-frequency transparency that is necessary for communication.
How can you use the data that Genius ball provides? Bang a big drive down the middle of a long par-5, and the Genius Ball captures the data. Chip in for birdie, drain a 50-foot putt, or finally card a hole-in-one, and the Genius Ball uploads the proof. USGA regulations still prohibit the collection and use of certain types of information during a round of golf, but the Genius Ball allows the golfer to collect a wealth of data for analysis—and bragging rights—after the round.
Once your round is complete with the Genius Ball, you will be able to log in to your cloud portal and access all of the data about your game. Compare your latest round to your playing history to analyze trends in your game, compare your shots to other players via social media—the possibilities are nearly limitless. The combination of the Genius Ball’s data-gathering capabilities, cloud access to that data via your mobile device or computer, and the ability to analyze all facets of your golf game that it affords means that in the future you will be carrying a caddy/swing coach in your pocket every time you go to the golf course.
The Genius Ball is currently in development, and OnCore is looking for golfers who want to be a part of the future of the game to take part in that process. Go to the OnCore Genius Ball IndieGoGo funding page and see how you can help fund the development of this revolutionary golf ball and be a part of the next technological revolution in golf.