Connect with us

Equipment

Is the future of golf balls finally here? PGA Tour players spotted testing OnCore “Genius” golf balls at Colonial

Published

on

Five years ago, GolfWRX.com published a story about OnCore’s Genius golf balls that were in development. As reported, the company raised $110,000 for the development of a golf ball that has a GPS tracking device inside its hollow-core construction. The concept was that the tracking device would pair with a phone app to help find the golf ball, plus provide data such as ball velocity, spin rate, spin direction, carry, and more. OnCore even brought out one of the prototype golf balls to the 2018 PGA Show.

Although the smart golf ball still hasn’t made it to the retail market, OnCore may have reached a new plateau with its latest prototypes, and is preparing to hit the market in 2023.

On Wednesday at the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge, multiple PGA Tour players were spotted testing the golf balls on the Colonial Country Club putting green. For now, the new Genius “G50” prototype – meaning “under 50 yards” – is only for putting, and along with the app, it records data points such as spin, skid launch and velocity.

OnCore golf balls are already played on the PGA Tour by staffer Erik Compton, who uses the VERO X2 golf ball. With the Genius ball, though, OnCore has loftier goals than getting in play on the PGA Tour – its looking to bring the golf ball market, instruction, game improvement, and game enjoyment into the future.

Although the company is still making tweaks to the golf ball’s construction, one top-50 PGA Tour player told me after testing the ball at Colonial, “This is going to be huge.” When I asked him if there’s any wobble on the putts, and if the golf ball felt weird, he said, “Not at all, it feels great.”

OnCore Chairman/CEO Keith Blakely was personally on-site at the Charles Schwab Challenge conducting testing with players to receive feedback. I caught up with Blakely afterwards to get a better understanding of what the golf ball is, what it does, and what the future plans are for the technology.

Enjoy the Q&A in its entirety below.

I saw a few pros testing out a new OnCore golf ball. What is it? 

It is the prototype Genius ball that has been designed for putting instruction, putter fitting, and short play. It will be the first product launched, a little bit later this year.

What does the golf ball do?

It measures all of the motion elements of the ball, from spin rate to spin axis, launch angle, velocity, which allows us to calculate things like the skid distance, the accuracy, the overall distance, green speed actually is measurable as long as it’s a long enough putt that the velocity at some point achieves the same velocity as you get that you get at the bottom of a stimp ramp, and measure the distance it goes before it hits zero.

We expect that we’ll be able to show visually the launch angle, the part of the skid, the angle of face impact, and beyond that I’m not sure what else will need to be measured or reported, but we’ll be working with some of the leading putting instructors to make sure we have whatever they think is relevant to people and their short game, and we’re reporting it. Everything is there from the ball’s point of view, not necessarily everything from the club.

What PGA Tour players have tested it, and what has been the feedback?

All of the testing has been demonstration trials. I’m not sure who would want us to disclose their names yet, other than Erik Compton, who’s obviously been a player who uses our conventional tour golf balls for a couple years now.

When would this product maybe come out to retail? Do you have a timeline? Is there more than just putting coming in the future – is that the plan?

Yeah the plan is to have this ball be – and the app that comes with it – capable of being used for, at a minimum, putting down through mid-iron hits. Whether it will be available for full-course play is a question more of timing and golf ball performance. The brain of the ball occupies a certain amount of volume in the golf ball that you can’t use to deliver a Coefficient of Restitution and golf ball velocity, and that sort of thing. So we have to engineer the outer layers to give us the kind of performance – spin, speed, whatever translates to distance – for different use cases. Putting is the easiest, then par-3 play, and then full-course play will be the last thing introduced. So our vision right now is we’ll have three models, and they’ll be designated by the distance they’re intended for: G50 (50 yards and in), G200 (200 yards and in), and G-Infinity (which means you can hit it as far as you can hit it.

As far as you know, are there any other golf balls on the current market that have this type of capability?

Not that are on the market. We know that there are several in development. One of the things that we feel very good about it, is that fact that on-course, we’re producing some of the finest conventional golf balls in the world right now due to the expertise of John Calabria and Mike Jordan, who are two of our ball design engineers. So we feel very confident that this ball in its final formulation will perform right up there with conventional golf balls. There won’t be a noticeable drop off in how the ball performs when you’re using it. And that’s critical to the data being relevant, as well as the enjoyment from using it and practicing with the ball.

Do you feel that you’re on the cusp of bringing the golf ball market and golf ball manufacturing into the future?

Yeah. But again, not so much for the traditional competitive game like these tournaments. This is not something that’s going to appear in professional competitive play. It may be used by professionals for training, analysis, instructional purposes, but it’s not going to be used in competitions. However, I think there’s a lot of golfers out there that would have lots of fun if, every time they hit their golf ball, they can look at their phone, and have data and analyzation of where it went, just like a TopTracer on your phone, of every shot that you take. As well as, and we get this a lot, helping them locate the ball via the Bluetooth proximity functionality that’s in it, so if they are looking in the high rough or the woods, they can get to it and have a better chance of not losing it.

I think about 20 years ago, we all thought that there was going to be Bluetooth in golf balls and we’d never lose a golf ball again. Why has it been so difficult to create a golf ball that you can find and can track things like skid on the green, or speed off the club face?

Spotted on the Colonial Country Club practice green during player testing.

So part of it is that if you want to utilize Bluetooth, you need a power source in the ball, which means you’re automatically going to have to add a battery, which takes up a certain amount of space. That means building the ball around, at a minimum, the Bluetooth chip, antenna, battery and control board. Now it becomes a complicated overall structure that has to be there just for Bluetooth communication. If you want to add things like accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, all the other functionality and data acquisition functionality that we’re looking at, it becomes even more complex, more costly, and more subject to failure modes when you hit the ball with 20,000 g’s.

Is there a putting instructor you’ve been working with on this product who’s guiding you along on what you want, or is it something you’re doing in-house for now?

We’ve had a number of conversations with some well-known names, but at this point we haven’t formalized those arrangements. We will before the ball is available commercially so that people understand that, yes, there has been input and advice given from some of the best instructors in the game.

For now, Blakely has the end of summer, or Black Friday, circled on his calendar to have the golf balls ready for retail and production.

The future is on its way, but when exactly is it getting here? We’re still uncertain. However, the Genius “G50” golf ball hitting the PGA Tour is another big step for OnCore’s journey to a smarter golf ball.

Your Reaction?
  • 185
  • LEGIT31
  • WOW49
  • LOL19
  • IDHT4
  • FLOP11
  • OB6
  • SHANK28

He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Is the way forward for golf balls lastly right here? PGA Tour gamers noticed testing OnCore “Genius” golf balls at Colonial - THEFANZONE

  2. Pingback: Unveiling the Makers Behind RZN Golf Balls – PrestwickCountryClub.net

  3. Pingback: Way forward for Golf Balls? | GolfWRX Highlight – kora match

  4. Pingback: Is the future of golf balls finally here? PGA Tour players spotted testing OnCore “Genius” golf balls at Colonial – MidHandicap

  5. Ray Cramer

    May 26, 2023 at 4:07 pm

    This is a gimmick and does not belong on the gol course. Some clowns will probably mess with.

  6. chip75

    May 25, 2023 at 4:11 am

    Great for finding your ball in the rough, but will they include a snorkel when you rinse one in a lake?

  7. Dan

    May 24, 2023 at 11:33 pm

    Still sink in ponds I’m assuming

  8. Boo

    May 24, 2023 at 10:52 pm

    There’s no way those balls are balanced uniformly

  9. L

    May 24, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Whats in the Bag

Michael Block WITB 2024 (May)

Published

on

  • Michael Block what’s in the bag accurate as of the PGA Championship.

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 “Dot” (9 degrees @7.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Qi10 Tour (15 degrees @14.25)
Shaft: 2024 Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X

5-wood: TaylorMade M5 (19 degrees @17)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Orange 70 TX

Irons: TaylorMade Stealth UDI (4), TaylorMade Proto (5-9)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 85 X (4), Project X 6.5 (5-9)

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind 4 (46-09SB, 60 [unconfirmed]), TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 (52-09S, 56)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

See the rest of Michael Block’s WITB in the forums.

Your Reaction?
  • 11
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL2
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

Whats in the Bag

Brooks Koepka WITB 2024 (May)

Published

on

  • Brooks Koepka what’s in the bag accurate as of the PGA Championship.

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 “Dot” (10.5 degrees @9.75)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D Limited 60 TX (44.5 inches, tipped 1 inch)

3-wood: TaylorMade M2 Tour HL (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX

Irons: Nike Vapor Pro (3), Srixon ZX7 Mk II (4-9)
Shaft: Fujikura Pro Tour Spec 95 X (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-9)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore Tour Rack Raw (46-10 Mid), RTX6 ZipCore Tour Rack (52-10 Mid, 56-10 Mid, 60-6 Low)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (52-60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron T-5.5

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (Midsize)

Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond

Check out more in-hand photos of Brooks Koepka’s clubs here.

Your Reaction?
  • 6
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW1
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (5/13/24): Full set of ‘Tiger Slam’ clubs

Published

on

At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a full set of ‘Tiger Slam’ clubs.

From the seller: (@CaymanS): “During the year of recovery from leg surgery that never quite healed, I was bored.  One thing led to another, and I ended up gradually building/acquiring the individual pieces to complete a set of “Tiger Slam” clubs.  They are what Tiger played to win 4 consecutive majors, which nobody has ever done.  This is not an exact replica of course, but something close that fit me to play a few times per year and experience what Tiger did.  But my bad leg, 4 shoulder tears, and age prevents me from the ball-striking needed to enjoy these to their fullest.  They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially since the driver and fairway shafts are regular flex and most players good enough to play these will need to change them, but it’s not a perfect world.  I am not a historian on this stuff, but my research indicates these are the same models Tiger used, with slightly different specs to fit me.

Full set $1,600, or…

…a donation for a Pro Kids fundraiser, or…

Driver: $70

Fairway: $250

Irons: $1,100

Wedges: $100

Putter: $350″

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Full set of ‘Tiger Slam’ clubs

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Your Reaction?
  • 14
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending