Is There A GPS Golf Ball?
Most of us are now conditioned to using GPS on an almost daily basis. Having a handy little mapping device on your smartphone makes traveling so much easier. The technology is also helpful in golf since you can quickly see how far you are from the green or different hazards.
Since they can be quite easy to lose after you’ve hit them you might be wondering is there a GPS golf ball?
If you’re short on time then I give you the short answer. Yes, there are a couple of GPS-enabled products but none appear to be available for sale at the moment. Find out more and whether they are worth the money…
Is There Such A Thing As A Golf Ball Finder?
I have seen advertisements for ball finders in magazines over the years but they never looked like anything more than a gimmick that was unlikely to help you in your search for that Titleist Pro V1.
If someone was actually able to make one that worked they would consistently then undoubtedly they would be onto a significant profit maker given that 300 million are lost every year in the United States alone.
Can You Find A Golf Ball With Your Phone?
There are several apps that claim to help you find a lost golf ball but these are merely filters that enhance the contrast when you view your search through the camera screen on your mobile device.
This is a step down from a ball with a chip and is probably not worth the trouble.
Can You Track A Ball With Your Phone?
Yes, it is possible to track special balls with your phone. There are microchipped balls that come with an app and use Bluetooth to communicate. Once it is connected, you should be able to determine its location.
The main disadvantage of this type of setup is the limitations of the technology. You have to be fairly close to it in order for it to be detected by your cell phone.
You will still need to keep a close eye on it since the app on your phone is only going to help you once you get within a few feet of the smart-tech ball.
It’s also quite difficult to make such a ball perform as well as a normal one since you have to fit some electronics inside in order to communicate with your phone.
This will undoubtedly affect how the core performs when you make a stroke on the golf course.
Claims on the one hand to be a GPS ball but it appears to use just Bluetooth 4.1. This means you will have to get fairly close to it in order to get a signal. Currently sold out and will be back in stock for 2022! Given we are 3/4 of the way through it appears they are having a few problems.
The layout of their store doesn’t make it easy to tell the prices. Looking at archive.org it would appear they want $119 for 6 balls or $219 for a dozen.
However, I’m not sure if they’ve sold many as copies of their site from 2020 say “coming soon” and later versions say “sold out”.
The Oncore Genius is meant to offer the best of both worlds with GPS positioning accuracy to within a foot and loads of data on spin rate, launch angle and speed. Oncore’s ball was first floated in 2017 but we still seem to be awaiting a production model. Although I was under the impression that GPS for public consumption was only accurate to about 16 feet!
Originally intended to sell for $50 for 2, this won’t be a cheap option even if you aren’t going to lose it.
The Graff Golf smart ball is unique in that it uses sensors to track your shots and provide unique data about your game. Spin rate, ball velocity, apex height and carry distance are just some of the parameters the ball should be able to measure if it reaches production.
Started by students from Johns Hopkins the company has a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, which has helped to raise awareness and funds for their product.
While this sounds like one of the more technologically advanced models it still appears to be in the early stages and the only products available on its website are logoed clothing and some accessories.
Was reviewed by pluggedingolf and they were none too impressed. It is another model that is currently unavailable.
Another prototype was reviewed by Rick Shiels who wasn’t that keen on the product. Raised funds via a Kickstarter campaign for a product that sounds pretty good on paper. Supposed to notify your phone when you get within 50m and also gives you stats on the speed and height of your shots.
The Prazza Ball Finder was released back in 2010. It cost a whopping £329 for the “detector” and £40 for a sleeve of 3 RFID-enabled balls. Reviews on it seem a bit mixed so I don’t think I would bother even if I could afford it! Are you going to lose £40 worth of balls that often? If so maybe you need to change to a cheaper model instead.
Pros And Cons Of Smart Golf Balls
A ball with smart features is going to appeal to golfers because:
It will make it easier to find so they will spend less time searching and be able to play faster.
It will save them from having to spend a fortune on buying new golf balls on a regular basis.
It should improve their scores since they want us to take as many penalty drops.
They won’t need to carry a bag full of spare balls.
As I see it there are several problems with adding smart technology:
The price makes them unaffordable for the majority of golfers. With prices around $25-30 or more per ball, it’s quite easy to buy a dozen or even two for that much money. You would need to be losing a large number of balls every round for it to make any financial sense.
At the moment these techno balls aren’t going to perform as well as premium models so anyone looking to maximize their golfing potential will not be able to when using one with a chip inside.
How long is the battery life? Once the battery runs out you won’t be able to communicate with it. All you will have left is an expensive ball with inferior performance.
While high handicappers and beginners will be most worried about losing them, low handicappers will be just as concerned with the condition of their ball. After 10 or 20 rounds of golf, your trackable golf ball is likely to be pretty chewed up and is likely to be affecting the ball flight. Even if the power source is still good better players would not want to play with a badly scuffed one.
How Much Are Smart Golf Balls?
If you thought a Titleist Pro V1 was expensive then think again because one with a microchip can cost $25/£25 or more!
In theory, this should save you money in the long run but still the sort of player that loses 4-5 balls per round then it might just be easier to purchase cheaper balls and work on your technique.
How To Save Money On Balls
The easiest way to save money is to look for cheaper options. If you lose several per round then maybe you should think about a cheaper model or try lake balls.
You could also look for closeout deals when new models get released. Logo overrun balls are also a good way to reduce your costs.
Improving your game would also help since you’ll spend less time searching in the rough and woods and more time using your clubs!
Failing that it’s important when you hit a shot to keep an eye on it till the ball comes to rest. Pick out a marker either near where you think it finished or on a line in the distance so you will have a better chance of finding it.
Is There A GPS Golf Ball: Conclusion
So there are a few GPS balls out there but they are difficult and expensive to get hold off. I think they still have a way to go to convince me that they are worth it either for improving my game with impact data or helping me find errant shots.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Do Golf Balls Have Trackers In Them?
The overwhelming majority do not. There is a small number that does have smart features.
They can send a signal back to your mobile handset if you are within transmission range. However, they tend to be very expensive and don’t seem to work 100% of the time.