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Grouchy Golf Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 1:42 AM

RadarGolf: Lo-Jack Your Golf Ball

As a person with a business background, I love to think of business ideas. However, my ideas can sometimes be considered beyond "out of the box." One such idea was hatched a couple of years ago after I became so frustrated over losing about a dozen Pro V1s at Lost Canyons (the most appropriate name for a golf course ever).

My idea was to irradiate golf balls with a low-level radioactive isotope. Golfers who lost such balls could simply use a Geiger counter to find their balls. It sounded great at first, but then I realized that there could be litigation risks associated with potential health hazards to golfers who carried radioactive balls in their pocket. Would it really be so bad to grow another arm? Who knows, it could improve your swing.

Anyway, a company has already developed a similar concept, without the radiation risks. RadarGolf has developed a microchip that is designed to be embedded into a golf ball. The chip is designed to communicate with a handheld device carried by the golfer. When the golfer loses his ball, he simply activates the handheld to transmit a specific radio frequency signal. Like a Spidey tracer, the chip receives the signal and sends back its own signal, causing the handheld to beep faster and at a higher pitch as it gets closer to the ball.

I think that this product has some potential for success. However, one glaring shortcoming that I see is the fact that the system only works specifically with RadarGolf Balls. There's just no way that you're going to pry golfers away from their precious Pro V1s to play some findable ball that most wouldn't want to find in the first place. Therefore, I recommend that RadarGolf pursue a strategy to get their product in established golf ball brands. I'm sure that Titleist would be interested to incorporate the RadarGolf chip into their golf balls as a premium feature or product extension. For example, they could retail a dozen regular Pro V1s at $50 and RadarGolf Pro V1s at $60. I think that such a product offering could be attractive to certain golfers. This all sounds great in theory, but we'll have to see how it works in practice.

The RadarGolf System (the handheld unit with a dozen balls) was scheduled to be introduced sometime this month on the Web for $349.95. However, the last time I checked, there was no purchasing info. Maybe they're rethinking their business model. I think that would be a good idea.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

reading this makes me feel fortunate that i have good eyes and ears. i managed to play seven rounds with the same ball this year (until it finally met its final resting place in a water hazard.) as i generally walk, i would hate to have to lug a radio-tranciever-doohickey around. call me when they have a companion chip that resides in my brain and allows me to instantly know where my radar ball has scurried off to.  

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Blogger dave said...

Maybe when you whack it too hard it quits working.  

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Anonymous mediaguru at hookedongolfblog.com said...

http://www.hookedongolfblog.com/?p=202  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha, thats great! My old roomate and I had (basically) the same idea after playing a course called hickory sticks in MI. What we proposed to do was put a GPS chip in the golf ball and use a tracking device to locate it. But I never got it to work; we sawed a ball in half, put the chip in and then tried to put it back together. It didnt fly to well after that...  

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Anonymous Vegas Golfer said...

Part of the fun I have playing golf is the laughter and teasing at where your ball landed. The thought of cheating that entertainment away doesn't sit well with me.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the first poster......It is recommended that a golfer change out his ball every six holes, due to performance loss. I can only imagine the shape and quality of your golf ball after SEVEN ROUNDS!!!
As for the write up....it's a great idea and I would buy them if they were on the market.  

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Blogger Steve said...

If you're going to change your ball after every six holes, then you're paying an awful lot just to be able to find your ball should it get lost. It's probably cheaper to buy three times as many regular balls and lose one, on average, every two holes.

-Steve
Games are for Children  

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Blogger Cap'n H said...

Nonetheless, someone will want it, and thus a market shall be created for it.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

in my opinion, only a pro playing on pristine, high stimp greens would notice such a performance loss after just six holes. i'm using game improving irons, a driver with a humungus sweet spot, and i never expect to make long puts as it is (i lag 'em then drop 'em.) 80 is a good score for me and i i didn't shoot higher than 87 all summer. my game seems just fine after four years experience and a perfomance destroying, thrifty attitude toward golf ball purchasing. maybe when i'm breaking eighty next year i'll start paying full price for some nxt's or the like. but why should i be buying pro v1s at my level? even fred funk (golf magazine interview)says he can't take full advantage of the new ball technology, and he is a major champion. so what does a pro v1 really do for the beginner/high/mid handicappers game?
never forget, par is the score that a scratch player, under relatively normal weather conditions, can achieve. you can't buy scratch, and theres no secret that will give it to you overnight.
your point is valid, but for me unimportant.  

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Anonymous popeye said...

I doubt the marketing gurus at Titliest, Bridgestone and Spalding would agree.
look up "planned obsolescence" in their marketing manuals and you will find a picture of a golf ball, resting on a tee, waiting to be struck.  

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Anonymous Cal said...

There is no way golf ball manufacturers want you to find a lost ball.

If they did, RFID's would be in golf balls already.

Their income stream depends on you (the ordinary hacker) losing balls at a prodigious rate and being unable to find them.

Adding thinner covers under the pretext of "more control" - read "scuffs more easily and needs to be replaced more often", is another of their ploys.

Great blog by the way - I'll be back :)  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is on the market. I own it and I love it. The balls perfrom better than I expected and the thing really works. I ordered my system by phone and shared some of the ideas I've read on blogs like this one with RadarGolf. They claim that they are talking to the ball manufacturers already and believe they will be successful in licensing to the big boys. I think this technology is here to stay.  

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