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Grouchy Golf Blog

Sunday, March 05, 2006 at 12:23 PM

Golf Review: Technasonic Check-Go

Snake-oil salesmen have long found golf to be fertile ground to hawk their wares. I can't think of another sport that has as many gadgets and gizmos that don't do squat. Thankfully, most are obviously junk upon first glance. However, there are some things that make you wonder if it's legit.

One such gadget that has always piqued my interest is the Technasonic Check-Go. It has been around since the late 80s and it is still a hot seller. In a nutshell, it's a device that's supposed to find the optimal balance point (equator) of a golf ball by spinning the ball at high speeds. Why is this important? Well, if you putt the ball along its balanced equator, it should roll truer on the green. Dave Pelz, the mad scientist of golf, has done research in this area and wrote, "Physics is physics. If balls are not balanced and they are not lined up on their balance point, they’re not going to roll straight."

It sounded good enough for me. I plunked down around 30 hard-earned greenbacks to satisfy my curiosity. Once I opened the package, I inserted my AA Duracells and got "Check-Go-ing" on a new box of Pro V1s. It seemed easy enough; just place the golf ball on the holder, attach the cage, hold down the button to spin the ball, and then mark the ball with a pen. Well, it actually takes some practice.

On my first attempt, the Pro V1 spun wildly out of control when I tried to mark it with the pen. Instead of a straight line along the ball's balanced equator, I ended up with a ball half-covered in ink! But after a couple more attempts, I started to get the hang of it. The key is to let the ball spin up to the maximum speed and then apply the pen to the ball lightly with increasing pressure. To get a heavier line, go back over the Check-Go line with a Sharpie and the method.

For the most part, the Check-Go works as advertised. I have put dozens of balls through this thing and it has always found the ball's balance point. Whenever I re-spun a marked ball, it would return to the same balance point indicated by the original line.

The only gripe that I have with the Check-Go is that the line that is manually drawn is frequently "off" a bit
. The cause of this problem is the way that the pen is aligned and applied to the ball. To draw the line on the ball, the pen is simply inserted into a hole of the cage. Unfortunately, this hole allows some "play" with the pen allowing the pen approach the ball at varying angles. As a result, the line can be off from the true center of the ball. I have a couple of Pro V1s with off-center lines and I find it very distracting when I putt. Technasonic could improve the Check-Go immensely and probably sell a lot more of them if they just devised a way to apply the pen to the ball more accurately.

While I'm confident that the Check-Go does find the balance point of a golf ball, I'm not sure that it really matters in practice. I haven't noticed any difference to my putting results. I'm probably just not good enough to know. But if you believe that balanced golf balls will make a difference to your game, then the Check-Go is a great product for you.

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Blogger dave said...

I am going to be happy with your Gatorade ring thing until I start putting a lot better.  

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Blogger John Hansen said...

I too have used the device for around a year and it took some practice to get pen on ball correctly. I found that if you just hold the pen along the bottom edge of the cup vs the hole in the post you do better. It allows you to apply the pressure more evenly. I bought into the advertising as you did since I need every advantage I can get and felt if it shaved even one stroke off it was worth it. The problem is I do not know if it does or not so I have faith that it is working as it should. If it does anything it puts a nice ring around your ball which is a great identification marker when you have 2 Pro V1's sitting next to each other on the fairway. You know instantly which is yours.  

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Blogger CB said...

You do love the toys.

I have found that marking my balls with a line gets me very focused on the line of the putt and not enough on tempo and pace.

I am in this whole new Zen golf thing and I like placing the ball so I only see white. I'm sure I'll revert to lines and technique soon enough...  

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Blogger Greg said...

Great post!! Like Dave Pelz, I am an engineer (and I work for NASA in the space program) and the first question that can to mind when I was reading the first few paragraphs was "if respun, does it find the same line". Well, sure enough, you answered that question. Well done!! I have yet to try the line on the ball thing, but I have often thought about it.

I think if I see that little gizmo at Golfsmith or Golf Galaxy, I'll have a hard time leaving it on the shelf.

I think the reason you don't see the results you might expect is because when playing, the ball generally won't get up to high enough RPMs to be affected by a slight imbalance in the ball.

-Greg  

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Anonymous Erik said...

Has anyone else noticed that Tiger Woods appears to have a line like that created from the Check Go on all his golf balls while he putts?

Not sure if it's the same thing but it looks like the smae idea.

E  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also am an Engineer, have seen this work in friends homes, but have one big question: If you play a few holes with a marked ball, THEN take it back for respin, does it find the same line? I would guess not. Balls compress quite a bit.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been using this device for over a year & it's great. The only problem is finding the pens. Technasonics price of $12.95 plus shipping for 4 pens is robbery.

Harry  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found that if you can find a sharpie with a small neck (I found some at Sam's Club)they have just enough room to get to the ball and make the perfect center line, and they work better than the pen that I recieved with the unit.

Good Luck  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have used the Check GO for years and agree with you guys. Just got the new version from perfectball.com, called the "Check Go PRO" last week and they have really seemed to improve on a couple of the issues; you can tell the difference by the new copper color. The new design is much easier to hold and features an LED light indicating when the ball is up to speed so that you may begin to mark it, as well as a built in ball liner in the bottom of the unit to go over the line creating a more solid line, this serves the same purpose as the gatorade bottle but is now built-in. Overall they took a good product and made it much better and easier to use.  

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Blogger William said...

I forget where I read that Hogan would test all his golf balls to assure he didn't use any that were lopsided. He'd put enough salt in a glass of water to make a golf ball float, then spin a ball and allow it to come to a stop while floating. He'd then mark the spot poking out of the water and spin again. If the same spot came up, he knew it was a "bad" ball. Presumably, you could do the same thing, but just draw your line through the spot that "floated." Maybe... For the "good" balls, it wouldn't matter much where you drew the line... again.. maybe.  

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Blogger freakface said...

In Pelz's Putting Bible book he talks both about the Epsom salt method (that William discussed) and the centrifuge. The epsom salt method is a bit tricky because you have a hard time applying enough pressure to the ball to make a reasonable mark without re-submerging it. I did that for a long time before getting the Check-Go. It definitely make a difference. You should chart your putting and you will also probably notice that you get truer rolls once you align and balance your ball.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous poster that said the line makes you think too much about the line and not enough about speed. I find it makes me think more about speed than line. Once I pick out my intended line and line up the ball, I can then focus all my attention on the pace of the putt. I make three or four practice strokes thinking only speed. Once I have the speed down, I set up the putter behind the ball, line up the ball line and putter line, and repeat my practice stroke. It has really helped me the most on those tough 4 to 10 foot putts.  

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Blogger jim said...

To the question of sharpies... If you take a pair of needle nose pliers and pull the sharpie tip out 1/8/ inch, it works perfectly in the machine.. no more rip off pens... enjoy  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I drilled a hole on the opposite side the exact opening of the sharpie pen. It works pretty good, but have to mark it carefully for the solid line.  

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Anonymous Sergio said...

Hi,

I just found I could make a ball float with a saturated solution of table salt (hot water and a lot of salt should make the ball surface, and the lighter end will be above the surface, while the heavier end will be deepest), finding the sweet-spot very fast! I added a very small amount of detergent to brake the surface tension of the water (new balls have more trouble rolling with the brand new dimples; put a finger in the mouth of the detergent bottle and rinse it in the solution and that's it).
That, with the gatorade method will save you some money.
Very good blog, thanks!  

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Anonymous Jack said...

It makes sense to me that if you don't want to putt, at relatively low RPMs, with an unbalanced ball, you certainly don't want to HIT one off a tee. So I line my ball up on the tee, too. My tee shots still don't go as straight as a string, but are they straighter than they would be without the Check Go? Maybe.  

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