Golf ball tracking is a very contentious issue that has been researched for a long time. You might wonder why this century-old sport and with all the technology involved we can’t merely put a GPS chip or a tracer inside a golf ball. It would certainly help to avoid losing them and finding them on the course. Why can’t we do it? There are several reasons and I will be highlighting some of them below.
Firstly, you’d have to engineer a tiny GPS chip that would fit inside the small confines of a ball. This is hard for engineers and would also make the price of those golf balls to shoot up significantly.
Secondly, Golf balls are usually subject to enormous hit impacts as well. This would either break the chip inside or disable it at best.
Finally, GPS chips are made of materials different from those that make golf balls. Through continuous testing and research, the difference in the material between the two has been found to change the ball’s physical action and response. The ball has been measured and tracked to show changes in the trajectory after every shot. This would make such balls very inconsistent for shot-making.
GPS trackers usually require some source of power. Adding batteries initially seems like a good idea but here is why it’s not. The golf ball has tiny confines that only permit small non-rechargeable power cells. This is because once sealed, you can’t open them up. Small batteries would not last long, which then requires engineers to come up with wireless charging technology. That will, in turn, further raise the cost of playing golf. All these reasons make GPS technology almost impossible to implement, desirable though it would be.
If, in any case, you are a pro golfer playing in a major tournament, many people and cameras are continuously monitoring your actions. They can quickly point out where your ball is if you lose it. If, on the other hand, you are a weekend golfer, you most likely do not use expensive balls, which makes the pain of losing a few cheap balls fairly bearable. This wouldn’t be the case if you lost an expensive GPS ball costing hundreds of dollars. Imagine it plonking into a water hazard for example.
Considering the problem further, one way of creating a traceable ball might be to coat it. This would be a substance that could be easily detectable. Or, perhaps, making the ball with a low-level, safe radioactive material that could also be tracked. All these options initially seem viable. However, the benefits don’t outweigh the costs involved, leaving the disadvantages alone.
Has There Ever Been Something Invented With A Ball Tracking Function?
Interestingly enough, a few years ago OnCore Golf made a tracking presentation during a show. They talked about their GENiUS ball. This is indeed a ball with a chip inside it that could track parameters such as its location, its backspin, and its location from you. All this could be done in real-time through your smartphone. This company had previously made a ball with hollow metalcore, which makes this idea quite viable as it can protect the chip from damage.
This ball promises to bring wireless technology with it, which gives it useful battery life. It is also able to send important information to the golfer via Bluetooth technology. All this could be a reality by the end of the year. However, you will need fairly deep pockets.
Is There Anything You Can Do To Track/Find A Golf Ball On The Course?
Toptracer is a technology currently used at some golf courses around the world to track balls. This technology allows golfers to track their shot’s height, distance, and ball speed, including other parameters. It has different modes that you could choose from, which include nearest to the pin challenge, longest drive competition, track what’s in your bag, and many others.
This technology is very reliable as it is used during television broadcasts of the world’s biggest tournaments. Toptracer tracks up to 2.5 million shots every day. This speaks volumes about its reliability. The balls have metal oxide semiconductors, a standard technology used in mobile phones. These are at the heart of the technology used.
The capability works through the use of cameras and sensors, which create a three-dimensional space. Objects entering this space are then tracked. Golf balls usually result in light waves once they travel through the air, allowing the balls to be shown on a screen. This software allows multiple balls to be tracked at once, making it very convenient. It does this by breaking down the course into triangles and tracking each angle that a ball enters and leaves the triangle.
RTD Golf Instructor and Tech In-Play Assessor