Gear & EquipmentMarch 2, 2011

Roberto Clemente Jr. and a unique new ball

The fact that Roberto Clemente Jr. has invested in it and is likely to wind up on its board of directors is curious, no doubt, but maybe not as curious as the product itself: A hollow metal core golf ball.

OnCore Golf, a Buffalo-based concern, will soon introduce the Omen, its hollow metal core designed to reduce sidespin. Less sidespin, less hooking and slicing.

"The idea behind it is quite simple," company co-founder and vice president Bret Blakely said. "Put the weight to the outside, toward the perimeter of the ball, and it will reduce sidespin and make the ball much more accurate."

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Its target demographic is the amateur player attempting to diminish the difficulty of the game. "Our sense is the golf world in general wants that," Blakely said

It is the second attempt the Blakelys have made with a hollow metal core ball. Six years ago, his father's company, NanoDynamics, came out with a hollow metal core ball, the NDMX, simply as a means of demonstrating "how advanced materials can be used in different industries," Bret said. It spent no money on marketing and the ball was sold only through the website.

There were issues with the ball, including a lack of distance and feel, both of which have been resolved, Blakely said. "The core had been too close to the cover, so we decreased the size of the core and were still able to maintain a far more accurate ball than you will find anywhere else. It really helped improve the sound and feel, too."

The NDMX was approved by the USGA. The Omen has not yet been submitted. "The five metrics that determine ball conforming status [overall distance, symmetry, initial velocity, weight and size], everything still fits," Blakely said, cautiously optimistic that the Omen will pass USGA muster.

As for Roberto Clemente Jr., son of the late Hall of Famer, he is an avid golfer. A mutual acquaintance brought the Blakelys and Clemente together. "He loved it right from the start," Bret Blakely said. "He thought it was a great idea with great technology."

Blakely said that OnCore Golf is "trying to work an arrangement to put him on the board of directors."

-- John Strege

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