The GEN i1 golf ball is the latest example of how golf’s most ground-breaking technologies continue to be its smallest.
The focus of an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, the GEN i1 is a standard golf ball in size and weight but has what its inventor Jason Koo, is calling “a launch monitor” inside. More precisely, he explains, the GEN i1 golf ball’s core houses a nine-axis sensor that tracks the ball’s movement and communicates that data via Bluetooth to your smartphone. Through an app, the GEN i1 ball, callibrated specifically for putting, reveals initial direction, speed, impact force and ball rotation. It also provides games for training, and its algorithms can translate putting-stroke data for use in non-golf arcade-style games.
“The data the ball produces helps you understand why you’re missing putts,” Koo said. “Practicing putting is boring, but these algorithms not only give us information to educate golfers, they lets us integrate games with the ball and the app to make practice fun.”
The GEN i1 recently reached its Indiegogo funding goal (with eight days remaining), and the accompanying funding campaign video perhaps sets a new record for expletives deleted in a golf product description.
Koo expects the “smart” GEN i1 ball to be available in wide distribution within the next two months. The GEN i1 includes additional club sensors that provide data on tempo, face angle and backstroke and forward stroke times.
Koo also is at work on two other balls. GEN i2 will be calibrated for full-swing and all non-putting shots’ data, including direction, spin rate, distance and speed. GEN i3 will be designed for indoor use, and Koo says could be developed as a self-contained golf simulator that wouldn’t require any additional launch monitor or clubhead sensors.
He says the GEN i2 would have the durability of a traditional golf ball, while the GEN i3 is being developed to last for up to 5,000 impacts.
Koo has been surprised how much appeal the GEN i1 seems to hold for non-elite golfers. “You would think this product would just be for golfers who are really into statistics and numbers,” he said. “I’d say that 40 percent of the interest we’ve had to this point has been from those interested in the gaming aspect.”
The GEN i1 is available for pre-order on Indiegogo, starting at $99 per ball. Delivery is expected within 60 days.