'Unlosable' balls to transform golf?


Sean Dudley

A Dutch firm reckons it may have created the solution to golf’s pace of play problem – a golf ball that will never be lost.

Prazza Group says the average group wastes thirty minutes looking for balls, and that around 500 million golf balls are lost around the world each year. And, in its new Golf Ball Finder system, it thinks it might have the answer.

Prazza’s solution is a golf ball with an radio frequency (RFID) chip inside it. The balls are sold along with a smartphone-sized handset, which can sense their location from up to 100 metres away. The handset either bleeps or vibrates with increasing frequency as the golfer nears the ball, with a visual display to show the right direction. The microchip in the ball remains active for 30 minutes after each shot.

“Being able to say that lost golf balls are now a thing of the past will have a huge effect on the amount of people who want to play the game,” said company president Jan de Waard. “We believe that our new Prazza ball-finding technology will significantly increase the number of golfers around the world. Golf can be a very embarrassing sport for a beginner. Looking for your ball on most holes takes a long time, and holds other golfers up. Plus it is expensive to tee up with a brand new ball, only to see it disappear forever into the long grass or trees! With Prazza, any golfer, of any standard, will play faster, and with more enjoyment.”

The equipment goes on sale in the UK in November, and is to be rolled out globally in 2011.