Recently, my addiction to golf has been getting worse. I now play during the week twice in addition to going to the range several times to practice. Since I am not able to get out to the course until after I put in a 10 hour day at work, it starts to get dark by the time we get to the end of a round. Even though one of the courses I play at is lighted, the amount of illumination between the tee and the green leaves quite a bit to be desired. The greens are generally well lit, so if you hit the green every time you will have no problem finding your ball. However, if I was capable of hitting the green every time, my co-workers would have single word names like �Tiger� and �Vijay�. A few weeks ago I was playing with a random golfer who had a ball that would start blinking when you hit it. This was the product I was looking for! It�s just too bad I didn�t ask him what the name of it was or where he got it.
The next day I ran out to the local Golfsmith and the salesman at the counter, after laughing at me, explained that he had never heard of it. He also commented that he didn�t think the balls would spin very well. Not wanting to sound like a total noob I just smiled and said, �yeah, you�re probably right�. I more or less understood what he meant but I am certainly not a good enough golfer to care how much a ball spins or even to know what to do with said spin. Besides, when you can�t see more than 10 feet in front of you without a flashlight, does it really matter how much your golf ball spins? I think not. Since I pay for the holes whether I play them or not and generally don�t even bother keeping score, the whole point here is to try to get those last few holes in rather than simply going home. I then took my search to where I should have gone in the 1st place� the internet.
Enter the Twilight Tracer (www.twilighttracer.com). This ball is designed to start flashing a very bright red once you hit it so you can find your ball in the dark. It is an 80 compression ball with a multilayer surlyn cover and is the same weight and size as a regulation ball. I ended up with the 3 pack which goes for about $28 depending on where you find it (I was only able to find it online). It is a touch on the pricey side for me but in the grand scheme of things in the golf world probably not that expensive. The balls last for about 40 hours so, since they blink for roughly 5 minutes at a time, that means you can hit it about 480 times. I was worried that a decent amount of the lifespan of the ball would be lost to getting knocked around during shipping but when I got the balls home and tested one, merely dropping it did not set it off. In fact, it took a moderate amount of force to actually get it blinking, though nothing compared to the force generated during a full golf swing. I feel confident I will get my money�s worth out of each ball.
On the golf course, the 1st one I pulled out of the box to hit made a nice �thwack� sound as it hit a tree off to the right side of the fairway but, unfortunately, there was no blinking involved before it hit the tree. It was a defective ball and amazingly wasn�t one of the two that I had tested at home. I sent a quick email over the weekend to the company that makes them and they got back to me 1st thing Monday morning asking me for my address so they can ship me a replacement ball, no questions asked. They will have my business in the future just for that. On the next hole I tried a different ball (after throwing it into the ground first to make sure it worked) and this time I hit a nice shot right down the middle of the fairway and onto the edge of the green. I could see the ball in the air the whole time (which is VERY cool!) and could easily see it sitting on the green from about 175 yards away. In fact, on a later hole I hit the ball about 225 yards and to the right of the fairway into some 1� thick rough and could still see it from the tee box. While I have no real way of comparing the spin rates of this ball to a regular ball, it did seem to bite into the green fairly well and it left a pretty good ball mark, although, the greens were very soft and starting to get soggy from dew so maybe it had nothing to do with the spin.
The two differences between the tracers and a regular ball that stood out the most was the lack of distance and the very different feel off the club face. Using a metal wood with a graphite shaft I couldn�t really feel a difference but you could hear a much different sound with the tracers than with a regular ball. With an iron and a steel shaft you can feel the difference in your hands in addition to the different sound. The ball �feels� much harder than the balls I typically use (Nike Precision Power Distance � Super Soft) but that could be just due to the fact that the Nike�s only have a 60 compression core and a soft cover. There was also a definite lack of distance with the tracers over my regular ball using everything from my driver to my 60� wedge. What it boiled down to is that I had to take one club more than I normally would (or a harder swing on a short pitch) in order to get the distance I needed. I have only played one type of ball in my short career so I am not sure if the difference I see is simply due to the balls I use or due to the characteristics of the tracers. The difference was enough that on my shorter approach shots I switched to a regular ball since my aim on such shots is pretty good. I did not try to putt with these balls but my guess is that I would not like it. I saw that the company is coming out with a ball specifically for putting but they don�t have much information on it other than the fact that it comes in different colors.
All in all, I consider this to be a great product at a reasonable price and have already recommended it to several of the people I golf with. I am sure that as I play on the course in the evenings I will start to get more and more people asking me why my balls are blinking.
Now, if only something could help me find my balls in the daytime��.