The Polara Self Correcting Golf Ball – Here We Go AgainWednesday, June 15, 2011 12:00
I say any technology that helps speed the game of golf along for the recreational golfer is alright by me. I mean, it´s a brutal day when it takes 5+ hours to play eighteen holes of golf. I play off a double-digit handicap; however, I play fast and those I keep company with play at a brisk pace as well. What boils my blood more than anything else is slow play – mostly at the hands of those who have really come to the course to do more hunting and fishing than to play golf. That´s why I take special interest in the resurgence of the Polara golf ball.
The latest buzz being generated around the new and improved Polara (Aero-X Golf, Inc.) is that it might be one of the answers to speeding up the game – more balls in the fairway, less lost balls, less expense, more fun. Not to mention that it could bring back many golfers who have abandoned the game out of frustration at not having the swing of Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods. Isn´t that what the game needs, more players enjoying a fun afternoon with friends; more money being spread around to keep jobs in the golf industry from disappearing?
In the late 70s, Fred Holmstrom and David Nepela solved the hook & slice problem utilizing good, old fashioned aerodynamic physics. We know what the scoring design and dimples did for the gutta percha ball in the mid-ninetieth and twentieth centuries; and, funny enough, dimples again were the answer to finding the holy grail of straight flight in the 70s.
Of course, back then, a straight flying golf ball incurred the wrath of the USGA (duh!); which is the arbiter of technology as it applies to golf, right? And in 1981 the USGA enacted a rule requiring that the dimple pattern of a golf ball must be symmetrical no matter how the ball was positioned – the symmetry rule. You see, the Polara ball has got several dimple patterns requiring you to correctly position the ball each time you hit it… ahhhh, there´s the rub… no touchy, no touchy the golf ball! Well, after the legal dust cleared, and the USGA settled with the Polara company for millions, the self-correcting ball was deemed out-of-bounds (actually non-conforming) and banished to the rough of obscurity. It was the right call for the time. But, I´m not so sure today… these times they are a changín.
Let´s face facts… the golf industry is struggling. I know everyone of you reading this blog is a witness to a course or two, or three that is having money problems, are bankrupt, or starting the proceedings toward bankruptcy. Superintendents are cutting back on mowing, cutting, manicuring, and rolling. I was talking with a local pro the other day and he said he hopes he can break-even at the end of the year. Right now, he´s treading water. More golfers are leaving the ranks than are picking up the game. Tournament and outing revenues are down and everyone is looking for solutions. If there was a ball that could straighten out your game up to 75% isn´t that something worth considering?
Golf is not a game of perfect; and, I agree that tournament golf needs to be regulated and outings will need to be modified. Elite golfers are a very small percentage of golfers anyway. However, for the 95% of golfers that are playing golf in corporate scrambles, charity events, and other non-handicapping play I say, what is the harm? Let´s play golf. Let´s try the Polara. Line it up where the arrow points and hit it! The proof is in the pudding.
Now, it´s up to the USGA to get on the fast track to putting fun back in the game. It worked for the tennis, softball, and the racing industries. What do you think; can it work for golf?
Text © 2011, The iQuest Group, LLC