Gen i1 Smart Golf Ball Review

50 Words or Less

The Gen i1 smart golf ball sets up quickly but is not great to use.  Limited actionable data.

Introduction

The idea of a golf ball with a microchip in it seems like the set up for a joke.  “The only way you’re finding that shot is with GPS on the ball, Steve, yuk yuk yuk.”  However, the 2018 PGA Show brought us at least two “intelligent” golf balls.

The Gen i1 is the first to hit retail.  It pairs a smart golf ball with an on-club sensor to measure and train your putting stroke.

Set-Up & Ease of Use

Despite having two separate pieces that need to pair with your device, the Gen i1 is very easy to set up.  After I charged the on-club sensor, I connected and updated both the sensor and the ball in seconds.  The app is also easy to use.  It gives you only the options you need: connect device and practice putting.

Unfortunately, my experience using the Gen i1 was not good.  First, the ball needs to be oriented in a particular way to register your putt.  This is a hassle.  Second, even with the proper orientation, I found that many of my strokes did not register.

Effectiveness

The Gen i1 provides six data points – three for the club, three for the ball.  The club gives you club face angle, stroke tempo, and stroke length.  From the ball, you get speed, skid/skip distance, and total distance.

To get an accurate club face number, you need to have the sensor mounted perfectly.  I thought mine was set up well, but I kept getting readings of 3 or 4 degrees shut on putts that went into the center of the cup.

I found the other two club numbers to be useful.  Tempo is an important aspect of good putting, and controlling stroke length can have value as well.

With regard to the ball data, I think it is only useful in certain situations.  Ball speed and distance seem redundant to me, though having one of those could be useful in an indoor setting.  The value of skid/skip distance is questionable to me.  It might be interesting to look at the difference between putters, but I don’t know what the practice application is.

Overall, I’m unimpressed with the effectiveness of the Gen i1.  It’s not easy or fun to use, and much of the data it provides has marginal utility.

Longevity

The combination of having to align the ball for every stroke, putts that don’t register, and the ball feeling like a rock led me to think that the Gen i1 would have poor longevity.  The fact that the data is of minimal value confirmed it.  This was a product that I was happy to be finished testing.

Value

The Gen i1 has a retail price of $119 and is available through the companies website.  For an additional $30, you can get a much better (and more versatile) sensor in Blast Golf 360.

Conclusion

When I watched the promotional video on the Gen i1 website, I was really intrigued.  The reality is much less exciting.  The app currently available has none of the games or fun features that the website shows.  Even if it did, I doubt those factors would overcome the awful feel of this golf ball and the need to bend over and aim it before every putt.  I’m sure that golf balls with sensors will become useful one day, but today isn’t it.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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4 Comments

  1. Wow Matt, you’re a good sport just for trying that thing. Just from the pictures it looks like a logo ball you get for turning in tickets at the arcade.

    Curious about Oncore’s Genius ball. My dad could use some help finding his…

  2. Larry Armatage, PGA of Canada Class A Professional

    Hi Matt;
    When it gives the data for total length of the putt, does it do a calculation of “estimated length ” based on putter spreed, or does it actually measure the length of travel based on how far that sensor ball actually goes?

    Also, how far is the maximum it measure putts in feet?
    Thanks for your reviews.

    Larry

    • Matt Saternus

      Larry,

      Those are two excellent questions, but I don’t have answers for either. My apologies.

      Best,

      Matt

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