Having a ball: OnCore Golf ascends to new heights

·4 min read

Breaking into an industry steeped in history and tradition can be filled with challenges. For OnCore Golf, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) ball company, the journey had more obstacles than most. But with a little ingenuity, perseverance and an out-of-the-box product story, the startup proved it belongs.

Back in 2014, the nascent firm unveiled the MA-1.0 with a hollow-metal core. The first-of-its-kind, perimeter-weighted model removed mass from the center and redistributed it toward the outside of the ball. However, it took years to get there. Previously, the USGA determined the ball was non-conforming despite meeting the conformance standards for weight, size, spherical symmetry, initial velocity, and overall distance standard. That’s because it was considered “non-traditional in form and make.” After a lengthy appeals process and a revision to The Rules of Golf, the MA-1.0 was added to the Conforming Golf Ball List.

The original model didn’t take the industry by storm. But it provided OnCore’s team with valuable consumer feedback. Through trial and error, the product designs evolved. The original approach to perimeter weighting—hollow metal-core—has been replaced by a more traditional rubber core encapsulated by a metal-infused polymer mantle layer in the VERO X1, a 4-piece Tour ball, and ELIXR, a 3-piece Tour ball. The company’s 2-piece distance model, AVANT 55, doesn’t feature perimeter weighting.

All three models feature sound engineering principles and innovative technologies. OnCore’s product development team is led by Senior Technical Advisor John Calabria, a 40-year veteran of the ball wars with stints at Maxfli, Spalding, TaylorMade, and Titleist. Calabria guides a group whose expertise is in material applications in non-golf fields. Their objective is to use high-tech materials in novel ways to enhance performance through perimeter weighting.

How do we know it works? OnCore’s testing doesn’t measure sidespin but is an indirect measurement based on accuracy. “We find the ball spread [aka shot dispersion] is tighter with our perimeter-weighted balls compared to the competition,” says Calabria. “We also get anecdotal information from good players that can see how the ball fights sidespin on shots they expected to be in the rough but landed in the fairway. And, you can see it during robot testing when looking at trajectory.”

Erik Compton, a former PGA Tour pro who competes on the Korn Ferry Tour, is a believer. “The VERO X1 is a very straight ball. It launches a little higher than other ones I’ve used, which is ideal for the Tour since we’re playing firm and fast greens,” says Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient. “It also reacts differently inside 100 yards than any ball I’ve played.”

courtesy of OnCore Golf

Both the VERO X1 and ELIXR have cast urethane covers to maximize spin and control on scoring shots. As mentioned earlier, the two models have the same metal-infused mantle. But, the 4-piece VERO X1 ball has a thicker mantle layer (and nano-technology inner cover) for added speed and more spin with the short irons and wedges due to the thinner cover. Built for golfers with driver swing speeds in excess of 100 mph, the VERO X1 launches higher with less spin off the driver. The ELIXR, for players who swing the driver at speeds less than 100 mph, flies lower and feels softer (80 compression). And, the AVANT 55 is a low-compression ball (55) with a proprietary, soft Surlyn cover for players with moderate swing speeds.

With the DTC model, OnCore Golf can sell quality products at competitive prices. The current costs (per dozen): $40 for VERO X1; $30 for ELIXR; and, $20 for AVANT 55. It’s worth noting that consumers who fill out the company’s online ball fitting form at oncoregolf.com will receive “$10 off” their first dozen. In addition, volume-pricing discounts are available—$2 off per dz. with the purchase of three dozen balls and $4 off per dz. for six dozen. There’s even a loyalty program, so the more you spend over time, the more you’ll save.

OnCore Golf’s mantra is to use innovative technologies that drive impressive performance at a great value. Give the balls a shot.

courtesy of OnCore Golf