For most weekend duffers, making it through an entire round with one ball is worthy of a personal Green Jacket. But let's face it, 18 holes without playing a little pine-tree pinball isn't likely. So RadarGolf (radargolf.com) tees up with its patented ball-finding technology. Combining a handheld locator and balls with microchips inside, the system is designed to save money and strokes.
Here's how it works: As you approach the area where your stray shot went, power on the locator (it's the size of a thick DVD case, weighing 14.5 oz.) and begin sweeping. Beeps get louder and the LCD signal gets stronger as you approach the ball. The company claims a range of 30 to 100 feet.
Our findings were less robust. The first errant shot – a fade into light trees – was found quickly. Still, beeping only started when eight paces away, the ball already in sight. After a fat hook off the next tee and a few minutes of fruitless sweeping, I bagged it and resorted to the tried-and-true method of self-recrimination and lots of walking in circles. At no time did the locator pick up a ball beyond 30 feet, the bottom of the advertised range.
While RadarGolf may have its uses – finding the odd ball in thick rough or under fall leaves – at $250 (includes 12 balls; additional dozens cost $40), most hackers might settle for cheaper balls and a higher handicap.