The global golf ball market is estimated to be worth over £1.1 billion by 2025 with individual players spending upwards of £400 per year on golf balls.
Golf has been a slow adopter of artificial intelligence technology. But a world-first AI app just released is set to revolutionise the market by shifting the balance of power away from a small number of dominant manufacturers and into the hands of the customer. A clear example of AI protecting consumers and possibly marking the largest shake-up in the multi-billion-dollar golf industry in years.
AI Reveals Stark Variation in Golf Ball Performance with No Positive Price Correlation
AI Generated Accuracy Scores vs. Unit Price for Top 39 Golf Balls
Golf is unique amongst competitive sports. In professional ballgames the ball is usually standard – provided by a regulatory body and unable to be changed by the player. Not so in golf, where balls might look the same but in fact comprise anywhere from two to six components, different cores, different compounds, different casings and large variations in dimple patterns that affect everything from flight, to spin, distance and accuracy. Golf balls win or lose matches and the hundreds of millions of dollars in prize money that go with them every year at professional and amateur tournaments worldwide.
Day-to-day, however, the biggest loser invariably is the customer – who is reliant on difficult to differentiate and often unsubstantiated marketing messages when making purchases worth over £1bn+ per annum. Balls can cost up to £4.50 each and research from a major ball manufacturer shows that the average golfer goes through 4.5 per round, meaning that a single game can cost a golfer over £20.15 in golf balls alone. Given that there are hundreds of different variations to choose from, the majority of players cannot afford to test enough golf balls to find one suitable for their playing style - although many waste a small fortune attempting to do so. Few other sectors of such value are as opaque as the golf ball market.
Those days are now over, as AI technology has disrupted the sector with an app that tells individual golfers exactly what ball they should use course-by-course, hole-by-hole and how many shots they will save by switching. The £1bn+ golf ball industry now faces a pressing need to adapt ball development to the ability of AI to cut through marketing messages and tell players exactly which ball to play. The winner will be the customer who will save shots, money and time.
As new players are taking up golf at the highest rate since 2004, this is an exciting success story for how AI can benefit professional sportspeople and ordinary consumers alike in an already substantial and growing market sector.