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Nanotech golf ball delayed

The NDMX, a ball that will correct for a slight slice or a hook, lands slightly in the rough.

Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
Michael Kanellos
2 min read
On its first shot, the nanotechnology golf ball has landed slightly in the rough.

The NDMX, a golf ball designed by material science specialist NanoDynamics that will correct for a slight slice or a hook, was supposed to be on store shelves this past spring. The company, however, was able to get prototypes to only a few select golfers in late June. It now plans to release the golf ball in late 2005, according to the company's Web site.

NanoDynamics is also still seeking approval from the U.S. Golfing Association so that the ball can be used for tournament and professional play. The company did not return calls seeking comment.

The NDMX can fly straighter than normal golf balls because the internal weight of the golf ball can shift dynamically. Shifting the weight allows the ball to fly along its so-called natural angle of flight--in other words, the place a golfer intended it to go. The ball won't correct for a severe shank, but it can prevent slight drifts in direction.

Distributing weight to correct a flight path, however, requires energy, which ordinarily would reduce the flight of a ball. To counter that, the outside skin of NDMX is stiffer than the outer shell of a conventional ball.

"A normal ball undergoes a huge amount of deformation. That elongation takes a lot of energy out of the club, so there is less for the ball," Keith Blakely, CEO of NanoDynamics, said last year. "We make the energy transfer between the club and ball more efficient, so you don't lose lift and distance."

The ball is expected to cost around $7 or $8 dollars.