OnCore Golf joins forces with Epson as tour kicks off

Investing in women’s sports is as important as the number of dimples on a golf ball. 

Just ask the folks at Buffalo-based OnCore Golf, a golf ball maker founded in 2011. 

The company just announced it is involved in a partnership that has the potential to be a game changer for the company. OnCore has been named the official golf ball of the LPGA’s qualifying tour, the Epson Tour. 

Epson’s stop at Pinehaven is scheduled for July 21-23 at the Twin Bridges Championship. The Capital Region is the longest-running stop on the Epson Tour, previously known as Symetra and Futures tours. The Tour itself is entering its 43rd season. 

The 22-tournament schedule will take the Epson Tour to 14 states and offer more than $4.9 million in total prize money, for an average purse size of $223,000, both tour records. 

OnCore CEO Keith Blakely said Epson officials approached his company about establishing the partnership. 

“We are putting our VeroX1 on the practice range because we are confident our ball will give players the tour performance they deserve,” Blakely said in a phone interview. 

In addition to supplying driving range balls, OnCore plans to attend the events to explain the technology behind the ball and its advantages on the tee.

“I’ve been told that we will not believe how much attention these women will pay to the sponsors who do something for the tour because by and large they feel ignored,” Blakely said. 

“My hope is that there will be an observable performance advantage now for these players on the practice range. And getting them engaged in a conversation about the technology will help them learn this isn’t just another marketing ploy.  Hopefully in the end we will be able to expand our community of golfers playing our ball in competition,” he said. 

Getting the ball to the tee is the ultimate goal of OnCore’s team of ambassadors and influencers

OnCore’s partnership with Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, a 9-handicap golfer who loves the game of golf and plays in many celebrity pro-am events, continues to evolve. Allen and other athletes and celebrities participated in last summer’s first OnCore Celebrity Classic in Buffalo. 

Allen’s agent initiated his partnership and investment in OnCore. He is joined by fellow Pro-Am competitor and Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and PGA veteran golfer Erik Compton as OnCore ambassadors. Trick shot specialist Tania Tare and Cactus Tour pro Anna DePalma promote the ball on the women’s side. 

The company faced a marketing controversy in 2012 during the honorary starters ceremony at the Masters honoring Lee Elder, who in 1975 became the first Black player to compete in the tournament. During the ceremony, the son of Gary Player stood in the background holding a sleeve of OnCore’s Vero X1 golf balls. Wayne Player was heavily criticized for the incident. 

OnCore said it had nothing to do with Wayne Player’s actions, and Player was banned from Augusta National.

“We are committed to growing the game,” Blakely said. “We have been very involved with minority golfers, with junior golfers and with women and girls for the past 11 years that the company has been in business.”

As one of the smaller companies in the golf ball market, it can be a gradual process. The New York State Golf Association and the South Carolina Women’s Golf Association are among the club’s ongoing partnerships. 

The Epson season will tee off Feb. 27-March 5 with the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in Winter Haven, Florida, at the Country Club of Winter Haven. OnCore golf will be there and it will be interesting to see how the partnership evolves throughout the season. 

[email protected] • @joyceb10bassett •


  • NCAA basketball: UConn crushed rival Tennessee on national television with just 8 players available. The Huskies host the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday, Feb. 5. 

  • Just Women’s Sports: Breanna Stewart has made the prospect of charter flights in the WNBA key to her free agency negotiations. And she is rallying WNBA and NBA players to her cause.

  • This column is sponsored by Times Union Women@Work, the Capital Region’s network of business and professional women. Join today at:


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