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Frances bows out; soccers loyal fans; orange golf balls; GOLF; Bright new look in golf balls

The ad, with a picture of ice water and orange golf balls in a large glass pitcher, definitely has shock value. "ProStaff introduces orange aid," heralds the clever headline, which heightens curiosity about the new high-visibility balls manufactured by Wilson Sporting Goods.

The thought of optic orange golf balls may be repulsive to traditionalists, but they are supposedly easier to track in flight and spot once they land. Translation: fewer lost balls, an obvious concern of any golfer. TV might like the orange covers, too, since white balls get lost against the sky.

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Colored balls are not really new. One manufacturer has marketed pastel balls for women, a gimmick that's done little for sales. And, of course, miniature golf has long used colored balls to speed identification and add interest.

Anyone who believes golfers will automatically reject orange balls as too radical is reminded of what happened in tennis. For years, white balls were the unquestioned standard there, too. But when optic yellow balls were pushed as the the most visible during the 1970s, the public quickly accepted them. Now, yellow balls are the rule, white ones the exception.

But, wait a minute, Penn Athletic Products has decided to take things a step further with its experimental two-tone tennis ball. The sphere's fuzzy yellow and orange sections reportedly make for easy tracking, and since the colors don't blend, it may be ea sier to read a shot's spin.

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