Chris Hazel, a Mechanical Engineering student at UD, has partnered with Rope It Golf, a Delaware based company co-founded by two University of Delaware alumni. Louis Girifalco and Marc Reda graduated from UD and the Lerner College of Business and Economics in 2009.
Rope It Golf manufactures and sells “The Rope It”, a product originally invented by Louis’ father, John Girifalco, as a simple alternative to a hitting net and more convenient than going to the driving range. It has developed into a 20 ft long bungee and nylon cord attached to a real golf ball using a zinc plated screw eye. As a freshman at UD, Louis took interest in his father’s invention and even submitted a business plan to the Alfred Lerner Business Development Competition. Receiving second place, Louis was inspired to delve into the business world and develop the Rope It brand. During Louis’ time at UD, he found a business partner in friend and classmate, Marc Reda and the pair have since successfully sold and marketed the Rope It nationwide.
By a chance meeting, Louis and Chris who attended grade school and high school together, spoke about Louis’ business and future plans for the Rope It. After this discussion, Chris offered his skills and resources as an Engineering student to help create an add-on option to the original device named “Rope It Pro”. With a basic design plan, Chris approached Dr. Jenni Buckley, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, to serve as a mentor for the project. When asked what her initial interest was in the project, she responded, “I was immediately intrigued by Chris’ enthusiasm and the potential for an Engineering student to utilize what he has learned and apply it to a real-world product. It is a Delaware story with a growing company and the department is excited to collaborate with others and help out in any way that we can.”
The design has developed to include an accelerometer that would be strategically attached to the Rope It to measure the flight path using specific algorithms. Essentially, when a Rope It user hits the ball, the data from the accelerometer will be transferred to a graph and then to an application that Rope It golfers will have access too. The app will be able to simulate the flight path, how far the ball would have gone and other determinants so that the user will have the most accurate knowledge in real-time of how the golf ball was hit.
Rope It Pro and the Engineering Department are still in collaboration to further develop the technology and plan to have a prototype by the end of the summer. If everything remains on schedule, Rope It Pro will be available to users by next season. In the meantime, Rope It Pro will potentially be introduced on Kickstarter.com to help raise funding for the project. Kickstarter.com has amassed great success by allowing innovative thinkers to post their idea or project on the site and if people like the idea, they can pledge money to make this happen. We are confident that our product has the potential to greatly benefit golfers worldwide and having this type of support will help to make Rope It Pro a reality.
Look out for an exclusive event featuring the Rope It Pro on the North Green on (date/time) where students and faculty will be able to test out the device and win tons of free prizes and giveaways!