TG tries the UK’s first RoboGolfPro to see just how good it is...
Every golf nut wants to rip it like Dustin or swing it like Rory; the only problem is that many of us just don't know how to do it.
Until now, UK golfers have had to rely on feedback from coaches, video analysis or some kind of swing contraption. What would help is actually being able to experience a perfect "on plane" swing first hand, which is what makes RoboGolfPro such an ingenious idea.
In the same way Clark Kent morphs into Superman, RoboGolfPro can help you ditch your clunky swing and replace it with the textbook model.
Unlike other swing plan training aids, RoboGolfPro is the first robotic swing trainer which physically guides your body through the correct path.
"The idea is to build a perfect swing for your height, body weight and flexibility," says Nate Weidner, Director of Instruction and General Manager at FairWeather Golf.
If someone has a major swing fault, we can over-exaggerate a swing motion to get them on plane a lot quicker. Even after a 10 or 15-minute demo, there have been times where we have added 40 yards to some high handicappers with a 7-iron."
Before now, the only certified RoboGolfPro centre in Europe was at Engadin Golf Club
in Switzerland. That all changed when FairWeather Golf – a new indoor golf academy – opened its doors in Camberley, Surrey, in July.
The site is equipped with a fixed RoboGolfPro machine, as well as a second mobile unit which will be touring the UK at European Tour events next year, including
The Open, BMW PGA and British Masters.
The danger is that training aids have a limited shelf life, but early indications suggest RoboGolfPro could revolutionise the whole coaching experience.
Bryson DeChambeau, David Toms, Kevin Na and Mike Weir are all users, while Vaughn Taylor credited his victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February to owning a RoboGolfPro unit.
That's not to say, however, that RoboGolfPro is without its flaws. It's a little clunky to operate and makes R2-D2 look trendy.
But if you want results, it takes less than five minutes to see the beauty in the beast. There's a sense of liberation once you realise what's right and what's wrong.
And even when you try to fall back into old habits, the robot resists and forces you to stick to the new swing until your body becomes accustomed to the new range of motion.
I learned more about my swing in 60 minutes than I had over the past decade. I never realised how low you need to drop your hands to create lag in the downswing, let alone how much you need to engage your lower body.
I have always been reluctant to impart too many swing changes, but I now know what I am doing wrong and, more importantly, how to correct it as well.
For all that and more, it should come as no surprise that the machine costs $150,000. "It's expensive technology," admits Weidner, "but we want several of these academies throughout the UK, each having their own robot.
Sometimes it's difficult to understand and implement a coach's advice, but the robot eliminates the overloading of information. We want everyone to be exposed to RoboGolfPro because it simplifies everything for the better."