Putting lessons from a vending machine
Would you take putting lessons from a putting machine (and we're not talking about Brad Faxon, either)? Maybe you should. Joe Sery, a mechanical engineer and former Carbite Golf vice president engineering, has an interesting and unique creation he's calling RoboPutt. It is, in the company's own words, "a vending machine for putting lessons."
Sery came up with the idea based on the fact that the best stroke is a repeatable stroke.
"You can only become a better putter if you can repeat the same stroke again and again and again," Sery said from the company's San Diego office. "But no matter what practice putting device you are using, it's not possible to repeat the same stroke again and again. There are too many moving parts."
The RoboPutt's computer assists the golfer in developing a sound mechanical stroke that is recorded on a card equipped with a magnetic strip. The key is that the robot, taking its cue from your recorded stroke, actually then moves the putter for you. "Lessons are between four and five minutes," Sery said. "At the end of the lesson you feel that you have regenerated the some movement maybe 120 times in those four to five minutes."
A lesson will cost about $5 and the magnetic card travels with you, so that if you're at another facility equipped with a RoboPutt you can access another lesson. "They can buy one lesson at a time and it's extremely sophisticated, much more than meets the eye."
The tour player or otherwise well-heeled golf fanatic can buy their own RoboPutt for an outlay of $25,000. Otherwise, the machines are provided gratis to golf shops and academies, which in turn sell lessons.
"We had incredible success at the [PGA Merchandise] Show," Sery said. "Over 120 locations have requested the robot. They get it free. All they have to do is sell lessons. Directors of golf, instructors, teaching pros, they were all amazed."
Sery said he expects tour players eventually to embrace the RoboPutt for its ability to replicate their stroke repeatedly. "My long-term plan is to have a van with two or three RoboPutts on the tour," he said, "so whoever wants to use it can go in a refresh their stroke."
-- John Strege