Golf Science – I, Robot

Golf Science – I, Robot

Golfers have historically liked to take lessons. At first it was the best players who imparted occasional tips to less-skilled golfers. Then it became a profession and some golf teachers acquired all sorts of certifications in order to be considered worthy of the title. Next, with the advent of the internet and YouTube, everyone is a golf teacher, posting anything they feel like, on that ubiquitous video platform. So, in the high-tech times of 2020, would it not be quite apropos to use a robot as one’s teacher? It would certainly offer more precision in its information and, as a side-benefit, greater social-distancing too.

Enter the Gene Parente’s ‘Robot’. There are 50 such robots all over the world and they are not merely designed for the precision-testing required by golf club manufacturers but can be used for anything from a fun kids’ party to a charity event and, most importantly for golfers, to analyze their swings. A talk with Parente, the owner of the Golf Laboratories, reveals that he was merely attending college and studying international relations, when his father, a golf pro, brought home some type of testing machine. And that was when Gene’s career took off in an altogether different direction.

From a golfer’s perspective, swing information is collected and then the robot is programmed to duplicate a golfer’s existing club movements and then it optimizes club delivery conditions to show the golfer’s potential, or what that golfer could achieve with a few swing changes. After that, typically a golfer would work with his/her own coach to make changes based on robot feedback. However, based on an over 30-year involvement in the business, and understanding of what optimizations a golfer can make, Parente offers some words of wisdom. 

For the full swing

The downswing should start with a smooth motion, not the jerk that some golfers often make

It is important to have a more “sweeping” (shallow) type of divot rather than a “digging” (deep) one for greater consistency. That is because when a golfer’s timing is off, the face angle can get changed and also, shots can often be fat or thin.

Hybrids are great clubs for beginners or older golfers as they really help to get the ball into the air far more easily.

The most important movements for the body to make in order for a golfer to optimize the swing is an in-to-out club path, a strong grip, a blocking swing and thus starting the ball on the correct line with the right speed. A “blocking” swing being one which has a strong grip and enhanced lead/lag with reduced wrist rotation through impact. 

For putting

A golfer can only control direction and speed, and the best stroke is a straight back and through pendulum type one.

Every golfer reading this article can thus work on some simple tips to make a swing that will appear more “optimized” when assessed by a robot.