Sports Editor

RoboGolfPro now at Drive Shack in Lake Nona

If improving your golf swing and its consistency was part of a New Year’s resolution, a new teaching aid featured at Drive Shack in Lake Nona can help.

RoboGolfPro is exactly what it sounds like — a robot that assists in showing golfers a proper golf swing by automating it.

Drive Shack became the 15th North American location to feature the swing training robot, and is available for lessons by appointment.

As a swing trainer, RoboGolfPro allows a player to “feel” what an ideal swing should be, as opposed to a human teaching pro trying to explain it and watching them try to get into the proper swing positions on his or her own.

Steve Miller, Drive Shack’s PGA of America professional, said the best golf shots happen when a player swings with speed on the correct plane — something amateur players and “weekend warriors” don’t do enough, which separates them from professionals whose incomes depend on swinging the golf club on the proper plane to get the ball on target.

It’s one thing to do it, and it’s another thing to repeat it.

“Here’s an example: sign your name, like you do every day, and then go back and trace it,” Miller said. “It’s just like anything you do in repetition in life that you had to learn.”

RoboGolfPro lessons are in two-part blocks, the first is a 75-minute session on the machine, and the next is about an hour follow-up at a later time.

In a quick demonstration I participated in back in December, Miller had me hit a few 7-iron shots, noted a couple quick tips with my stance and grip, then after adjusting the machine to my height and normal stance I stood in, griped the robot’s club … and then hung on for dear life for the first minute or two while RoboGolfPro (Drive Shack hasn’t named it yet) took my hands repeatedly from address to a proper position at the top of the backswing.

Since my golf swing more closely resembles a broken beach chair in a hurricane, the position felt awkward at first.

The lesson then moved from the top of the backswing down to the impact area — the body’s correct position in the all-important moment of hitting the ball — to the follow through.

After about 15 minutes of the robot taking my hands, arms and hips through something closer to “the perfect swing” for my height and build, Miller extricated me from the robot and had me hit another batch of 7-irons with no practice swings.

After spending a fraction of the time I would have been on RoboGolfPro than someone in a full swing lesson, I felt like a grooved valley had been created for my golf swing.

Swing and hit … and success. My shots flew longer and, more importantly for me, straighter.

“When I first tried it, it amazed me as well to feel a slightly different impact position, something I’ve searched for, and multiple repetitions made it so much easier to achieve,” Miller said. “Whether you’re a professional or an amateur trying to understand the game, this is a great piece of equipment to use.”

For those who need visual affirmation to go with physically feeling the swing, a monitor on the robot lets the player see their swing from multiple angles.

This technology isn’t new. In a Golf Channel interview, PGA Tour pro Vaughn Taylor attributed much of his winning the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am — his first Tour win in over a decade — to working with RoboGolfPro.

Drive Shack is located at 7285 Corner Drive, near the State Road 417 interchange at Lake Nona Boulevard. For information go www.driveshack.com/driveshack-academy or call 407-553-8820.