Soon, you can get your golf lessons at a vending machine. At least, that's if the guys behind RoboPutt gets their way. A vending machine for putting practice, slipping in five bucks will get you five minutes of guided, computerized lessons.
While that sounds simple, the actual mechanics aren't quite as straightforward as feeding the machine a dollar and getting a Coke. Good putting lessons don't really work like that, after all.
Instead, RoboPutt will need to first record the mechanics of your stroke. To do that, you must attach a small wireless sensor (called DiGi) onto the shaft of your putter and play a few 10-foot putts until you make a shot that you're very happy with. The information compiled from your strokes, along with various personal details and future progress, will then be recorded onto a magnetic card designed to work with the vending machines.
When you do use one of the practice contraptions, simply put in your card, attach your putter via a pull-out lever and start your five-minute lessons. Choices include a variety of strokes to practice, a course of 10 progressive training lessons, and drills recreating your recorded "perfect" shot, among others. Feedback and instructions are provided using a touchscreen display and a pair of wireless headphones. In a way, it's like getting expert advice from a real golf pro at the shop -- with some personalization to boot.
Each lesson is designed to last between four to five minutes, so it's not a time-hog either. No word on actual schedule dates, but the company is planning to roll out the RoboPutt machines to pro shops, golf schools and training facilities where golfers might occasionally want to get some practice time in. They're also willing to sell it to individual users, although it's likely going to cost you some serious greens.