It’s only 20 minutes in, and I’m already laughing. This couldn’t feel more bizarre.
“So he’s actually able to swing a golf club this way?” I ask Scot W.R. Nei, the director of instruction and CEO at Tour Bound Golf Academy.
I’m standing in front of what seems to be a very expensive machine, and I’m swinging awkwardly.
Nei answers, “Yeah, this is the Jim Furyk swing.”
It feels like I’m going to hit myself in the right leg on every follow-through.
So how did I feel what Jim Furyk feels? I visited a robot whose only thought is golf, all day long. No, not Tiger Woods-the Tour Bound Golf Robot. Created by Nei and a German company, the robot makes you swing exactly like Tour players to help you feel the correct golf movements.
Do you come over the top? They can fix that on the robot.
Do you slice it into the next county every time a match is on the line? The robot can take your pain away.
After watching me hit some 7-irons at an adjacent hitting station, Scot led me to the robot. The good news: he liked my swing overall. The bad news: he saw some stuff he could fix, and I was in for a workout.
First, I did some robot reps with a perfectly on-plane swing, the “Rory McIlroy.” Instantly I felt a stronger shoulder turn and an insatiable desire to date a tennis player. Then to challenge me further, Scot took me through a few dozen reps on the Furyk swing, which it turns out is actually a great model for learning, albeit a little exaggerated. What’s especially brilliant about the robot is that it’s completely adjustable-Scot or another certified pro can change the settings to match your height and your individual swing.
Next, we went back to hitting balls and I could already notice a difference. Nei’s mantra is that “feel and real are two different things,” and I saw the wisdom of that myself. In my “old” swing, which I thought was compact, I was waggling the club past parallel like John Daly. My “new” swing, which felt like I stopped my backswing about halfway up, was a perfectly efficient full swing.
Two hours in, I realized that the robot is like a fast-forward button for golf skills and the perfect tool for the digital age: more results in far less time. Scot pulled up clips of my revised swing and compares them side-by-side to Tour players. “Check it out, you look like Sergio now,” Nei declares.
Usually I’d take that as an insult, but in this case I’ll appreciate any resemblance to Garcia’s amazing wrist action. He also shows me how at the top, I’m doing better at keeping the club on plane like Adam Scott.
If you told this 7-handicapper that he’d be swinging like a Tour player in just a few hours, I would’ve been skeptical. And sure, it takes more than one session to make a permanent change, but I’m a believer in what I saw myself.
I’m also a believer because of the other before-and-afters Scot showed me: a guy who, in a few months, goes from literally missing every ball he swings at to challenging his father-in-law, a lifelong golfer; a young woman who’s never played before, and two weeks later is competing in a company outing.
Kubrick gave us HAL. This robot got me a step closer to Hale – Irwin, that is. It’s a game-changing development that every golfer needs to experience.