Golf Robot Chips Balls Into Washing Machines, Talks Smack to Rory McIlroy

In a new ad for the European Tour, professional golfer, Rory McIlroy, goes head to head with a golf robot to see who can chip more balls into washing machines down range. First it was factory jobs, then chess, call centers, Jeopardy—and now, golf. Is there anything humans can do that robots can’t?

The bot shows off a flawlessly repeating swing, effortlessly knocks balls into the machines, and talks trash like a pro. Of course, McIlroy doesn’t do too shabby himself. This is an ad for human athletes after all.

The robot is made by Golf Laboratories to test and compare golf clubs. An operator can dial in club speed and arm speed, torque and acceleration, even wrist position. With the swing’s variables tightly controlled and repeatable to within 0.00002″, operators can program a highly accurate trajectory, shape shots like the pros, or, to make things a little more realistic, hit balls off the club’s toe and heel like the rest of us hacks.

Excellent golfer? Check. As for the rest, sadly, this particular robot isn’t the Watson of stand up. All those one-liners were handcrafted by comedian Geoff Norcott. Even so, it’s notable a giant mainstream sporting organization like the European Tour went with the theme—robots are truly on the march.

Image Credit: European Tour/YouTube

Jason Dorrier
Jason Dorrier
Jason is editorial director of Singularity Hub. He researched and wrote about finance and economics before moving on to science and technology. He's curious about pretty much everything, but especially loves learning about and sharing big ideas and advances in artificial intelligence, computing, robotics, biotech, neuroscience, and space.
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