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View Poll Results: Two-part robot golfer question.
Part 1. Could a machine be designed that scores an 18 at least once in 1,000 games of golf? 2 3.64%
Yes 12 21.82%
No 25 45.45%
I don't know. I just watch golf for the wrecks. 5 9.09%
Part 2. What is the best score that a machine could consistently average in golf? 2 3.64%
18 4 7.27%
19 to 25 5 9.09%
26 to 32 4 7.27%
33 to 39 10 18.18%
40 to 46 7 12.73%
47 to 52 6 10.91%
53 to 59 4 7.27%
60 to 66 1 1.82%
67 to 73 1 1.82%
74 to 80 4 7.27%
Over 80 7 12.73%
I don't know. I just watch golf for the commentating. 3 5.45%
I don't believe in machinery. 4 7.27%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 55. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-20-2014, 08:04 PM  
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What's the lowest score that a machine could get in golf?

I was at a restaurant tonight, and they had some golf match with Mark Rypien, Annika Sorenstam, and some E-List celebrities. I was watching a putt go wide, and thought, "I bet you could design a machine to putt for you."

It then made me start thinking about using a machine for an entire golf game. Could you design a machine that could account for wind, elevation, temperature, length, etc., and score a perfect 18? If so, could a machine do it consistently?

My initial reaction is that, if we can put a rover on Mars we can probably design a machine that could score an 18 in golf. But then again, you have wind gusts and temperature microfluctuations and tiny little twigs blowing on the ground that probably can't be predicted.

I don't think you could design a machine that could hit a hole in one every time. But I bet NASA or DARPA could design a machine that could do something like this consistently on 18 holes: 2 holes in one, 14 2's (one drive, one putt), and 2 3's (one drive, two putts). That would be a 36 over 18 holes.

But I'm not a golfer, so what do I know? What do you think?

Poll to follow after I spend ten minutes studying the lay of the land and making practice polls.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:50 PM   #16
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Well I shot a 45 in Tiger Woods '10 a few times.

Don't remember if it was Sawgrass or not. There was a par 5 in TW99 and you had nothing but scrub and sand about the last 3 holes. If you hit the drive and somehow landed on a little bit of green, you could break out a 4-5 iron and go for the green in two. If you hit a different shot, and bounced off the scrub, your drive would end up on the pin green. On the green in one. Not an easter egg. I don't remember how long for sure, but it had to be a couple of days at least but somehow I made a hole in one on that hole. Took me a few more days but I did it again. Playing that game is a large part of why I believe that a machine can break par consistently.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:01 AM   #17
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The fire control computer on an Abrams can get a "hit" 95% of the time, according to Wikipedia. Whether or not a hit equates to a hole-in-one I do not know.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:10 AM   #18
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Is the machine swinging a golf club or launching a golf ball? That makes a difference. Also, are you applying an arbitrary limit to the clubhead speed the machine can achieve? Does the golf club need to meet USGA limits for COR?

Assuming the machine is using legal equipment, you can only swing a club so fast before impact will crack the face of the driver or break the golf ball.

It also depends on the layout of the course and the weather conditions.

Put the right pins on a course like Pinehurst, and the machine won't break 50. Have it play in severe downwind conditions and holding a green would be nigh impossible on many links courses.

Too many factors to accurately judge, but a back of the napkin calculation would be around 45.
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:57 AM   #19
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There's just so many variables, really. The ball rolls differently due to a million factors. Time of day, wind, humidity, temp, moisture on the green etc. If you're playing a course close to the ocean, you have to take that into account.
If someone really had the time to calculate all that crap, I could see a machine getting twos on every hole. However, swinging a club so it'll hit a ball 500 yards would probably break it.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:09 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Gonzo View Post
There's just so many variables, really. The ball rolls differently due to a million factors. Time of day, wind, humidity, temp, moisture on the green etc. If you're playing a course close to the ocean, you have to take that into account.
If someone really had the time to calculate all that crap, I could see a machine getting twos on every hole. However, swinging a club so it'll hit a ball 500 yards would probably break it.
But Hamas wrote something on a napkin!!
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:46 AM   #21
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First I checked to see if the poll was assuming current technology and AI. After determining that it probably was, this was an easy poll question for me to answer.

A machine could do a lot better in indoor mini golf after having the entire course thoroughly modeled, but outdoors in a random course in real golf?

A lot of you guys are MASSIVELY overestimating our current capabilities. If we could build a robot golfer that could average better than a double bogey, I'd be impressed. I don't think the robot golfer, with our current capability, could even score under 100.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:47 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins View Post
Is the machine swinging a golf club or launching a golf ball? That makes a difference. Also, are you applying an arbitrary limit to the clubhead speed the machine can achieve? Does the golf club need to meet USGA limits for COR?

Assuming the machine is using legal equipment, you can only swing a club so fast before impact will crack the face of the driver or break the golf ball.

It also depends on the layout of the course and the weather conditions.

Put the right pins on a course like Pinehurst, and the machine won't break 50. Have it play in severe downwind conditions and holding a green would be nigh impossible on many links courses.

Too many factors to accurately judge, but a back of the napkin calculation would be around 45.
It has to swing the club or its not golf.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:26 PM   #23
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If it's strictly machine I can see this scenario getting wildly out of control. Does the machine have human assistance at all? And who's the schlub hauling that beast all over a golf course?
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:54 PM   #24
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To help clarify assumptions, let's set the following ground rules:

1. The machine uses current technology.
2. The machine swings a club at the ball.
3. The machine is mobile and can ambulate to the ball at any point on the course.
4. All equipment is current golf technology. Current clubs, current ball, current tee. The machine also sports a natty pair of plaid pants.
5. The machine has no human assistance once turned on. However, it can include any sensors that are currently available - optics, radar, weather, etc.
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:20 PM   #25
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In 1980, we made a tank that could place a shell within 10 meters of a target from 3,000 meters away. The longest drive ever made by a human was 515 yards, which I think a robot could duplicate easily.

If we assume the first drive will travel up to 515 yards, within 11 yards of the intended target, I don't see how a robot would average more than two shots on any par 3 or 4 or three shots on any par 5. I'd say a 40 is the high end of scores expected from a well-designed golfing robot.
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:35 PM   #26
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To help clarify assumptions, let's set the following ground rules:

1. The machine uses current technology.
2. The machine swings a club at the ball.
3. The machine is mobile and can ambulate to the ball at any point on the course.
4. All equipment is current golf technology. Current clubs, current ball, current tee. The machine also sports a natty pair of plaid pants.
5. The machine has no human assistance once turned on. However, it can include any sensors that are currently available - optics, radar, weather, etc.
What does the robot do if the ball rolls into high and difficult grass - or a pot bunker? That's entirely possible even with the best shot. That's where the human brain does thousands of calculations for the next best shot. Are all scenarios for every situation programmed?

If the robot is in a pot bunker the best shot may be backwards. Is the robot's software so refined to make that judgement? On every single pot bunker in the world... or heck, on a course that has 200 pot bunkers?
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:39 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewie View Post
What does the robot do if the ball rolls into high and difficult grass - or a pot bunker? That's entirely possible even with the best shot. That's where the human brain does thousands of calculations for the next best shot. Are all scenarios for every situation programmed?

If the robot is in a pot bunker the best shot may be backwards. Is the robot's software so refined to make that judgement? On every single pot bunker in the world... or heck, on a course that has 200 pot bunkers?
How well can you program the robot?

Personally, I think we have a lot of GPS, optics, data storage, and angle programming available for our use, and there are a finite number of golf courses. I wouldn't think this would be a problem.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:10 PM   #28
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Machine learning would also allow the golf robot to get better over time. It would probably require a crack team several years to optimize the design that fully exploits current technology.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:12 PM   #29
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Machine learning would also allow the golf robot to get better over time. It would probably require a crack team several years to optimize the design that fully exploits current technology.
Once Sandbox is up and running, perhaps we should partner on this.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:14 PM   #30
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I don't know anything about robots and haven't golfed since I was 16, but this sounds like a fun project.
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