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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, 07:04 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 07-21-2014, 10:07 PM   #46
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I'm sure Hamas could come up with a million other examples... but I was thinking about really famous difficult holes, like hole 13 at the Masters.

http://www.masters.com/en_US/course/holes/hole13.html

You can watch the flyover video on that page. You'd have to hit a draw shot about 500 yards around the trees that also cleared the creek in front of the green. Maybe a robot could figure out a way to bounce it onto the green? I think a robot would destroy a lot of par 3's, but a hole like this could be interesting.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:08 PM   #47
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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The hardest part for the machine would be the intricacies of the game. How does it calculate for a spike mark in the line of the putt? How does it account for a mudball in the middle of the fairway? How can it judge what lie will produce a flyer and which one won't?

For example, if you took a hole like 18 at Hoylake yesterday, there isn't a way to stop the ball within 10 feet of the hole without a tremendous amount of luck because you are hitting into a pin tucked behind a front bunker with a hard landing area. A slight variation in the hook spin necessary to get the ball close could just as easily cause it to dive in the front bunker.

12 at Augusta is completely random. The wind patterns are, literally, chaotic. You have to pick a club and hope.

If the machine doesn't hole out with an approach shot (randomness) and plays no driveable par 4's, then the lowest it could score on a Par 72 course even if it one-putted every green would be 50. Assuming it drives half the par fours on the course, then the best it could score with all one-putts would be a 45. Bring in further randomness of putting and green conditions into the fray and that number creeps up by another handful of shots.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:14 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk13 View Post
I'm sure Hamas could come up with a million other examples... but I was thinking about really famous difficult holes, like hole 13 at the Masters.

http://www.masters.com/en_US/course/holes/hole13.html

You can watch the flyover video on that page. You'd have to hit a draw shot about 500 yards around the trees that also cleared the creek in front of the green. Maybe a robot could figure out a way to bounce it onto the green? I think a robot would destroy a lot of par 3's, but a hole like this could be interesting.
That would be 3 strokes for a robot, realistically.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:41 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins View Post
The hardest part for the machine would be the intricacies of the game. How does it calculate for a spike mark in the line of the putt? How does it account for a mudball in the middle of the fairway? How can it judge what lie will produce a flyer and which one won't?

For example, if you took a hole like 18 at Hoylake yesterday, there isn't a way to stop the ball within 10 feet of the hole without a tremendous amount of luck because you are hitting into a pin tucked behind a front bunker with a hard landing area. A slight variation in the hook spin necessary to get the ball close could just as easily cause it to dive in the front bunker.

12 at Augusta is completely random. The wind patterns are, literally, chaotic. You have to pick a club and hope.

If the machine doesn't hole out with an approach shot (randomness) and plays no driveable par 4's, then the lowest it could score on a Par 72 course even if it one-putted every green would be 50. Assuming it drives half the par fours on the course, then the best it could score with all one-putts would be a 45. Bring in further randomness of putting and green conditions into the fray and that number creeps up by another handful of shots.
These guys are basically presuming that off the tee, the robot will probably get within a few yards of the pin, which would eliminate most of these complications.

I don't think it will, and comparisons to tanks or mortars are not good ones. There's a huge difference between swinging a club at a ball on the ground and firing a shot through a precisely-rifled barrel.

The swing and the contact introduce a lot of random complexity. Even when you eventually get to the green, its not going to one-putt everything. This isn't going to be a perfectly-solved mini golf hole in an indoor control setting, the robot has to eyeball an unfamiliar green and give its best putt.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:38 AM   #50
MagicHef MagicHef is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alnorth View Post
These guys are basically presuming that off the tee, the robot will probably get within a few yards of the pin, which would eliminate most of these complications.

I don't think it will, and comparisons to tanks or mortars are not good ones. There's a huge difference between swinging a club at a ball on the ground and firing a shot through a precisely-rifled barrel.

The swing and the contact introduce a lot of random complexity. Even when you eventually get to the green, its not going to one-putt everything. This isn't going to be a perfectly-solved mini golf hole in an indoor control setting, the robot has to eyeball an unfamiliar green and give its best putt.
No it doesn't, especially off the tee. This would be an extremely repeatable process, with an effect (trajectory, velocity, rotation) as easily known as a fired shell, given that the robot will know the input club, head speed, and angle of impact. The robot would basically have a perfect drive every time.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:47 AM   #51
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Hell no! Balls bounce in funny ways and there's no way to systematically determine the roll of the green. Rory McElroy would beat a machine 9 times out of 10.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:02 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MahiMike View Post
Hell no! Balls bounce in funny ways and there's no way to systematically determine the roll of the green. Rory McElroy would beat a machine 9 times out of 10.
I agree with magichef's assertion that the machine will be a nearly perfect driver, though. I think the key to the whole machine thing is the drive, because it's got the least variability. I think you can make a machine that drives perfectly, and then with the random variations in wind and stuff it'll be taking on short putts that have less variability. I think that if America put their minds on it like we did with the moon landings, we could build a machine that beats Rory McIlroy 9 times out of 10.
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