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Ball-less Driving Range

No balls, no worries.
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The presence of golf balls at a driving range adds more nuisances to the activity than benefits. Firstly, ball retrieval contributes to making the 'hiring' of a bucket of balls expensive (about $AU 15 for 100 balls, typically). Furthermore, mis-hits have the potential to cause injury (although this is a small risk). Finally, the act of bending down and placing a ball on the tee takes valuable time, time which could be spent churning through more swings.

Now, virtual driving ranges are certainly not a new thing, but they lack the satisfaction of actually whacking something because there's no resistance against the club between the swing and the follow-through.

What if, as the club approached the tee, infrared sensors were to detect the speed and direction of the swing. Small nozzles then rapidly emerge from the area around the tee and direct jets of air towards the club face, giving the sensation of resistance, as if a golf ball was being belted. Just as rapidly, the nozzles retract back into the ground allowing the club to continue through to the end of the stroke unimpeded.

No balls to hire, no danger to other golfers, no time delay between swings. Your instructor could even stand directly in front of you as you take a simulated stroke, allowing him or her to give you advice from the ball's perspective.

vigilante, Oct 29 2004

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       well this would certainly improve my game. -
dentworth, Oct 29 2004
  

       We could also apply the same logic to warfare . . . I give you: Bullet-less Guns! [-]
contracts, Oct 29 2004
  

       Bulletless guns are a reality on Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting ranges. These ranges offer as deeply unsatisfying an experience as you could imagine.   

       Also, the only good thing about golf is the shoes.
calum, Oct 29 2004
  

       There’s a place around here that has video golf using real balls. You hit the ball into a large screen projection of wherever you’re playing (course selectable). When the ball hits the screen, the direction, speed, spin... are measured and the video ball continues on. There’s a small delay between the ball hitting the screen and the video ball taking over, but overall it’s a very realistic effect.
Shz, Oct 29 2004
  

       whether you use air jets or magnets you won't get the same solid feel as you do when you hit a golf ball. Not to mention that the whole thing would be cost prohibitive-- the balls cost what they do not to pay someone minimum wage to drive around in a golf cart, but to pay for all of the facilities.
brodie, Oct 29 2004
  

       I agree, [brodie]. But the point is that you get an approximation of the sensation, something you don't get at all at a fully computer-generated simulation driving range.
vigilante, Oct 30 2004
  

       Unless you live by [Shz].
brodie, Nov 01 2004
  

       If the ball were attached to an spring-loaded arm pivoted on a vertical post some feet away from the tee, then as well as the ball returning to the tee (by virtue of the spring) there could be some technology to measure and record the strength of the swing, plus whatever else golfers feel the need to record. I would be surprised if such a system does not exist, and wonder in what way the current idea is better.
angel, Nov 01 2004
  

       [angel], that would indeed work very well, but contravenes the title of this idea which is 'ball-less'. Perhaps your suggestion could be posted as an idea in it's own right.   

       [oniony], I'd suggest that a magnetised golf club and a system of magnets arranged to realistically oppose it's motion would be equally complicated.
vigilante, Nov 02 2004
  

       I'll definately give this Manly range a go....thanks for the tip, [UB]. I mostly have a hit at the Victoria Park range, and I couldn't agree more that a real range beats any simulation. In retrospect, I think I should have presented this along the lines of a "better" space-saving range rather than an alternative to a real one.
vigilante, Nov 02 2004
  

       why not just glue the ball to your club
benfrost, Nov 02 2004
  

       When I was first learning, I managed to break off three club heads. Maybe I need a head-less driving range, since it quite dangerous.
But (much) later, I hit a few shots that were so sweet that I thought the club head had come off again. The strangest feeling. I actually ducked each time.
I want to say that some shots feel as though you haven't hit the ball, so perhaps the compressed air system isn't required. Perhaps a "ping" sound instead?
Ling, Nov 02 2004
  

       A sport which hybridizes golf and skeet would be another solution.
bungston, Nov 02 2004
  

       A few people have pointed out that good strokes give minimal recoil or resistance sensation. Having visited the driving range again, I have to agree. Perhaps this needs to be a simulation range only for bad players.   

       Unfortunately, work's keeping me busy this weekend, [UB]. I'll be in Gin Gin until Thursday week.
vigilante, Nov 03 2004
  

       Indeed. The target market (ie. hacks like me) would be almost un-missable with those odds, should the place be aimed at sucky players.
vigilante, Nov 03 2004
  

       //Ball-less Driving Range// widely known to exist - the LPGA.   

       (sorry people, I just got tired of waiting for someone else to post this)
ConsulFlaminicus, Nov 03 2004
  

       [consul] How your mind works! and just for that I am emailing you my golf vacation video.
dentworth, Nov 03 2004
  

       [dentworth],... is that something like Caddyshack with everyone wearing Living Hats?
ConsulFlaminicus, Nov 03 2004
  

       I'll give [Calum] all the ugly golf shoes, and get [manic]'s Speaking Shoes for the ladies, which would tell you if your feet position and weight was correct for the swing. and practice ball-less golf. perfect   

       and no Living hats permitted on the driving range .
dentworth, Nov 03 2004
  
      
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