Three generations of the Sarna family, and a few members of the training staff, crowd around the hi-tech golfing simulation machine at the Select Citywalk mall in Saket, New Delhi. The youngest Sarna, Amrita, is poised over a golf ball that sits precariously on a tee pushed into a patch of nylon grass. Her palms are curled around a mighty golf club that is almost as long as the young teenager is tall. She pulls back, waits for a moment, and then uncoils in a flash. The club whizzes through the air before striking the ball.
Tee party: The AboutGolf machine lets you take your pick of classic courses such as the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. TaylorMade
Everyone’s head snaps to the right, where the real ball hits a huge projector screen and falls to the ground, while a digital ball continues to sail through a digital sky before dropping into a narrow digital valley. Immediately, one of the technical staff punches a few keys into a computer keyboard. The projector screen changes instantly from a green valley with smooth-peaked mountains to a spreadsheet with dozens of numbers. There are readings for yardage, spin, ball speed, club speed, maximum height, launch angle and plenty more that the coaching staff read knowledgeably. Romit Bose, her professional golfing coach, begins to tell Amrita how to improve her drive.
This recently installed hi-tech machine made by US company AboutGolf is housed inside a big glass-walled cabin in one corner of the TaylorMade golfing goods store in the mall (the simulation service, however, is managed by another company called G-spot).
“It’s one of the best simulators in the market and authorized by the Professional Golfers’ Association,” explains Bhaskar Samuel, one of TaylorMade’s full-time coaches. “Players can use it for serious work or just for amusement. There are dozens of real-world courses in the computer, including some fantasy ones for children.”
The AutoGolf machine uses sophisticated radar tracking and up to five cameras to capture every aspect of the player’s swing and the ball’s flight. A staff member explains that the technology used in the simulator originated from missile design and tracking systems.
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While amateur or beginner golfers can perhaps just smash a ball or two on the virtual driving range—in air-conditioned comfort—serious players can use the full computational facilities and a coach to work on their swings and even choose the right club.
Amrita, her father Sunny Sarna explains, is doing a little bit of both. She is practising her swing under the watchful eye of her coach—she has a tournament coming up soon in Jakarta. She is also, meanwhile, trying out a few clubs before buying a new driver. “Romit is really tech savvy, so he knows how to use the machine’s readings to improve her game,” explains the father. Grandpa Sarna, meanwhile, is lounging on a sofa, smiling as his granddaughter smashes ball after ball into the screen.
G-spot has a range of packages for users, starting from Rs150 for a 15-minute smash-fest on a driving range, to Rs4,500 for fitting sessions for an entire set of clubs. There are weekly, monthly and quarterly deals available as well. TaylorMade is also running Golf Skool, a set of training programs for beginner, intermediate and advanced players, at the store.
For details, contact Bhaskar Samuel, TaylorMade, S-17, Select Citywalk mall, Saket, at 09311192299.