Drive Shack is a new entrant in the hybrid experience of golf+video gaming+dining and drinking. It’s a 3-tiered, climate-controlled driving range with 90 hitting bays with interactive video range games, lounge seating served by attentive waitstaff, 2 fully equipped restaurants/sports bars – one with patio seating, firepits and occasional live music, an unlimited free play game room, and plenty of meeting space for private parties and corporate events. Drive Shack has something to appeal to families, date-nighters, guys and gals’ nights out, and vacationers, and hosts fun social leagues, clinics and one-on-one instruction. They are also home to some college and NFL football fan clubs for big screen fun on weekends.
Those who have visited Top Golf will see the similarities in Drive Shack. The look and feel of Drive Shack are quite similar; however, there are a few differences. Drive Shack does not use electronic chips in the golf balls to determine distance, height, ball speed and other data that interacts with the various video games. Rather, each bay is equipped with cameras – like those in indoor simulators – to provide similar feedback. This allows Drive Shack’s automatic ball delivery system to be somewhat faster. Both offer variable, hourly rates for bay use, have standard, in-bay clubs and have women’s, kids and left-handed clubs available upon request. (Premium clubs are also offered as an upgrade.) Both offer an array of fun range games; however, Drive Shack can challenge golfers on several virtual courses as well. And here’s the best part – if you hit the virtual green, it’s an automatic 2 putt. If you are within 10 feet, it’s even better – a 1 putt! And this prompted my host, General Manager Jeremy Jones to exclaim “There are no 3 putts at Drive Shack!”
But I believe the real differentiator for Drive Shack is the RoboGolfPro and Golf Pro Steve Miller. RoboGolfPro is a revolutionary robotic swing training system that allows golfers to feel their ideal swing and instantly move towards improving one’s game. In the deft hands of Steve Miller, the robotic device and exclusive software develop an “ideal” swing based on an individual’s height, flexibility, and skill level. The concept behind the RoboGolfPro is to have the robot move you – slowly at first – through your ideal swing. This enhances what an instructor may be saying (“hands higher”, “rotate your forearms”, etc.) by having your body move through the entire swing and having the initial ‘muscle memory’ take place. Steve also effectively used video to compare my existing swing to the ideal one, to show me the similarities of my ideal swing positions to those of PGA Tour pros, and to pinpoint areas where additional drills will be helpful.
Steve also had me quickly back on the RoboGolfPro to test some of those drills by reprograming my ideal swing at 2 points in the swing where exaggerating the movement would speed my learning. He advised that in a 2-hour session, the student would go through this process several times – from the RoboGolfPro to the range – to ‘lock in’ the desired movements. And, if desired, the sessions on the RoboGolfPro can be saved, so subsequent sessions pick up where the last one left off.
So, what about the results? In my case (60’s golfer with a 15 handicap), the key changes by RoboGolfPro to make a fuller turn and to get more shaft lean prior to impact – also by turning my shoulders more. As I moved from the machine to the range during my 45-minute session, my 7 irons flew higher and with a slight draw as compared to my ‘before’ results. I am more than encouraged by this; I’m excited.
Over the last few years, I have evaluated several training aids. Some worked; others, not so much. In most cases, the training aid’s aim was to ingrain a movement or a feeling that could then be translated into a swing and judged by a result. I have also taken trial lessons from several instructors. Again, some more effective than others. In both cases, the variable is the result. Was it caused by the training aid or the instructor? Or by my ‘old’ habit with my ‘old’ swing with a “lucky” result?
With RoboGolfPro in Steve’s capable hands, I finally see the possibility to really increment toward an ideal swing. RoboGolfPro Designer Scot W.R. Nei, one of the most respected instructors worldwide put it this way: “It’s not about how many balls you hit; if that were the case, then everyone would be a great golfer. It’s about perfect repetition, and that’s what you get with RoboGolfPro.”
Drive Shack is located at 7285 Corner Drive (exit Lake Nona Blvd. off FL-417) in Lake Nona’s vibrant Sports and Performance District, DriveShack Orlando is open Sunday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. For more information about Drive Shack and the RoboGolfPro experiences, visit driveshack.com.
The RoboGolfPro Robotic Golf Swing Trainer was developed by tour player, equipment designer and instructor, Scot W.R. Nei. The robot-like arms on the RoboGolfPro take students through the motion of their perfect swing, creating the “aha moment” by combining the feel and understanding of what the swing should be. PGA TOUR professionals Vaughn Taylor, David Toms and Bryson DeChambeau are RoboGolfPro owners. Taylor, while working with Scot W.R. Nei and the RoboGolfPro, won the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.