For those who love to practice their putting but loathe the drudgery of bending over to retrieve their golf balls, the new RoboCup putting aid aims to make their day.
The RoboCup “ball return robot” fits into any practice green cup or standard-sized cup.
When you sink your putt, the RoboCup lifts the ball and shoots it right back to you—saving you effort and, potentially, back pain.
Does the RoboCup ($49.95) earn its price tag and live up to its promise of comfort and convenience? Following is PutterZone.com’s RoboCup ball return robot review.
The RoboCup was invented by Keith Foley, founder of Fine Tune Golf. The idea for the RoboCup came to Foley while he was watching the Golf Channel’s “Fore Inventors Only.”
Something about one of the inventions on the show triggered Foley’s own light bulb moment. Says Foley: “I realized how convenient it would be to have your practice balls come back to you. It took me awhile to get over the fact that no one had discovered this yet.”
After considerable research and development, Foley unveiled his invention at the 2009 PGA Merchandise Show, where the RoboCup won the title of “Best New Product.”
The RoboCup is the diameter of a standard cup. It fits snugly into a practice green cup, and can also be bused on a deeper regulation cup by inserting three golf balls into the hole for elevation and setting the RoboCup on top of them. When the ball falls into the hole and onto the RoboCup, it settles onto little button, which triggers a lever that catapults the ball back to you.
The RoboCup will return the ball up to 14 feet, depending on green speed. According to Foley, the RobCup has been tested to deliver more than 175,000 putt returns. The required four AA batteries (not included) deliver 12,000 returns. Foley says that the RoboCup has earned numerous fans on the professional circuits, including Arnold Palmer.
The RoboCup comes with an optional “Caddy Cord,” a soft yet weighty cord which can be placed around the hole to funnel missed putts into the RoboCup. The cord costs $14.95, or can be included in a RoboCup bundle for $59.95.
The View from PutterZone.com
I think I’m in love. Robocup, where have you been all my life?
As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time on the practice putting green, which means I spend hours upon hours chasing balls and bending over to retrieve them from the cup. As I get older, however, I get a bit creakier, so I am always happy to find something that can lighten the load on my lower back, not to mention save me some time.
Enter the RoboCup. You putt the ball and—bam!—it shoots it right back to you, just as advertised. What else can I say? It works like a charm: less time retrieving balls, less load on your lower back.
The RoboCup is remarkably easy to use. The design features two notches that enable you to grip the RoboCup with your thumb and forefinger and gently lower it into the hole, at which point you are ready to roll. You can easily change the angle of the ball return—and thus the angle of your incoming putt—by simply twisting the Robocup while it’s still in the hole.
The RoboCup is especially convenient when you are working on your stroke consistency, as it enables you to get into a rhythm while striking the same putt over and over.
Putts that fall short of the hole are all the more maddening when using the RoboCup, because you miss the reward of the ball being returned to you. Since coming up short of the hole is the cardinal sin in most putting situations, the RoboCup reinforces proper distance control by making you retrieve those balls that fail to reach the hole. If you weren’t sufficiently bothered by coming up short before, you will be now.
The velocity of the ball return is just right. It’s fast enough to cover a considerable distance, but it’s not so fast that you can’t stop the ball with your putter head at short distances.
The Robocup comes with a form-fitting zippered case, which fits easily into the pocket of a standard golf bag along with the optional Caddy Cord. The Caddy Cord very helpful in redirecting missed putts into the RoboCup and is pretty much essential if you want to enjoy the full convenience of the RoboCup.
The Bottom Line
The RoboCup is a brilliant invention and a worthy investment for anyone who spends a lot of time on the practice green. In addition to making putting practice more convenient and comfortable, the RoboCup fosters proper distance control and enables to golfer to get into a rewarding rhythm for improved performance.