Robots clear up at driving range

Saturday October 6th 2018

Robots at Melville Driving Range

The robot sets off after dropping off its haul of balls

In a first for Scotland, Melville Golf Centre has recruited two new hard-working members of staff, a pair of robots.

One of its new employees, dubbed the Mowbot, quietly spends its life cutting the grass on the range. Whilst the other drives itself around scooping up the range balls and, when it has 300, deposits them at its docking station. It drops them through a special grill where they are automatically rinsed before being fired back to the range where they are given a proper wash.

The high quality Srixon range balls are then available for the golfers from the ball-dispensing machine at the family friendly Golf Centre in Lasswade, two minutes from the Sherrifhall Roundabout.

The automation of the range saves carbon fuels, increases safety, and the reaction of golfers and visitors has been positive.

A wire loop tells the robots when they have reached the edge, at which point they turn around and head off in another random direction. They also recognise when they reach an obstruction as then they stop and turn around. The local seagulls have worked this out too as they will stand in their path and wait for the robots to turn and run away.

With a major £100,000 investment programme underway to turn the centre into the finest practice facility in the region, the robots free up staff for developing the short game facility and for other innovations. The centre has benefited from some Tyne Esk Leasder funding.

Created by Automated Managed Services under the “TrueBot” brand, the robots are the first in Scotland. They are about four feet across and run quietly over the grass.

Alastair Macfarlane, Manager of the Centre, said:

“We recently introduced state-of-the-art LED floodlighting and now we’ve brought in the robots because we want to continue innovating.

“The robots save a huge amount of time and money we can just leave them to it all day without having to worry about the range.

“It means our ground staff can concentrate on developing the PGA coaching bays and the other practice facilities we are bringing to the centre.

“There are wires buried around the range and the robots are programmed to sweep the area inside them.

“The ball collector robot goes most often to the places where the majority of balls land and it can be controlled by text message.”

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