England native, Sean Dynes has been designing and perfecting integral testing and teaching tools for golf robotics for the past 25 years. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach, Dynes began a career in the automotive world, specifically in racing, designing and improving parts for a world class racing team. He started his own engineering and consulting company — Dynes Unlimited Products, Inc. in 1991. Shortly after his company invested in machinery to manufacture the sophisticated robotics they were designing. To complement his passion for research and development, Dynes, personally became proficient in all types of fabrication. He also writes and maintains the software that powers the legion of golf robots he has manufactured.
THE DYNES STORY —
Well it was the early 90’s and I’d just graduated from college. I had the honor of working for a gentleman by name of Mr. John Knepp who was the President of a company called Electramotive, Inc. This was my dream job at the time because Electramotive, Inc. was developing motorsport race motors for Nissan. Mr. Knepp had a world championship under his belt beating the goliaths of the time such as Porsche and Jaguar in the highly competitive IMSA program. It felt surreal that I was touching parts that were going on these cars, let alone designing them! Unfortunately the economy took a down turn after we had just relocated to Vista, California. Carlsbad was just a few miles away. I reached out to all the golf club companies in the area looking for development and manufacturing projects. I think the Big Bertha from Callaway was a fairly new product at the time.The company was looking to increase production and there was a specific bottle neck they had identified. I had the pleasure of designing and building the machinery that eliminated this bottle neck and as far as I know the machines are still in operation to this day!
During that same era we also built machinery for TaylorMade Golf and Odyssey Golf. Not long after I unfortunately had to move on from Electramotive, Inc. but landed as the production manager of a machine shop who’s major product was — you guessed it — golf clubs. It was actually during this one year tenure that I met Gene Parente. Gene had his golf club testing business going and would occasionally bring the arm off of the robot to be repaired. Even though I was up to my eye balls with the typical drama that goes with being the production manager of a CNC job shop, I wanted to know more about this “golf robot”. I got to see all the mechanical failures that were occurring before I was even involved in the project. The machinist working on the project also explained to me some of the problems they were trying to overcome. I sensed there was an opportunity for real R&D like with the race car team. R&D is what I loved then, and it’s what I love now. Soon there after I left the machine shop and started Dynes Unlimited Products, Inc.
Within months my path crossed again with Parente but this time I was a free agent selling and marketing my services as I saw fit. His team had been working on an improved version of the spring driven machine which had been the workhorse of his business.They were interested in using a motor to vary the spring tension among other things. I convinced Gene I could design and program a “servo driven” golf robot vs. the spring generations he was working with. The rest, as they say, is history. Some 25+ years and 50 robots later we still have an impressive list of upgrades coming for the robot. One of the aspects of this project that has made it so unique is the speed at which a golf swing occurs. I cut my chops on data analysis with the race car world. Analyzing what goes on during one engine revolution at 8000 rpm requires roughly the same sample rates as golf swing analysis. It is impossible to interpret what is going on during “the event” without real data. In the last few years we have started discovering things about the golf swing — which until now — were a mystery. This has presented new opportunities for R&D — my favorite past time.
You wake up in the morning what’s the driving passion?
I have been blessed with abilities and resources to create and build whatever I can dream up. I always have something in process. Some projects have been on the books for 20 years, some 20 minutes. There’s always something new to learn and I just love applying the knowledge base I have to what is going to happen today!
What was the genesis of the Rob-OT?
I was on vacation and contemplating what I would do when I returned to my workshop in May 2012 I started implementing some of the concepts I’d concocted on vacation. My goal was to build the greatest golfer in the world. I wanted to build a robot that could play a round of golf with just the help of a caddy. Sounds like a lot of fun.
How long did the process take from idea creation to actual product implementation?
About two years. But this was on top of 25 years of industry robot development and the fact that it’s probably been a “pet project” on the back burner since 2000. For instance batteries for electric vehicles such as Tesla and technology from the solar industry were integrated.
What differentiates the Rob-OT from what others have done previously in golf robotics?
I’m actually not aware of any golf robot in the world that has a biomechanical modeling system (BMS)comparable to Rob-OT. I’d be happy to take a look at them though!
Golf is losing players because one of the reasons is that the game is difficult to learn and therefore improve. How does Rob-OT change that dynamic?
Rob-OT is a revolutionary tool giving instructors the ability to capture and quantify the state of a person’s swing thru the Swing Fingerprint. Thru Rob-OT’s Swing Fingerprint Optimization, instructors can select equipment and techniques specific to a set of goals. This leads to an increase in both yardage and consistency, leading to a decrease in both scores and frustration. This is not a computer simulation. Can an instructor duplicate your swing flaws? Now they have a tool that can. Then they can use this tool to try different equipment combinations. For more advanced players they can try different shot shape techniques.
A consumer wants to use your product. How does the process start?
Sign up on website. Thru the website, a person or company can sign up for a Rob-OT experience. We provide private and group Rob-OT experiences. Rob-OT can help an individual with every club in the bag. You get a world ranked instructor along with Rob-OT on that package should you be feel the urge.
What’s the likely costs for using the Rob-OT for consumers?
An individual Swing Fingerprint for one club is $1200. Group and corporate events start at $5000.
Will the company be able measure the results of students on a broader sample size to show that the Rob-OT has made a significant difference in their being able to play the game at a better level?
Absolutely. Thru Rob-OT’s online portal, instructors and students can review the progression of a person’s Swing Fingerprint over time. This includes video and analytics of the student and Rob-OT’s duplication and optimization. The portal will be available via a mobile app so participants can review their experiences from anywhere — even on the golf course.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
Permit manufacturers to use any technology they dare to try. I personally have some concepts for clubs I’m thinking about putting together just to see the potential gains. With the integration of microprocessors and the ability to actually “store energy” in the club head and shaft, a company could build a driver that would seem like science fiction. How fun would that be!
What’s the short and long term challenges facing the company and what steps are you taking to deal with them?
Short and long term challenges relate to staffing. We are in the process of putting together training materials and perhaps a Rob-OT instructors school. The benefits would be twofold: Being able to make educated equipment recommendations for their clients based on real world results that themselves and the client witness. And to Identify the swing characteristics that work for that client and craft lessons accordingly. They will be able to focus their clients on tips and drills specific to their client’s goals and unique Swing Fingerprint.
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