Johnny 5 Iron is Alive: Raspberry Pi Golf Robot Selects Club and Launches it

Nick O'Hara's golf robot
(Image credit: Nick O'Hara)

Looking somewhat like a mediaeval Chinese weapon of war but only half as dangerous, this Raspberry Pi (opens in new tab)-powered golf cart, created by Nick O'Hara (opens in new tab) and shared on the Raspberry Pi blog (opens in new tab),  turns the world’s most boring sport into something more exciting as it launches clubs at you based on your position and the conditions.

Just like a real caddy, but without the need to buy it a beer or engage in conversation afterwards, the robot golf bag knows where you are on the course, what the wind is like, and whether you’re playing uphill. It then can recommend a club, before firing it out of its revolver-like cylinder with a puff of compressed air. You might even catch it, if you’re standing in the right place.

The Raspberry Pi, which is running some custom software as you might expect, also allows voice recognition, so your friends can be entertained by the sight of you shouting commands at a collection of pipes before it fires a golf club at your head. The rest of the robot consists of an air compressor, batteries, and plenty of wiring, including a Raspberry Pi 4 connected to an Arduino Uno style board. Also present is a protoboard full of MOSFETs that are likely used as a means to interface the Pi to the higher voltage motor controllers. The clubs have a special attachment to allow them to sit firmly in their tubes, and not knock together or tangle when fired. 

Nick O'Hara's golf robot

(Image credit: Nick O'Hara)

In an entertaining video available on O’Hara’s YouTube channel (opens in new tab), the maker flew the bot to England so professional golfer Rick Shiels could try it out. Sadly, poor weather prevented the trio from trundling across 18 holes, and they were forced to take solace in a driving range.

Despite surely qualifying as one of the best Raspberry Pi projects (opens in new tab), the question of what happens if you fill the robot’s launch tubes with golf balls and call its mama a snow-blower remains unanswered at the time of writing.

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.