Should you rely on human or robotic club testing data? | Fully Equipped

For the last several years, GOLF’s ClubTest has leaned heavily on human as well as robot testing to glean insights on the latest equipment. As we’ve discussed in the past, both can coexist in the testing space and serve a valuable purpose when trying to ascertain if a club is worth pursuing.

A robot can provide unbiased data — particularly when you’re using the foremost independent source in the industry — that cuts through the noise and delivers meaningful feedback golfers crave. Golfers deliver the club differently, but when you have a robot delivering the club the same way everytime, it makes it easier to highlight the clubs with the fastest ball speed or a pronounced fade bias on a level playing field.

Of course, a robot will struggle to deliver meaningful feedback on characteristics that only a human can pick up on — look, sound, feel. And those are the things that usually close the deal on a club, if we’re being totally honest.

Since ClubTest added robotic testing to the equation, listeners of GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast have reached out to ask if they should weight robot or player testing more heavily during the club search. As co-host Ryan Barath noted on this week’s episode, the data is only part of the selection process.

“You, the consumer, have your money,” Barath said. “And you can spend it how you want. You can pick any brand or club that you want, and put that in your bag. You’re not tied to a single brand by any means. So because you can do that, you can go through and do your own personal testing. This is where consumer testing is so important. But you can use robot data as a base to help start the decision-making process.”

In other words, don’t think robot data is going to solve all your problems. Some clubs may perform well on the robot, but they could produce a sound that’s too loud for your liking or profile that doesn’t fit your eye. Together, robot and player testing can help you narrow down the field of would-be suitors to a manageable number. They’re peanut butter and jelly.

From there it’s up to you to make the final call. With player and robot data at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to pinpoint the best options to test.

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Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at