September 22nd 2023

Smart Golf: Machine Learning in Golf

Presentation of the "Smart Golf" project illustrates the use of artificial intelligence in sports

On September 7, 2023, Yannic Heyer presented a fascinating project: As part of a pioneering collaboration between the Motum Human Performance Institute and the MCI, the "Smart Golf Club" project was launched. This technical proof-of-concept study, funded by Tyrol, is dedicated to the in-depth analysis of shot-specific performance parameters in golf using IMU sensor technology and processing through advanced machine-learning algorithms.

Golf is characterized by its significant demand for precision, which requires excellent interaction between athletes and sports equipment. The number of shots needed is crucial for a successful result. A key parameter here is the optimal point of impact between the golf ball and the golf club head. A deviation from this "sweet spot" does not only reduce the distance of the shot, but can also cause directional deviations. Existing analysing methods used to train this parameter and quantify progress often tend to be either extremely precise and static or inaccurate and dynamic. The aim  was to combine the advantages of both systems and enable accurate mobile measurements using IMU sensor technology and machine learning (ML) algorithms. Within this technical proof-of-concept study, it was possible to develop an ML architecture that allows the classification of the collision point with a high degree of accuracy.

This project provides fundamental insights into golf and stroke analysis. In the future, significant benefits can be generated by expanding the analysis offer, giving athletes data-based feedback on stroke-specific performance parameters. The project shows promising engineering results and the success of an ongoing collaboration between MOTUM and the MCI.


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