Meet Otto, Bridgestone Golf's autonomous ball-fitting cart
Equipment Featured

Meet Otto, Bridgestone Golf’s autonomous ball-fitting cart



ORLANDO -- At a typical PGA Show, there's a short-length indoor driving range where hacks and pros alike are pounding ball after ball. They're trying out the newest clubs under the watchful eye of manufacturers' reps who are trying to explain the benefits of the equipment while also going through an express fitting.

At the 2022 PGA Show, though, Bridgestone Golf had an OEM monopoly on that range space -- and they took that opportunity to showcase something completely different.

In their hitting bays, Bridgstone didn't have staffers lording over golfers. Instead, they let Otto do all the work. Well, Ottos.

Otto is Bridgstone Golf's new technological innovation. A play on the term autonomous, Otto is an autonomous ball-fitting cart. There are a handful in existence, and more are coming.

“The genesis of the idea for Otto was to bridge the gap between entertainment golf and on-course golf,” said Dan Murphy, President and CEO, Bridgestone Golf. “As the leader in golf ball fitting, we feel a responsibility to make sure players continue to be excited and engaged while also having the ability to choose gear that best suits their game.”

In Otto, Bridgestone has taken they 15 years of ball-fitting experience and boiled it down to an easy-to-use kiosk that can fit a player quickly, make a ball recommendation and give the golfer shareable content for their social feeds.

A goler walks up to Otto, which is typically going to be stationed on a driving range at a demo day. The golfer tells Otto through a touch screen what ball they're using. Then they hit three golf balls in front of Otto -- well, technically to its right -- that are captured by a FlightScope launch monitor. The golfer gets a shot-trail visual and the data for each shot in real-time and sent to their phone. At the end of the three swings, Otto shows the golfer the Bridgestone ball that best fits their game. Operating on a battery, Otto can run all demo day-long.

Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf's Ball Fitting Manager, was excited by the number of ball fittings they did in just a few days in the Orange County Convention Center. The tally surpassed his goals. He also sees a potential future for Otto that could include fitting golfers for Bridgestone Golf clubs just the same as balls. With the company making waves with their Tour B series, though, that's the focus right now.

Rehberg said the company's sales reps are excited to get their hands on an Otto, although the company doesn't yet have a full fleet of them. That's coming in short order.

Things had gotten quiet by late Wednesday afternoon when I got to see Otto in action with Rehberg. Someone working the convention was walking around the floor and found her way to the Bridgestone part of the range. She took a handful of swings-and-misses. A quick tip and a shuffle of her feet later, she was hitting her first golf shots ever. She was ecstatic. Otto was capturing it for her.

Handing her two sleeves of E12 Contact golf balls, Rehberg said, "Welcome to golf!"

About the author

Avatar

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

Ryan occasionally links to merchants of his choosing, and GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.