WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Golfers at the Club at Ibis have some new things to brag about with the grand reopening of the practice facility.
Wednesday was the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and members were eager to line up for time on the range. Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam was there. She is a 10-time major winner — 11 times including the U.S. Senior Open. She is widely considered the greatest female golfer of all time.
Sorenstam led a golf clinic with Ibis’ Director of Instruction, Martin Hall, in which she demonstrated the new high-tech features members will enjoy.
“It’s amazing, it really is. Well done,” Sorenstam said of the renovation.
TopTracer said Ibis is the first private club in the state of Florida to use its technology on a range. TopTracer ball-tracking technology is used in golf broadcasts. Now, it will help members compete against each other in games, or track personal performance and accuracy using an app. Regional Director Alex Goodman with TopTracer said its technology is used in 450 facilities in 31 countries.
Sorenstam displayed her skill and accuracy while showcasing how the system works. Aiming for targets at varying distances, a large monitor showed how close she could land a ball. Members were then invited to compete against Sorenstam on a leaderboard.
The practice facility was renovated by Nicklaus Design, the architecture firm that designed the three courses at Ibis. The 18.7 acres will be tended by two robotic mowers and four robotic ball pickers. The robots can learn the habits of golfers at the facility to adjust accordingly to become more efficient. Each picker can retrieve up to 300 balls at a time.
Sorenstam emphasized the importance of using time in a practice facility wisely. She said her warmup lasts 1 hour 15 minutes and allows her to set her brain for time on the course.
Sorenstam also shared her signature tips for being a better golfer. She said she considers the palm of her hand the sixth finger in a grip. In addition, to focus on posture, balance, alignment and a backswing that moves as one unit, she explained the mental game in golf is a key to success.