• Bob Doyle, President of Forever Better Golf, Inc.

Iron Byron Golf Machine


Iron Byron is the name given to a mechanical robot invented some 50 years ago by George Manning, a Mechanical Engineer working for the True Temper Golf Co. It was designed to test the effect of flexibility in the shaft of a golf club. They are in use today by several golf companies, in various facilities around the U.S., to test other club components and golf balls.

Why does Iron Byron have the perfect golf swing? Because it consistently hits thousands of golf balls, at varying pre-set distances from 100 yards to 325 yards that land no more than six inches to the right or left of the target line. How does Iron Byron do it? Because it has few moving parts that are able to make the same repetitive swing time after time.

Studying the swings of many golfers, and after much analysis, Manning concluded that Byron Nelson had the most repeatable and consistent swing at that time. In acknowledgment to Byron Nelson, the name Iron Byron was given to this mechanical robot.

Unfortunately for all golfers, such repetition and consistency in their golf swings are not quite realistic. Ben Hogan once said that during a typical round of golf, only 10% of his shots were “perfectly hit.” His less than perfect shots rarely got him into difficulty however, which is why he won 64 Tour Events including 9 Majors. In a research study conducted by the United States Golf Teachers Federation, they found that golfers who have played for more than three years have less than a 5% chance of ever lowering their scores by more than 5 strokes. This study has been confirmed by other such studies which found that the average golf scores in North America have not declined during the past 20 years.

Iron Byron golf swing sequence

No doubt that golf is a difficult game. And what makes it even more difficult is that golfers are constantly making changes to their swings based on a lesson given, an article read, a tip given, a video viewed, or any idea they think might help. They are always changing the moving parts rather than minimizing or maintaining their moving parts. Golf is a game of efficiency and consistency. The fewer the moving parts, the more efficient the swing. And like Iron Byron, the more repetitive the swing the more consistent will it be. But the more quick changes a golfer makes to her/his swing, the less repetitive it gets.

There are many aspects to the golf swing but there are two aspects on which few experts will disagree. One is maintaining your spine angle. Iron Byron satisfies this aspect because Manning’s design establishes a constant forward tilt or spine angle. The second aspect is keeping a relatively steady head. Iron Byron has what Jack Nicklaus would call a “rock solid head.” The mechanical robot rotates in a circular motion that resembles the turning of the upper body around a fixed head. Sam Snead says that he “simply swings around a steady head.”

Habit is at the root of human behavior. Such behavior equates to the movements or aspects of one’s golf swing. Because that behavior or movement has been performed for three years or more, it becomes a habit and muscle memory takes over. The movement is performed unconsciously. Such habits and movements are incredibly hard to break, which is why it is so difficult to improve one’s swing and lower one’s scores after having played for three years or more. New habits and new muscle memory can only be gained through repetition of the desired new movements. Since two aspects of the swing are irrefutable and are significant in the design of Iron Byron, why not try to fix your swing by addressing these same two aspects?

Physiologists and sports consultants have found that instant tactile feedback for the desired bodily movement greatly speeds up the gaining of the new habit or new muscle memory or new movement. The brain utilizes the kinesthetic learning of tactile feedback to help develop the new muscle memory.

I am one of those golfers who played for three years; gained a 20 handicap and then struggled with it for much of my life, without improvement. After retiring from Corporate America, I did considerable research about the golf swing. My research included Iron Byron, videos, DVD’s, books, magazine tips, lessons, video analysis, you name it. Most was controvertible, could be misunderstood, or misinterpreted; except for the two irrefutable aspects of the golf swing mentioned above.

By focusing on these two aspects, I invented the PRO-HEAD Trainer and was awarded two US patents. It is far from an Iron Byron, but it does offer the instant tactile feedback needed to maintain one’s spine angle and keep a relatively steady head. Through training and repetition with the device, I learned these two aspects, thereby overcoming two of my major swing faults which are the same for most golfers. At age 69, I finally broke 80 and have done it several times since.

Lou Guzzi, the 2013 National PGA Teacher of the Year said: “Simplicity is the key to a repeatable golf swing. I found that the PRO-HEAD Trainer provides my students the opportunity to break old habits and to build a simple and efficient swing by holding their heads as steady as possible. The Trainer helps them to maintain critical angles when swinging the club.”

Yes you can learn to swing more like Iron Byron and at any age. Contrary to the research, you can improve your golf swing and lower your scores. You can better enjoy the wonderful game of golf.

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