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Slightly Deranged Golf

Sony's walking robot, Qrio plays golf in 2004
Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images

Time limit

5 minutes

Control method


Aim of the challenge

Robots will navigate a course, of unknown design, attempting to get a (real) golf ball into a hole. They will make two runs of the course.

Robots are permitted to push or hit the ball, but not to pick it up. The ball should remain in contact with the ground at all times unless a ‘chip shot’ is being attempted.

There will be a number of hazards on the course which must be avoided for a ‘clean’ round. Robots may not enter hazards to recover the ball. If the ball enters the hazard, it will be retrieved by the challenge judge, placed on a recovery spot and play will continue from that point.

“Out of Bounds” (i.e. outside of the course) will be treated as a hazard and the ball replaced to the nearest recovery spot.

Ranking and points

Robots will be timed on their runs and allocated rankings based on the total times, with the penalties below taken into account.

Points will be awarded to the top finishers like so:

  • 1st: 40 points
  • 2nd: 32 points
  • 3rd : 25 points
  • 4th : 18 points
  • 5th : 15 points
  • 6th : 12 points
  • 7th : 10 points
  • 8th : 8 points
  • 9th : 6 points
  • 10th : 4 points
  • 11th : 2 points
  • 12th : 1 point

Additional points:

  • 10 points will be awarded for getting the ball into the ‘cup’.
  • 5 bonus points will be awarded for the avoidance of all hazards.
  • 5 bonus points will be awarded for any ’round of golf’ completed in under 30 seconds.


  • A 20-second penalty will be added to the run time for each hazard encountered by the ball.
  • The robot itself is allowed to (accidentally) enter hazard areas without penalty.
  • A penalty of 150 seconds will be used instead of the run time should the robot fail to get the ball into the hole.