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Korechi Innovations Pik’r set to revolutionize range operations

Original Article by Rick Young, ScoreGolf.com, Oct. 21, 2022

Canadian company, Korechi Innovations, has devised a way to automate range picking.

As important as the driving range is to course owners and golfers worldwide, there is one inescapable reality with respect to its operation: A range needs to be picked. Unlike balls at a bowling alley, those striped, yellow and white balls imprinted with PRACTICE on the side aren’t returned via conveyor belt.

Getting them back into small, medium and large baskets for resale is a rinse-and-repeat process.

From an operational standpoint, that means a minimum wage employee getting into a caged-in, often gas-powered, vehicle multiple times a day to gather balls in gang pickers. It’s a tedious exercise but a necessary one since balls are the primary service a range facility provides golfers.

It can also be expensive. If a driving range is open 12 hours a day and an employee is paid $15 per hour to pick the range, the wages alone can run as high as $180 a day, $1,260 a week, $5,040 a month and $35,280 over a seven-month season. That’s if you can find someone to do the work. Golf in general has been suffering from a significant staffing shortage the past 12 to 24 months.

Add to that the cost of vehicle and gang picker maintenance along with the rising cost of fuel.

Korechi Innovations Inc. has come up with a forward thinking, technology infused alternative: A range specific autonomous robot aptly named Pik’r.

Well known throughout the agricultural robotics space, the Oshawa, Ont., company’s first golf specific product saves on the labour intensive, high fuel cost aspects of range picking by automating the entire process.

Manufactured in Canada, Pik’r runs on lithium batteries; it easily integrates (without modifications) with three- and five-gang ball pickers already in use at most range facilities; and the unit utilizes advanced GPS navigation and advanced automation, allowing it to be operated independently.

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