For most people, spring is heralded by the blooming of flowers, ambivalent weather, or the sudden invasion of bathing suits in clothing stores. For some, it’s something a little more visceral – the distinctive thwack that lets you know a golf ball just got launched down the fairway. It’s the rite of spring that golfers look forward to year after year.
However, the game as we know it is no longer as unchanging as before. Golf might be one of the most tradition-rich sports, but the rapid development of technology has also made it one of the most transformative. The following are some of the ways in which tech is propelling the relaxing pastime into the 21st century.
Apps and Analytics
Is something killing your game? Perhaps it’s those chip shots. Maybe it’s your putting. You can either keep guessing or let game-analyzing apps and sensors let you in on exactly what’s happening when you make your swing. The popular Arccos 360 is one such example of this technology. It includes an array of sensors that you fit onto the ends of your club’s grips.
These small sensors use GPS and a range of other technologies to record your shots before beaming the information to an app on your smartphone. The app can calculate handicaps for approach shots, driving and a range of other metrics, as well as being able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your game.
Launch monitors use radar or camera technology to track and analyze a range of information about your game. This includes a detailed analysis of factors such as launch angle and direction, ball speed, attack angle, swing plane and dozens of additional parameters.
These are not only useful during practice sessions, but also for custom fittings. Unlike many other golf analytics systems, there are some low cost options in the launch monitor market. This makes them a great way to get started with tracking and learning more about the way you play.
High-Tech Golf Balls
There’s a long way between today’s golf balls and the wooden iterations believed to have been used in 14th century Scotland. Since 2009, companies like TaylorMade started bringing five-layer golf ball designs onto the market. These, according to said company, can be hit further and will react to different shot styles for improved performance.
In more recent times, a company known as OnCore introduced something a little “smarter.” Known as the GeniusBall, this ball features a patented design in which the embedded electronics can survive the impact of a golf club. The plan is to implement technologies such as GPS to allow the ball to transmit data such as velocity, height, and location.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Golf isn’t just for the players – it’s also a spectator sport. The live streaming of tournaments has already proven to be a major success. Now, the PGA Tour is taking things up a notch with its new augmented reality app for smartphones. This lets fans view the game in 3D on a number of iconic venues, including Pebble Beach and Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club.
Internet of Things (IoT) Sensors
Most people relate IoT technology to smart devices in the household, but they can also be found in today’s golf games. This includes the game and swing analyzers we touched on earlier, as well as IoT sensors in balls that can even share data on social media. Remote sensors embedded into courses can ensure that they’re kept in peak condition for players.
These are just some of the major ways that tech is changing golf for the better. With the rapid pace of current technological advancement, there’s no telling just what the future holds for the game. In any case, it’s bound to be exciting.