Golf Tech: Changing The Age-Old Game
Sean McGowanJuly 05th, 20174 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
By now, the myth that golf is a dying sport has been all but debunked. Despite an increase in course closures and a decline in ratings, there are several promising metrics that suggest one of the oldest games on Earth is alive and well.
Major golf companies like Callaway and Titleist have been enjoying skyrocketing share prices, with the latter outperforming their IPO to sell 22 million shares. And data shows both millennials and Gen-Zer’s share the previous generation’s love of the sport.
But the most exciting indicator of golf’s health is the continued success of companies in the golf tech industry.
Golf and technology have always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with one another. In an extremely difficult sport where even the tiniest slip in form can equal disaster, golfers turn to bleeding-edge tech to enhance their game any way they can.
So if you’ve got the next hole-in-one idea to break into the golf tech game, here’s a few of the latest and greatest innovations in the sport. Consider it inspiration, market research, or simply motivation for when you’re ready to go through mobile app development yourself, and make your vision a reality.
One of the major players in the golf tech space, Arccos is a game analysis toolkit used to track and collect performance data. Arccos kit includes Bluetooth sensors that attach to each of your clubs and communicate with an iPhone app, monitoring your swing in real time.
Arccos also offers high-fidelity GPS tracking, and can even act as a personal caddy, identifying your strengths and weaknesses and providing club recommendations, or other in-game decision-making advice. It’s a full-scale IoT solution to the problems that plague every golfer, from pee-wee to PGA.
Arccos Driver package (Source)
It’s one of the most comprehensive golf tech toolkits on the market today, and also one of the most popular—Arccos boasts a stacked trophy case, with accolades ranging from Forbes’ Best New Product at the PGA Merch Show, to ING’s Product Ingenuity Award.
Arccos success’ proof that an IoT application in golf isn’t just viable—it’s demanded.
It’s easy to see what tech has done for the game of golf, but a bit less clear when we consider the reverse—what does golf do for tech? On many occasions, golf has provided a platform for tech companies to showcase their latest innovations in a real-world application, even if it’s not directly related to the sport.
FocusBand’s pro golfer roster (Source)
Take FocusBand, a piece of wearable tech that monitors brain activity and communicates with the smartphone via Bluetooth. It claims to help “train the brain” to help its user enter the optimal mental state for different activities, especially ones that require heavy concentration, or must be performed in a high-stress environment.
It wasn’t designed for pro golfers, but that’s who has been embracing this tech—several PGA & LPGA athletes use FocusBand to mitigate the stress and pressure of the sport. They’re looking to up their mental game as much as their physical one.
IBM x The Masters Digital Experience
Players aren’t the only ones benefitting from the prevalence of golf tech. Partnering with IBM, the Masters boasts one of the most comprehensive digital experiences for viewers on all channels, especially mobile.
IBM x Masters smart highlights POC (Source)
The app provides fans with live video, photo galleries, up-to-the-minute news, highlights, and a tracking feature that allows users to view all the players on a hole at any given time. IBM even employed Watson for a speech-to-text feature for VOD captioning.
But the real beauty of the platform lies in its UX design. The app offers both seamless functionality and an aesthetically pleasing interface—users can easily access all of the aforementioned features in a sleek, modern UI.
The 19th Hole
Like most major professional sports, golf has made a lasting mark on the US economy and job market. Forbes estimates that golf generates almost $70B in economic impact in the U.S. annually, and affects nearly two million jobs.
In other words, it’s a lucrative market—and not just for the powerhouse companies I mentioned earlier.
PXG, a startup launched in 2014, has since made serious waves in the golf world with their selection of innovative golf clubs. Last year they posted a run rate of 42 million, and by now have began to seriously disrupt mainstream companies.
So if you’re looking to develop the next piece of technology to revolutionize the game, or see more opportunity for innovation in a sport that’s always looking to upgrade, consider checking out a mobile app development company with some IoT experience.
Golf can be an incredibly frustrating endeavor. But luckily, designing a golf tech app doesn't have to be.