If you’re a fan of the PGA Tour’s ShotLink
technology and features, you’ll love Game
Golf. Launched in 2014 by John McGuire of
Ireland, Game Golf made a huge splash at
this year’s show with the announcement of
its new partnership with PGA of America
and Golf Channel Academy. And this was
on the heels of numerous PGA and LPGA
Tour players using the device, including
Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk.
Basically, the PGA Tour’s ShotLink
setup, which includes onsite servers, two
trucks and 300 volunteers logging every
shot imaginable, can now be duplicated
through a series of GPS-powered red caps
or “tags” that communicate with the player’s smartphone via Bluetooth. The caps,
designed for whichever club the player
is hitting, are lightweight and unobtrusive and communicate via shot-tracking
motion sensors attached to the player’s belt.
How good is it? LPGA European Tour
player Sophie Walker is using it now.
“They don’t have ShotLink on the tour,
but this does the job,” says McGuire.
Another new Game Golf product is
Coach’s Dashboard, a cloud-based tool
designed for both consumers and PGA
professionals. It’s a place where everything
from strokes gained to shot dispersion
information, such as what’s happening off
the tee and what’s happening as the player
approaches the green, can be shared in
real time with one’s coach or fellow golfers
to stay engaged between rounds.
One of the biggest events at this year’s
PGA Show was the $1 million shoot-out
competition hosted by Korea-based golf
simulator company Golfzon. Known in
Korea as the Starbucks of the golf business, Golfzon produces cutting-edge golf
simulator technology that is used at nearly
5,800 locations in South Korea. For the
record, there are fewer than 1,000 Star-
bucks in South Korea.
Now, the company is making inroads in
the U.S., and January’s shoot-out generated a lot of buzz and activity for the newest systems, which come with 23-foot-
wide curved screens and retail for as much
as $75,000. During each day of the show, a
winning contestant qualified for the final-day shoot-out from 170 yards. Though
nobody won the seven-figure payout, the
packed event was another shining example of how golf is using various means to
stay relevant, especially with millennials.
What impressed avid New Jersey golfer,
women’s golf advocate and author Pat
Roque was Golfzon’s realistic hitting surfaces. Golfzon unveiled three new hitting
mats that mimic the texture of sand shots
and rough and create various uneven fairway lies through an automated system
that can be controlled to match a specific
shot being hit on the big screen.
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