PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA TOUR and TrackMan today announced that they are developing golf’s most advanced club and ball tracking and tracing solution. By combining TrackMan’s state-of-the-art Doppler radar and club and ball tracking technology, TOUR events will have tracking capabilities for every golf shot hit during the season. This will dramatically improve how fans experience the world’s best golfers by providing more detail for TV, OTT and digital platforms.
This agreement will double the tracking capabilities of the ball in motion on the golf course, allowing nearly all shots to be tracked and shared automatically with TV and OTT partners and on TOUR digital platforms such as PGATOUR.COM and the PGA TOUR app. The agreement with TrackMan begins in 2022 for the PGA TOUR LIVE and TOUR digital platforms, while the partnership agreement with national television begins in 2023. This extension will immediately offer improvements to fans such as visualization of the flight paths of ball for incoming shots to the green in TOURCast.
“We are excited to increase the volume and depth of tracking and tracing for every PGA TOUR shot,” said Ken Lovell, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, Golf Technologies. “TrackMan’s sensors will dramatically increase the content available for analysis and initiate the development of new ideas, while giving us the opportunity to develop innovative visualizations for fans to see all of the amazing shots on TOUR.”
Fans will see more information from 2022 on how and why the ball moves and arrives at a certain position. This is achieved by using TrackMan technology to capture club speed, ball speed, curve, landing spin, launch angle, spin rate, spin axis, apex , babywearing and more. Advanced aerodynamic models can also determine the effects of wind, weather and altitude on a shot so fans can understand how a shot was impacted by environmental factors.
In addition to doubling the collection of radar and plotting information, the new system will dramatically increase the range and sensitivity of content that will now be overlaid on video for use on any TOUR media platform.
Klaus Eldrup-Jorgensen, co-founder and CEO of TrackMan, said: “We have worked closely with the PGA TOUR for over 15 years, to accurately measure and report data on club delivery, ball throwing , the flight of the ball and the tracers for the best players in the world. We are proud to have been chosen to implement our new solutions with the PGA TOUR, which will eventually include all shots for all players. The future of golf will be told in new and innovative ways, the fan experience will reach a new level, and the stories of how well these guys have played are just beginning.
The club and ball tracking and tracing solution has become a valuable part of “ShotLink powered by CDW”, the TOUR’s real-time scoring and data collection system. As the TOUR and CDW continue to innovate the acclaimed scoring system that has benefited tournaments, broadcast partners, players and fans in countless ways over the years, the TrackMan system contributes to automated data by allowing ShotLink to automatically fire on shots without input from a person.
The new technology being rolled out extends tee-box tracking capabilities only to shots hit from the fairway and around the green, where the system determines the exact 3D position of the ball at any time during its flight. TrackMan technology has the ability to lock onto a ball that starts behind trees and only becomes visible to radar halfway through its flight. It is able to accurately track bullets up to 400 yards in all conditions; rain, fog, sunrise and sunset.
For a typical TOUR event, around 40 units are placed around the course to track shots with advanced radar and camera units on the tee boxes and greens to capture the final resting position.
TrackMan has also recently developed a mobile system that will be used for capturing radar and fairway plotting information and will automatically integrate with TOUR media platforms, aided by AWS, the TOUR’s official cloud provider. There are no cables or connections to the mobile system, which adds very little burden for the operator. The TOUR is testing the mobile system for extended future use on PGA TOUR Champions, the Korn Ferry Tour and other runs.
The club and ball tracking and tracing system will use AWS Fargate, Media Services, and many other AWS products to process and provide near real-time radar and tracing on every shot. The full suite of AWS products will allow TrackMan to reduce its on-premises footprint and enable quick and easy access to devices and information from anywhere in the world.