There’s no denying that to be a great golfer, you need skill. And to develop that skill requires hundreds of hours of dedicated practice. But the impact of technology on golf has changed the game… Even though it remains the same sophisticated sport at its core.
Whether you’re a golfer, a manufacturer, or a fan, the golfing experience has evolved. That’s largely thanks to new technology making its way into every aspect of the game. Here are some of the ways technology is transforming the way we train, play, and even watch golf.
Golfers are always looking for new ways to improve their skill. Technology has developed to the point where it’s a viable training tool that golfers can use to improve their skills faster.
AI-Powered Swing Analysis
Your swing is the fundamental foundation of a good golf game. Smart sensors and AI-powered apps now offer real-time feedback on your swing, including things like shot trajectory, slice, power, swing mechanics, and even club selection.
Smart sensors might not be accessible to all golfers, because they do come at a bit of a price tag. But swing analyzer apps are a dime a dozen, and you can find some excellent free ones to download from your play store.
It’s like having a caddie with you at all times, watching you closely and giving you educated advice on small changes to optimize your swing.
Advanced Golf Simulators and Virtual Reality (VR)
Golf simulators are one of the best new technological advances in the sport. Recreational golfers can play a full round on some of the world’s most legendary courses without even leaving their living room… But they also double up as a valuable training tool.
Swing analysis is built into golf simulators, allowing you to hone your skills any time, even if you’re not physically on the golf course. Virtual reality can also permit golfers to analyze almost any golf course ahead of time, giving them a virtual play-through before they even step onto the first tee box.
Between the detailed analysis, skill training games, and ability to check out any course before playing, simulators and VR are valuable new technologies in the sport.
3D Printing for Customization
When it comes to manufacturing golfing equipment, technology has evolved to the point of customizing golf equipment for various reasons. For professionals, customization can get extremely detailed, down to the weight of the club, the flex in the shaft, and even the texture on the club head.
Aside from specifics to suit each individual golfer (which is expensive and not accessible to the average golfer), manufacturers are using AI and machine learning to make equipment more effective and even more sustainable.
While some golfing tournaments might not allow tech to be used during play, it’s becoming an integral part of how the game is played. Here’s how it can impact your game on the course.
Performance Tracking and Analytics
On-course data can be compared later and used to track your performance over time. Golfing apps store data for easy comparison, so you can track how your swing is improving, for example, by tracking the increase in your drive distance or the improvement in your slice.
Analyzing your performance by studying the stats gives you an excellent overview of how you’re progressing. If your drive distance is increasing, you’re improving. If not, it encourages you to assess why not—which might be found in other data, like your detailed swing analysis.
Tracking your data over time this way helps you to understand what you should be doing at the time to improve. Training to improve isn’t static, so keeping a close eye on your analytics will guide you in the right direction about what you need to put more effort into.
Augmented Reality (AR) Applications
Augmented reality shines on the course, especially with apps like Golfshot on the market and available to anyone. Golfshot’s AR (called GolfScape) uses your phone’s camera for a visual of what’s in front of you, and overlays valuable information so you can see the entire hole, complete with distances and hazards, at a glance.
You’ll have all the data you need before you even take the first swing. You’ll be able to see the distance to the hole, distance to each hazard (even those you can’t see!), and even wind direction, giving you everything you need to play a great hole.
AI and Machine Learning
AI and machine learning are involved in practically every golfing app. But the “learning” part is where things become really interesting—over time, the app learns your playing style, strengths, and weaknesses.
Understanding these things helps you to make smarter decisions about your training, so you’re focusing on the most useful aspects and not wasting time on things you’re already doing well.
As tech progresses, we may see AI offering personalized training programs based on each golfer’s personal data.
Course Design & Management
Even course design and golf course business management benefit from technology. Here’s how it’s changing the landscape (sometimes literally!)
Drones are being used more and more often to give golf course designers a birds-eye view of the landscape they’re dealing with and the course they’re designing. This can be a valuable time-saver, reducing the need for golf course architects to physically traverse landscapes before designing courses.
Some golf courses also use drones to get aerial video footage of each hole, giving viewers a flyover on their website so golfers can decide if they’d like to visit the course or not.
Smart Irrigation Systems
In the quest for sustainability, golf courses are turning to technology to streamline processes. Smart irrigation systems are one of the easiest and most popular sustainability measures to take.
Advanced sensors and analytics help golf course management to optimize water usage, keeping the course beautiful, green, and healthy without wasting. This not only promotes eco-friendliness but can also make a huge financial difference.
Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Technologies
Aside from smart irrigation, other eco-friendly technological advancements include electric golf carts, which reduce carbon emissions; biodegradable golf balls and tees; and the use of solar power in clubhouses.
Aside from how the game is played, the way golf is viewed won’t be unaffected. Through viewing apps and online platforms, fans will be able to engage with real-time stats, course maps, and information about the course or players.
Some broadcasting corporations are aso jumping on the trend and considering ways to make viewing more interactive. Overlaid AR engages the viewer and offers valuable information about the player or course.
Social media integration is already happening, drumming up excitement in online communities with things like giveaways and contests.