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How technology has impacted top level golf? Technology doesn’t stand still and advances in recent years have seen its influence permeate into even more industries. Smart bulbs light outhouses, smart speakers talk to us and the smartphones in our pockets are a gateway to groceries, holidays, bank accounts, games. The possibilities are endless.
Find Out How Technology Has Impacted Top Level Golf
It’s no surprise therefore that in recent years, technology has found its way into the game of golf with competition in the sector driving companies to constantly innovate. In 2019, total golf equipment sales in the U.S. came to more than $2.3 billion, while in 2020, worldwide revenue for Callaway Golf alone, came to $1.6 billion. As of 2019, the estimated number of golf players in the U.S. was over 24 million, with over 4 million registered golfers in Europe, and those figures are expected to rise as golf continues to grow in popularity.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
One of the most significant tech advances in recent years is the use of artificial intelligence in the manufacture of golf clubs. Callaway created their Mavrik golf clubs using AI to enable them to place the center of gravity in a unique location for every individual iron they produce. This process promotes optimum launch and ball flight throughout the set of clubs, no matter the length or weight of the club.
Improved engineering has seen much lighter materials used in the manufacturing process of golf clubs. These components are far lighter and stronger than those used in clubs just a few years ago. That reduced weight results in improved aerodynamics and faster club speed, resulting in far greater ball distance.
Enhanced testing and computer-aided design have created golf clubs that are perfectly suited to players’ individual games. A far cry from the game’s humble beginnings when clubs were made from wood.
From golf simulators to smartphone apps and slow-motion video analysis, there’s an endless array of software designed to help golfers of all abilities improve their game. These devices enable golfers to maximize practice time by seeing exactly what they need to work on.
Thanks to HD cameras swing speed measurements, and super slow motion, pro golfers can analyze their swings frame by frame and iron out any kinks in their game. A record of their swing can be kept and analyzed throughout the season, allowing them to benchmark performance and throughout the season.
Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open champion, and according to the latest Masters odds, one of the favorites for Augusta, uses a variety of launch monitors at tournaments around the world. From FlightScope’s X3 to GCQuad and Trackman, DeChambeau relies on the data they provide during practice sessions to help understand the course and the effects of swing or equipment changes.
Nobody knows exactly what type of ball was used when golf was invented, but the first recognized balls were made of wood. In 1618, these were eventually replaced by the Featherie Ball, which was a leather pouch stuffed with feathers, and for two centuries they were the standard golf ball used by everyone.
Today’s golf balls are unrecognizable from their predecessors, but they have used technology to improve and enhance their manufacture and performance, thereby increasing player enjoyment too.
Modern balls generally consist of several layers of synthetic materials, usually urethane, which plays softer and gives players more feel and control. The balls vary between two- to five layers, creating a variety of balls that are suitable for all ages and abilities. They also come in colors other than white.
Golf course management
The technology now available to greenkeepers and ground staff allows them to deliver perfect playing conditions for players. New software programs can help improve results by working with the irrigation systems, weather analysis, fertilizer applications, and other data, to maximize course budgets and produce a quality surface for golf.
Golf fans watching on television are also benefitting from the advancement of technology in golf. Toptracer is a software and camera system that traces the exact flight of a golf ball from the moment it leaves the club face, revolutionising the way golf is broadcast.
Viewers would often suffer from watching a white speck disappear into the distance and have no idea where the ball had gone or if it was a good shot. Now, thanks to Toptracer, fans can instantly see the ball speed, apex, curve, carry and final location of each shot. It also allows viewers to marvel at the pro’s skills, highlighting their ability to fade, draw and manufacture shots to suit each hole.
This ability to trace shots instantly on screen from anywhere on the course, especially during key approach shots down the final stretch of a tournament, have helped fans feel closer to the action and enhanced their viewing experience.
As more and more people take up golf and competition in the sector increases, players and fans can look forward to even more technological advances in the future.