PGA Tour delves into augmented reality with new platform

The PGA Tour has furthered its commitment to technical innovation in golf by launching a new augmented reality platform.

The PGA Tour AR app will offer live augmented reality tournament coverage for free to fans around the world on their iPhone and iPad devices, commencing from the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament on Thursday.

Mastercard, which holds a contract as the official payment system of the PGA Tour until 2022 and is also presenting sponsor of the Invitational, has signed up as the official launch partner of the app. It will be provided with exclusive branding within the platform and will showcase the app in fan areas at Bay Hill Club, home of the Invitational.

On featured holes throughout the season, fans will be able to select their favourite player on the golf course, compare shot trails from each round and compare the shots of different players. Starting at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the featured hole is the par-five No. 6, while the par-three seventh hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links will be available for fans to go back and review shot trails from this year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The Players Championship will feature the 16th, 17th and 18th holes live and in AR, and at the season-ending Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club’s No. 18 will be highlighted. The PGA Tour said it plans to add more holes from other tournaments leading up to the Tour Championship and ultimately plans to feature at least one hole at every tournament on the calendar.

An update to the PGA Tour AR app later this year will enable an on-course AR experience where fans at a golf tournament can hold up their device in front of any hole and the technology will display shot trails for selected players live or during a past round of the user’s choosing.

The development of the app in collaboration with Possible Mobile, part of the creative agency Possible, was aided by existing data gathered by ShotLink powered by CDW, the Tour’s longstanding scoring system. 

“This app empowers us to creatively display and share data captured by ShotLink and CDW with fans in an entirely new way,” Devon Fox, PGA Tour director of digital platform innovation, said. “Utilising the biggest AR platform in the world, we can instantly reach millions of new golf fans around the world in an exciting and fun style.”

The Tour added that it is considering several enhancements within the app for fans who attend tournaments to help them locate their favourite venues, merchandise locations and concession stands, or finding their favourite player on the course. 

As the technology progresses, the Tour expects to work with sponsors to display their brands within the app in innovative ways. Possible enhancements include creating custom AR experiences such as displaying branded venues on each hole, video boards that show highlights from the event, or giving fans the opportunity to take full 360-degree views of a product.