When you think about technology and sports, your mind may be occupied with advancements like goal-line technology in American football, or replays and reviews in tennis. Maybe your thoughts turn to the replay controversies in FIFA. But what about golf?
Earlier in November, Forbes contributor Scott Kramer attended a “Technology in Golf” convention, where he gave a speech about some of the most notable technological advancements in the sport. People liked his presentation, and in a recent post, Kramer shared the points of the speech that people found most interesting.
The Future of GPS
Golf Course GPS devices have been a staple for the techie-swingers for years now. But, like many other technologies, they are evolving. Next step? Wearables. With the increasing acceptance of devices like smartwatches, a more functionally portable version of the golfer’s GPS is ready to make a splash. Kramer notes that conventional battery-operated GPS watches can already hold up for three rounds, but solar powered options that require no recharging are already in the mix.
GPS Meets AR
One of the cooler products that got Kramer excited was a pair of goggles that included an augmented reality component. AR, unlike VR, doesn’t try to create and immerse the user in a virtual world. Instead, it enhances real stimuli— what you see, hear, etc— with computer-generated data and images. Think Pokemon Go, for instance. Remember when a little monster would appear on your desk and you’d have to catch it? Google Glass, the ill-fated AR project from Alphabet, is another example.
The goggles that so enamored Kramer would superimpose data like speed, slope, and course information right onto your field of vision. The accessory was meant for skiers, but a rep from the company hinted at a golfer’s version too.
Perfect on the Green
This particular item might not ever see use in actual competition. It’s more of a practice tool, but it’s still cool nonetheless. It’s an app turns your smartphone into a “green reader”, which uses the phone’s camera to determine your optimal putt.
Virtual reality is also making its way into the golf scene. One computer simulation company is very close to developing a system that involves VR and sensors on golf clubs. Their mission? To make “virtual” gold more accessible— right now it involves going to an enclosure or playing on a massive projection. Kramer imagines a world with golf “theme parks”, where enterprising companies rent out VR equipment.