For a game that places such a high premium on tradition, golf is also embracing technology in a big way, and more and more golf courses and resorts are becoming tech-forward.
Golf's tech revolution has an impact on just about every element of the golf experience, starting on the range and carrying through your entire round.
Technology on the Range
The deepest penetration of high-tech systems at golf resorts is in teaching centers. Many resort-goers are looking for an all-around experience when taking a golf vacation, so many resorts have expanded the teaching services they provide beyond the old-school model of “driving range with a teaching pro and assistant pro” to well-equipped, full-service learning centers with all the latest gear.
One resort which has fully embraced the new “learning center” model, opening a state-of-the-art facility just over two years ago, is Pebble Beach Golf Links. While a traditional property in many ways – offering caddies and allowing carts on only cart paths but no push carts – Pebble Beach has a fully modern, up-to-date golf academywith a 3,000-square-foot golf learning center, three separate instruction studios with and a staff that is headed up by world-renowned instructor Laird Small. The learning technologies found here include the RoboGolfPro robotic swing trainer, FlightScope launch Mmonitors, Advanced Motion Measurement (AMM) 3D swing analysis and V1 Video swing analysis.
Some other resorts around the country whose learning centers are equipped with advanced golf technology include Crystal Springs Resort in New Jersey, whose golf academy boasts TrackMan Combine radar technology, video swing analysis and Swing Catalyst Balance Plate swing sensor technology.
If you are interested in finding a facility or resort near you which features Trackman technology, their website has a locator feature which will help you track one down (no pun intended).
Tech on the course
In-cart GPS was just the beginning and has become almost passé. Nowadays, you'll find advanced tech like club- and shot-tracking radar, sensor plates and video analysis systems in the teaching bays, as well the latest transportation options out on the course.
Course operators who are looking to attract tech-savvy players are stretching out a bit further to pull in that crowd. Among of the latest innovations that are springing up are new, fun, high-tech ways to get around the course like the GolfBoard, Segway personal transporters and Golf Bikes.
Kierland Golf Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., is one of the tech-savvy resorts which is offering these new golf transportation mediums, and the folks at GolfBoard have a directory on their website listing over 200 courses where the GolfBoard is available in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Another skateboard/surfboard-type golf transport device being offered on courses is the Golf Skate Caddy, equipped with four fat tires and a host of accessories including a cooler, USB port and more.
The Golf Bike website also offers a directory of courses where these specially-designed, fat-tired, rack-equipped bikes are offered, along with statistics on the improvements in pace of play, and info on calories burned when riding the Golf Bike compared to walking or riding in a cart. Courses where the Golf Bike is in use can be found across the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Panama, South Africa and Argentina.
The proliferation of in-cart GPS has also meant that some courses provide wi-fi coverage over 100 percent of the property – mostly for their own use, enabling cart-tracking and communication with on-course employees, but also enabling to players to connect to on-property wi-fi while on the course. This is still a rare option at this point, but look for it to catch on over time.
Embracing new technology while staying true to the traditional values of the game is what it’s all about at the more forward-thinking, tech-savvy golf resorts, and it doesn’t take much looking to find a course that offers the coolest new gadgets to add some tech to the tradition of golf.
This article is brought to you by 18Birdies, a free mobile golf app designed to make the game more social and fun. Features include GPS+ that is powered by Google Maps, digital scoring, side-game bet tracking, social Feed, stat keeping and more! 18Birdies is available via iTunes and Android. See how 18Birdies is reimagining golf by visiting our blog!
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