PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.—The PGA Tour and TrackMan have announced that they are expanding the usage of TrackMan’s ball tracking and tracing solution in 2022. By combining TrackMan’s cutting-edge Doppler Radar and club and ball tracking technology, Tour events will have tracing capabilities for nearly every golf shot hit during the season.
This agreement will double previous ball-in-motion tracing capabilities on the golf course, allowing nearly every shot to be traced and automatically shared with television and OTT partners and across Tour digital platforms such as PGATour.COM and the PGA Tour app.
The arrangement with TrackMan begins in 2022 for PGA Tour LIVE and Tour digital platforms, while the domestic television partner agreement begins in 2023.
“We’re excited to increase the volume and depth of tracking and tracing for every shot on the PGA Tour,” said Ken Lovell, PGA Tour senior vice president golf technologies. “TrackMan’s sensors will substantially increase content available for analysis and initiate the development of new insights, while creating the opportunity for us to develop innovative visualizations for fans to view all the incredible shots on Tour.”
The agreement means that fans will see more information beginning in 2022 on how and why the ball moves and arrives at a certain position. This is achieved by using TrackMan technology to capture club speed, ball speed, curve, landing spin, launch angle, spin rate, spin axis, apex, carry and more. The advanced aerodynamic models can also determine the effects of wind, weather, and altitude on a shot so that fans can understand how a shot was impacted by environmental factors, the companies said.
In addition to doubling the collection of radar and tracing information, the new system will substantially increase the range and sensitivity of the content that will now be layered with video for use on any Tour media platform.
Klaus Eldrup-Jorgensen, co-founder and CEO of TrackMan, added that “we have been working closely with the PGA Tour for more than 15 years, to accurately measure and report data on club delivery, ball launch, ball flight, and tracers for the best players in the world. We are proud to be chosen to implement our new solutions with the PGA Tour, which will ultimately include all shots for all players. The future of golf will be told in new and innovative ways, the fan experience will elevate to a new level, and the stories about how good these guys play is just beginning.”
The new technology being deployed expands tracking capabilities from tee boxes only to shots hit from the fairway and around the green, where the system determines the exact 3D position of the ball at any point in its flight. The TrackMan technology has the ability to lock onto a ball that starts behind the trees and only becomes visible to the radar halfway through its flight. It’s able to accurately track balls up to 400 yards in any conditions; rain, fog, sunrise, and sunset.
For a typical Tour event, around 40 units are placed around the course to track shots with advanced radar and camera units on tee boxes and greens to capture final resting position.
TrackMan also recently developed a mobile system that will be used for the capture of radar and tracing information from the fairway and will automatically integrate into Tour media platforms, which is aided by AWS, the Tour’s Official Cloud Provider. There are no cables or connections with the mobile system, which adds very little weight for the operator. The Tour is testing the mobile system for expanded future use on PGA Tour Champions, the Korn Ferry Tour and in other executions.
The club and ball tracking and tracing system will utilize AWS Fargate, Media Services, and numerous other AWS products to process and deliver radar and tracing on every shot in nearly real-time. The full suite of AWS products will allow TrackMan to reduce their onsite footprint and allow fast and easy access to the devices and information from anywhere around the world.
The club and ball tracking and tracing solution has also become a valuable element to “ShotLink powered by CDW,” the Tour’s real-time data collection and scoring system. As the Tour and CDW continue to innovate the acclaimed scoring system that has benefited tournaments, broadcast partners, players and fans, TrackMan system contributes to the automated data collection efforts by allowing ShotLink to auto-trigger on shots without input from a person, the companies said.
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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