Grid App on Surface Pro 4

Microsoft and PGA TOUR Join Forces to Improve Golf Event Experience

I love the game of golf. I was born into a family that lives and breathes golf, so I have been around the sport since I could walk. I have had the distinct privilege of actually playing the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland–the birthplace of the sport, and I used to attend the Buick Open in Michigan every year.

I don’t get out to play nearly as often as I would like–in fact it’s a rare occurrence these days. I’m eternally optimistic, though, that I will someday find the time to be more involved. When I do, the sport will be significantly better off as both a player and a spectator thanks to advances in technology, and efforts like the new partnership between Microsoft and the PGA TOUR.

The game of golf dates back to 15th-century Scotland. Golf has evolved significantly from its origins hitting a leather ball with a bent stick, and it continues to mature through the use of technology. The PGA TOUR recently partnered with Microsoft to leverage Windows 10 apps and devices to enhance the way PGA events are managed and enjoyed by fans.

There are a lot of moving pieces within the PGA TOUR that all contribute to ensuring a great experience for everyone involved. With 600 players and thousands of employees and volunteers participating in more than 100 tournaments each year, technology can play a pivotal role in streamlining things so the focus can remain where it belongs—on the game itself. I had a chance to speak with Jeremy Korst, General Manager for Windows Marketing at Microsoft, and Steve Evans, SVP and Chief Information Officer of the PGA TOUR about how the two are working together and what that means for the players, event volunteers, and golf fans around the world.

“Fans want to be able to see each drive, approach shot and putt in real-time and compare tournaments,” said Evans in a Microsoft blog post. “Technology plays a key role in making that a reality across any digital device, but using modern day technology doesn’t stop with us providing interesting and fun user experiences. It’s also about using technology like Windows 10 to drive PGA TOUR operations to deliver a better experience for our employees, our players and our fans around the world.”

Some of the new tools developed with Microsoft are being officially unveiled this week at The Players’ Championship tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Korst explained that this is just the beginning of a multi-year partnership between Microsoft and the PGA TOUR. He stressed the organizational complexity it takes to pull off a major PGA event.

The PGA Tour has been on the leading edge of technology adoption for years now. Korst stressed that it’s important to incorporate technology at every level from the back office to the 18th green, and all the way into the living rooms of PGA fans.

There are two custom Universal Windows 10 apps that have been developed to be used by the PGA event volunteers. The Walking Scorer app will run on Lumia handheld devices to improve the way volunteers track and manage player and course info, and the Laser Operator app—which also runs on Lumia handheld devices—will collect data from laser sensors on the greens to give the PGA TOUR two independent sources of data.

There is a third app for event volunteers—the Grid App—being tested as well. The Grid App runs on Surface Pro 4 devices, and will replace the clipboard and paper traditionally used by volunteers to track shot location and zoom in on the precise location where each shot lands. The PGA TOUR expects digitizing the process to reduce the need for a person to manually input where the ball landed and streamline the overall process.

Check out the complete article on Forbes: PGA TOUR Teams Up With Microsoft To Modernize The Game Of Golf.

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