PGA TOUR Announces New AR App
The PGA Tour plays at some of the most beautiful courses in the world. Thanks to its latest innovation, the tour has made watching golf feel almost like being there, even if you’re sitting on your couch.
On Monday, the PGA Tour announced a new free AR app called PGA Tour AR, available on all Apple devices.
It will allow fans to engage with ShotLink player data in a totally different way, plus attract new fans that might be interested in the technology first and golf second.
“To be out in the market with this content is cool because we’re taking advantage of a new technology (AR) and we get to show people how great our sport is,” says Rick Anderson, chief media officer of the PGA Tour. “That’s what drives us.”
The release of the PGA Tour AR app marks the first time live sports data has been integrated into ARKit, Apple’s exclusive AR platform. For the first time users will be able to truly see how steep a downhill shot is, the depth a Tour player sees while debating about carrying a water hazard, and more.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality places virtual objects in your physical world.
With ARKit, iPhone and iPad users don’t need any extra hardware in order to take advantage of the stunning graphics and the opportunity to see the depth of some of the Tour’s most iconic golf courses.
The PGA Tour is once again pushing the boundaries at the intersection of sports and digital technology after its live 360 and virtual reality experience from the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this season.
“Augmented Reality is the next stage in bringing our fans closer to seeing the details of the holes that test the best players in the world,” says Scott Gutterman, vice president of PGA Tour digital product and operations.
“It is another way for us to bring fans inside the ropes. We are very excited about the opportunities that AR creates for the sport.”
How It Works
It couldn’t be easier.
Fans of the PGA Tour can download the app via the App Store for free starting March 12, and get into this week’s action from the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando at the start of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Users select a hole and find a horizontal surface like a table or desk and via the app can follow along with the shot trails of their favorite Tour players.
“We’ve been getting really excited about this technology and how it will help us bring great content to our fans, and this technology is particularly cool because it allows us to create an experience for our core fan that’s really unique,” Anderson says.
Data available via ShotLink and CDW is presented to fans of the PGA TOUR in a totally new way, as users are able to see physical characteristics of the golf course unseen on the broadcast – something fans could only get in the past by being at a tournament.
“We’re not just giving people something to look at, but in the context of our sport, we’ve got great data. We don’t just want to show the holes, but how the players perform on those holes. And if we can do it, do it live,” Gutterman says.
“We think we’re pretty far ahead of the AR crowd by using live data in the experience, so we’re pretty excited about what we’re going to be seeing.”
Starting at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the featured hole will be the par-5 6th, while fans can go back to the par-3 7th at Pebble Beach Golf Links to review shot trails from this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The Players Championship will feature TPC Sawgrass’ iconic three-hole closing stretch – including the par-3 17th island green – live and in AR, while at the Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club’s final hole will be highlighted.
The Tour is excitedly planning to add more holes from other tournaments leading up to the Tour Championship, with the ultimate plan to feature at least one hole at every tournament on the schedule.
How To Download The PGA Tour App
1. Open the App Store on your iPhone or iPad by tapping on the App Store icon
2. Type “PGA TOUR AR” into the search bar and tap on the blue “Search” button in the keyboard or by clicking here.
3. When the PGA TOUR AR app appears in the search results, tap on the “GET” button
4. Once the app has finished downloading, tap the app icon to launch the app
5. When the app opens, a series of screens and dialog boxes will appear. When the dialog boxes pop up, tap “OK” to allow the PGA TOUR AR app to access your camera and location
How To Use The App
1. After allowing the PGA TOUR AR app to access your camera and location, a screen that explains how to interact with the hole models will appear. Tap on the blue “CONTINUE” button at the bottom of the screen.
2. Find a flat, horizontal surface to view the hole models in the app.
3. When the blue box appears, tap the screen to lock the blue box in place on the horizontal surface. The hole models will appear in the area marked by the blue box. To choose a new area for the hole models, tap the white circular arrow in the top right corner to restart the surface detection process.
4. A hole model selection slider menu will appear. To view the available holes, swipe your finger left or right. When you find a hole model you want to view, tap the white arrow on the hole model.
5. Once the hole model has finished downloading, it will appear in full color. Tap the hole to place it on the horizontal surface.
6. When the hole model loads, tap the arrow on the “SELECTED PLAYERS” navigation on the bottom left side of the screen. Tap the name of the players you want to view. Their shot trails will appear on the hole model. To turn off a player’s shot trails, tap on the player in the “SELECTED PLAYERS” area of the screen. The model will default to Round 1 but another round may be selected by tapping on the round number.
7. To view a different hole model, simply tap on “Hole Selector” in the top left corner of the screen and choose a new hole model to view. Some holes have unique changes in elevation and the hole models allow you to see them more clearly.