If you thought that televised gold was just about as technologically advanced as it was ever going to be, itd be understandable, but youd be oh so wrong. The PGA Tour is showcasing a new augmented reality app that will utilize Apples ARKit platform to let users visualize courses and holes in their living rooms and see how the pros stack up against each other. You can select your favorite players and compare their strokes and get details on how long their drives were and where they sank the putt from. In the apps early days, youll just be able to check out a few featured holes inside this app, its not something youll be able to access for every hole. Live AR coverage will be available this week on March 15 for the Arnold Palmer Invitational with the 6th hole getting the AR featured hole treatment. For a sport like golf, a lot of the utility of the organizations apps is for what has been heralded as a second-screen experience, where users look to augment their TV-watching experience with content from their phone. Adding AR capabilities with a PGA Tour app brings an interactive, custom experience that couldnt happen on the TV while allowing users to get more familiar with some of the worlds most iconic courses. AR gives you the ability to bring in the more three-dimensional aspects of a golf course that are hard to really understand when youre just watching on television, PGA Tour CMO Rick Anderson told TechCrunch. For a lot of organizations, one of the biggest barriers to putting their locations into AR is acquiring 3D assets that they can showcase to users. The PGA Tour is in the unique position of already having plenty of laser-scanned models of golf courses that they use for TV animations of gameplay. In the context of this new app, the maps add another way for viewers to understand the geography of a course and particular hole. In the future, the organizations expansive library of 3D course maps will put them into a good place to further capitalize on augmented reality experiences that require an intimate knowledge of the environments that users are in. At the end of the day, this is pretty low-hanging fruit in terms of AR capabilities, but for a sizable organization like the PGA Tour there are a lot of opportunities to build from here. The PGA TOUR AR app is a standalone experience, though the org says that once it gets moving there, the functionality will likely migrate to the main app. The app is available now for free on the App Store.
It can display real-time and archival data for up to four players at once, too. Sports and augmented reality (AR) apps are nothing new. The technology has been used by the NFL, NBA and even German soccer teams to promote their respective leagues, with results varying from the gimmicky to the interesting. Now the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) has its own AR app on iOS that lets you watch real-time shot trails appear on select holes during live competition. You can also compare up to four different players' shots, if that's your thing. PGA Tour AR uses your iPhone camera and iOS 11's ARkit to place a virtual map of six different golf holes onto any flat surface. The app currencly has hole seven from the Pebble Bead Golf Links, hole six at Bay Hill Club and Lodge, TPC Sawgrass' hole 16, 17 and 18 and the 18th hole from the East Lake Golf Club on offer. The data is taken from previous competitors, for now, but you'll be able to watch the real-time competition as it happens starting with the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 15th. The PGA plans to add more holes as time goes on, and hopes to feature one hole from every tournament on this year's PGA tour. So far, all you can do is place a golf course on your coffee table, which seems kind of limited in appeal. However, an update to the app later this year is set to enable on-course AR, where you can hold up your device in front of any hole to see shot data for selected golfers live or from an archive. Other additions may include AR maps to help you find venues, merchandise stands and concessions, or even for finding specific players on a given course. Of course, there's also potential for displaying branded data for each hole, highlight video clips and 360-degree views of various products.