Soccer team in a huddle

On National Golf Day: Tradition Meets Technology

April 14, 2015 by Ryan Somers 0

If you’re one of the 25 million golfers that played a round last year, you participated in an age old tradition dating back to the 1400s; I hope you enjoyed it.

There’s something majestic about golf isn’t there? Something that makes you feel like no other sport can. Time seems to slow down on the links and what a friendly round lacks in sweat and adrenaline, it replaces with serene views, the enchanting smell of freshly cut grass, and the delight of camaraderie with friends and family.

Golf is the only sport that I can play so poorly, yet still find joy during the entire round. The euphoric feeling that I get from golf, along with those rare feel-good shots completely negates the other 80-90 hacks, and it’s what keeps me coming back… every time.

Golf is Simple to Play but Hard to Master

The simplicity of golf has remained throughout the tests of time – use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course, taking as few strokes as possible. Yet the strategy has and will continue to evolve; these challenging aspects within the game translate to big business.

The top five markets globally, include the U.S., Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, and Canada. It’s become so popular on a global scale that it’ll debut in the 2016 Olympic Games next year. In the U.S. alone, the golf economy has an estimated size of about US $70 billion and $8.7 billion of that is from equipment sales alone.

Us hackers sure need top notch equipment, don’t we? But does it make you any better? Consider this, according to the Men’s USGA Handicap Index, only 1% of all registered players are scratch golfers. That basically means that virtually everyone has room for improvement. But golf is a hard game to master and it requires an abundance of time and money. Some have the money, others have the time but possessing both of these sacred commodities is a rarity for the majority of us. Seeking a competitive advantage – we overspend on equipment in hopes of finding a new set of magic clubs. But as you know, hope is not a strategy…

A Golf Swing Is Complex

And so is the data that you need to analyze for longer shots and a lower score. There are thousands of subtle nuances to the game that keep you from your peak performance. What if you had better clarity toward them? Cutting-edge technology is getting there.

Imagine lining up on the tee and visualizing precise data on the hole…

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Or swinging your way to instant feedback…

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Simple is Precise

SAP has been testing quick prototypes like this to collect complex data, all without interfering with the game. Through the use of high performance Doppler radar technology (no sensors needed) and the Internet of Things (IoT), they’ve even begun showcasing some of the possibilities the showcase demonstrates how the SAP HANA Cloud platform can simplify the way coaches, players, fans, and broadcasters consume the sport:

  • Longest Drive Leaderboard: Intuitively visualizes the flight path of the golf ball and displays the key figures like distance, precision, and efficiency
  • Virtual Caddy On-Demand: During training games, it analyzes things like strokes, club types, even wind conditions. The collected data is used to fill a digital scorecard as the basis for later performance analysis
  • Player Performance Dashboard: helps golfers to visualize, analyze, and improve their game. It examines historical data collected by Longest Drive and Virtual Caddy. The goal is to gain transparency on performance, obtain training tips, document progress, and simulate “what if” scenarios to refine game tactics – like, “What if I had used a different club in a specific game situation?”
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Soon, technology will guide you toward a better score in a much more efficient investment of time and money; probably a reduction of frustration too.

To test this showcase in person, consider attending the Solheim Cup (comparable to the Ryder Cup for women) this September in Germany. It just so happens to start the day before Oktoberfest… coincidence? I think not.Can’t make it? You can still follow the event digitally by downloading the Solheim Cup 2015 mobile app.

By harnessing the power of technology, SAP is determined to overcome complexity in business, our jobs, and our lives. To learn more about how SAP helps companies Run Simple, please click here.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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