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How the Golf World is Embracing Virtual Reality

Technology and sports have always had a close relationship. This started through the screening of live sports on television and has expanded over the years to many different mediums. The latest development to hit the golf course is the introduction of virtual reality. In February 2017 the PGA Tour gave its fans the opportunity to experience one of the world’s most famous holes, the 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, using virtual reality (VR). The official site informs that the videos are shown on Samsung Gear VR and are powered by Oculus.

Golf World is Embracing Virtual Reality

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Fans were able to try four VR videos. The first two allowed the fans to experience one-on-one practice sessions with PGA tour players Patrick Rodgers and Peter Mainnati. The third video gave golf fans the chance to be on the 16th hole with Rickie Fowler while the fourth was a behind-the scenes look at the PGA Tour Live broadcast. The aim of the VR experience is to give fans an immersive PGA experience from their living room while also giving them some pointers to help them improve their own game. It is a chance to feel what it is like to be next to some of the world’s best golfers as they play.

Talk Android reports that the videos were produced by IM360, a company known for 360-degree video capture. Rich Flier, IM360’s spokesperson said, “It was a thrill and an honor to deliver a one-one-a-kind VR experience featuring the world’s top golf pros.” The PGA hopes to expand the VR experience to other courses in the future.

Golf World is Embracing Virtual Reality

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Virtual reality at golf tournaments is just a continuation of creating a better fan experience. Bringing the golf experience into a fan’s home is nothing new and has proven to be popular among players. For example, TruGolf is a professional golf simulator that allows players to hit actual balls at a screen and have the ball continue in a virtual world. The official site states that many golf pros have found these simulations both useful and time efficient compared to practicing on a course.

Recreational golf fans have also been able to indulge in their love of the sport through golf games on the Wii and other platforms. Games such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour is considered to be one of the major reasons for the Wii’s success as it is the closest people who had never played golf could get to playing. Slingo a digital site renowned for classic casino games has also been combining sport and technology through titles such as Centre Court which allows sports fans to use their knowledge of the sport on a different platform. Like the VR at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, fans get to experience the sport from the comfort of their own homes and is a major reason as to why the aforementioned Slingo title has become such a big hit with tennis fans.

VR in golf is taking steps to become a fully immersive experience. In the next few years fans may be able to view live games through a VR headset and get data not available to fans watching on television. For golf fans this presents an exciting opportunity to learn about the game from the best players in the world without leaving the comfort of their own home.