Although virtual reality has been making its space pretty sleekly in many sports lately, it is still being experimented in golf. Some golf tournaments have been produced in VR but this game comes with more technical hurdles than any other when it comes to VR and AR. As compared to the basketballs and footballs, golf balls are smaller, flight tracking is trickier and golf courses are way too huge to be efficiently covered. One of the most frequently witnessed technical issue in VR experience of golf is resolution.
Despite all hurdles, PGA Tour has taken the initiative to experiment VR experience with its golf games. PGA Tour is introducing virtual reality golf experiences to attract fans and tech savvies. Along with keeping pace with other sports leagues in terms of VR and AR, PGA officials believe in maintaining the uniqueness and charm of VR experiences and not make them need to be special, not just an immersive version of the same old broadcast.
PGA Tour has partnered with Intel Sports Group’s Voke VR unit for this mega task. Intel Sports Group has generated VR technology for NFL and NCAA too. At Intel, VR experiences are customized according to the evolving sports and the customer demands.
PGA Tour tested its virtual reality experience technology with Intel Sports Group in Riviera Country Club, Los Angeles.
According to Scott Gutterman, PGA Tour VP, digital operations, “The trick is creating an experience that people want to have the headset on for more than five minutes. We’d like for people to interact with the stream, if there are stats they want, to choose themselves, slide the leaderboard in and out (of their view).”
Gutterman remarked: “We really like Voke’s stereoscopic cameras; they provide a different level of enhancement we want to capture.”
According to David Aufhauser, managing director, strategy and product, Intel Sports Group, “We think golf is one of the hidden treasures to produce and create experiences in virtual reality. You can create experiences fans just can’t get, even if they’re there. You can bring in stats and data and other visual components that can complement the video part of it.”
Voke VR experience lets the users swap views for different camera angles. It was powered on a Samsung Gear headset and Galaxy G7 phone. Though the new PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan loved the coapny’s VR experience, Gutterman is still uncertain if the PLAYERS Championship will be live streamed in VR in May. He said the VR test was positive and encouraging and no further testing would be required.