Tees and Tech: How Simulators and Topgolf Are Changing the Game

Nov 9, 2016

Tees and Tech: How Simulators and Topgolf Are Changing the Game
Golf Academy of America students visit Topgolf in Phoenix, Arizona.

The rise of social media and “smart” tech have collectively revolutionized many aspects of our lives — both how we work and how we play.

On the “play” side lies golf. Despite its traditional roots, golf has also seen its share of technological advances in the last 20 years. Innovation has gathered such pace that people are beginning to expand their views. A golf experience is no longer necessarily confined to a simple round of golf. And much of the golf industry has welcomed technological advances in the game with open arms as a way to expand the golf business and make it more accessible than ever before.

Simulators — Bringing the Course Indoors

They’ve been around for a while, but in the last five to 10 years, golf simulator offerings have exploded to the point where they’re no longer regarded as novelties. They’re now standard parts of the golf experience for many people. If you’ve seen a tour of a professional golfer’s house, chances are they have a simulator in their basement. Many warm-season golf clubs are installing simulators in their clubhouses so that players can satisfy their mid-winter golf cravings in the comfort of the indoors. Some companies, like OptiShot, have developed consumer-friendly simulator systems so that die-hard golfers can play computerized versions of the world’s most famous golf courses for just a few hundred dollars compared to full simulator systems that can cost upwards of $30,000.

Simulator technologies have advanced to the point that players can experience pinpoint accuracy and living 3D graphics from the comfort of home. With the growth of simulator technology in the golf industry, students like those at Golf Academy of America can learn the ins and outs of the leading technologies changing the game, and develop the ability to fully utilize them in their own golf careers.

Topgolf and the Driving Range of the Future

If watching the full flight of a real golf ball is important to you, then your local, tired-looking old driving range is no longer the only option. New outdoor facilities are being built with a measure of fun and excitement in mind, and they’re sprouting up everywhere. The driving range is no longer just a practice facility, it’s an entertainment complex.

Take Topgolf, one of the biggest recent success stories in the golf industry. This driving range/bar/nightclub concept has been a hit pretty much everywhere it’s opened, and the company continues to open new facilities in exciting locations across the country. One of those is a behemoth in Las Vegas with four levels (most Topgolf locations have two) and a swimming pool among its over-the-top amenities. At Topgolf, players can take the usual round of practice to the next level with ball tracking technology, entertaining targets on the range, and computer systems to set up competitions with your buddies. While Golf Academy of America students routinely visit some of the finest courses in each of our campus cities, students at our Orlando, Dallas and Phoenix campuses have been known to take group trips to Topgolf locations near campus to experience this latest wave of change to the golf industry.

While these may just be a small sampling of the technological advances changing the game, it’s plenty of evidence that shows how the continued growth of the industry will hinge on the use of technology. Workers in the industry have to remain nimble and adapt to the changes technology brings to the table. At Golf Academy of America, students learn and train in the use of golf technology to make a difference in the golf industry and their future careers.

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