Watching golf on television today is nothing like it was ten years ago.
The technology and visual experience have changed significantly, making it a much better overall experience.
One of the things that has made golf so much different to watch is the golf ball tracking technology.
Getting the chance to watch the actual ball flight of players’ shots makes it much easier to see how they play the course.
If you are wondering how golf balls are tracked, why this technology is so important, and how it continues to evolve, we have all the answers you need.
How Do They Track Golf Balls On TV?
Golf balls on TV are tracked using a technology called TopTracer.
TopTracer was developed to help amateur players see exactly what a professional does to get the ball into the hole.
The technology continues to grow and expand, tracking things like attack angles, launch, total carry, spin, and more.
The 3D model that TopTracer produces is placed on the screen for golfers to see and learn.
TopTracer is a large company with lots of future endeavors planned.
Let’s look at some of their current technologies and what you can expect from this company.
1. TopTracer Golf Viewing Technology
The main function of the TopTracer Viewing Technology is to enhance the viewing experience for people watching professionals play the game.
It’s worth mentioning that there are still cameramen and women that will follow lead groups in a tournament and track golf shots with a camera.
However, the majority of these cameras are now set up in trees, behind tee boxes, and in other areas around the course to help track the ball flight.
The cameras are highly evolved and can collect an incredible amount of data.
2. All Networks
One of the most interesting things about TopTracer technology is that all major networks use it.
Sometimes you will see networks compete with each other to have their own technology, but TopTracer is considered the best of the best.
NBC, CBS, and Golf Channel all use TopTracer technology to make their golf viewing experience that much better.
When you watch golf broadcasts from years ago, you can see how the ball was followed into the sky and then was lost for a few minutes before it came back down.
Not only was this hard for fans to watch, but it was also hard for camera technicians to keep up with; today, that is no longer necessary.
They would have a big project on their hands if a golf network did not take advantage of TopTracer technology.
3. Stats And Features
The TopTracer technology does not stop at just helping you see the ball flight.
In addition to the viewing of the ball flight, it also provides stats so that everyone can learn and educate themselves.
If you watch a lot of golf, you know that commentators love stats.
They have tons of information about the shot the player hit as well as their history in the game and more.
With TopTracer, you can get information like ball speed, apex, curve, carry, and even more.
These stats are easily achieved because of TopTracer’s ability to track golf balls throughout the course.
Players can be hitting their approach shot to the green or even chipping, and TopTracer technology can track the flight.
We always find this to be incredibly interesting when seeing how much movement the golfers put on a ball.
We know that golfers can hit draws and fades to get the ball near the pin, but TopTracer shows us exactly how far they can move the ball.
4. Driving Range Viewing
One of the more exciting ways that TopTracer is used is on the driving range as professionals are warming up to play.
The driving range is where golfers work on their game and experiment with different shots.
Watching pros as they warm up and then comparing that information to how they played on the course is very interesting.
Whether you are at the event and watching this on a big screen or in the comfort of your own home, having the extra data has, without a doubt, changed the golf experience.
5. TopTracer Driving Range Technology
The television viewing experience is an excellent feature of TopTracer, but it is not where this company draws the line.
In fact, the even larger side of the business has been bringing this impressive technology to amateur players.
Amateur golfers love the ability to track their game and see how their shot shapes are developing, and they can do this at any driving range with TopTracer technology.
The TopTracer driving range technology is seen at all TopGolf locations and hundreds of other driving ranges throughout the United States.
Here is what players can expect from this impressive technology at the driving range.
6. TopTracer App
Potentially the most important piece of technology in this system is the TopTracer App.
With the app, you can create a profile and start to track and manage your golf game.
The app allows you to keep your golf swing information from previous sessions and see how your golf game is progressing.
Golf driving ranges with this kind of technology are nothing like the old wire buckets of striped golf balls we used to get at the driving range.
The practice experience is much more involved and makes it easier to get motivated to play better.
Once you download the app, you can access challenges and the greater community of golfers that also used the TopTracer Range app for their practice.
Of course, as with most technology, you can get as involved as you would like; if simply hitting balls is all you want to do, that is certainly an option with the TopTracer Range app.
7. Leaderboard Technology
Golf is a really fun game to play amongst friends, and having a live leaderboard as you play with your buddies will, without a doubt, enhance the experience.
The live leaderboard features of the TopTracer range technology help those trying to organize events, contests, and even virtual competitions.
When you have a leaderboard available to encourage golfers to practice, they almost feel as though they are professionals.
Seeing your name on a monitor feels like you are part of something bigger, and it makes for a fun experience for amateur players.
TopTracer has also developed a series of games that allow you to enhance your skills.
For years professionals have been teaching the importance of setting up your own drills and challenges when you work at the range.
This is something that is made considerably easier using the TopTracer driving range app and technology.
Now you can tap into these games on the monitor at a TopTracer-enabled driving range, or you can even access them on a mobile app.
Of course, this requires access to the TopTracer camera system so that you can track the data, but then you can participate in tournaments and events.
The games are meant to be fun, but there are also global competitions that TopTracer holds to help some of the best golfers in the world compete against each other.
These golfers may not be playing professionally, but they have some incredible ability in these TopTracer skills challenges, and it certainly shows!
9. Driving Range Management
The final piece of the TopTracer driving range technology is a complete driving range management software system.
This is for driving ranges that are ready to make their facility something entirely different and impressive.
With the driving range management system, the operators and owners of the range can know exactly which booths are open and which are occupied.
They can see who is hitting and how much time or how many balls they have left.
The driving range management software allows these golf course business operators to look at things like revenue per booth and other key metrics.
If the range has a limited number of spots available, the technology makes it much easier for those that are waiting to have their own hitting station.
For golfers that have been in the game for twenty years or more, the advancements in golf driving range technology are truly remarkable.
How Do I Find A Driving Range With TopTracer Technology?
TopGolf and TopTracer are part of the same company, and therefore you can rest assured that any TopGolf location is going to be equipped with TopTracer technology.
However, this is not the only place where you can find this type of technology.
Many other locations throughout the United States have decided to bring TopTracer solutions to their driving range.
This is the way that golf practice is headed, and players, even with their own portable launch monitors, still trust and enjoy using the TopTracer technology.
On the TopTracer website, they will give you a map of all of their locations and allow you to search by the location closest to you.
The number of facilities that are bringing this technology to their range is continuing to grow, and the map is constantly changing.
Some smaller practice facilities or teaching schools that have TopTracer may be using it for golf lessons and teaching programs.
For these types of locations, it may be worth calling ahead of time to make sure you can get in and use the system without any trouble.
How Do TV Cameras Follow A Golf Ball?
TV Cameras are able to follow a golf ball to help you see where a golfer has hit a golf ball; however, this does not always work.
If you have been watching golf on television for any length of time, you know that sometimes the golf ball is very hard to see.
Cameramen and women can struggle with losing the ball in the sunlight or the clouds and have a hard time finding it as it makes its way back down to the ground.
Television cameras are more clear, and the operators are even better than they ever have been, but a little help from TopTracer technology can make a difference.
This technology is put into stationary cameras set up around the golf course.
These cameras then track the shot that the player hits and provide quite a bit of data about how the ball is traveling and why it is turning the way it is.
Camera technicians and operators have become even more skilled through the years, but they also have access to so much more technology than they have had in the past.
Groups can now become more of a focus because there are so many other cameras and camera technology solutions installed throughout the golf course.
This frees up the television staff to be sure they are recording the most important action on the course.
Are Cameras Placed On The Golf Course During PGA Tour Events?
When you go to a PGA tour event and even a Korn Ferry tour event, there are cameras located throughout the golf course.
Some of these are on the tee box set up directly behind the players; others will be out on the course in various locations, even in trees or on grandstands.
When the television producers are putting together a broadcast of the event, they can pull from these different cameras to get the best view of the golf course and all that is going on.
Cameras in a PGA Tour event are pretty much everywhere, and that is why it sometimes takes weeks to set up for one of these events.
As the setup is put together, the broadcasters work to ensure that there is coverage throughout the course so that no great shots are missed.
Is Watching Golf On TV Better Than In Person?
Watching golf on television is better than in person for many people because of how much you can see.
When you are in person, you are typically limited to one area of the golf course, and it makes it hard to view more than just one hole.
Some golf course setups allow you to view a tee box and a green, but this is not always the case.
There is, however, an experience factor of going to a live golf event that makes it quite fun.
If you have never been to a professional golf event, it is worth taking the time to go.
Seeing these players hit golf shots in person is completely different than seeing them when they are on television.
Even the sound of the ball coming off the clubface is entirely different and will help you learn more about their games.
If you can go to an event every year and get the experience, that is great.
However, if you are at home watching major championships or FedEx cup finals, you will have a great viewing experience, thanks to TopTracer.
The ability to see what players are doing and get specs and stats about their game is something that has greatly enhanced the world of golf.