Local engineers gamify golf sporting experience
South African engineers who helped develop the radio astronomy receiver for the MeerKAT and Square Kilometre Array have turned their expertise towards digitising the world of golf.
Cape Town-based entrepreneur Nick Longleyand his fellow co-founders developed Inrange, a distributed radar system designed to accurately track balls on a golf course.
The intelligent technology platform is designed to enhance the golf experience through gamification and smart tracking. High-resolution big screens are placed in every bay across the golf course, accurately displaying every shot.
The screens are connected to the Inrange mobile iOS app, which uses an advanced system designed to allow golfers to virtually track their progress using data analytics and algorithms.
Inrange is a globally recognised brand that has achieved recognition in golfing establishments in Europe, the UK and US.
The technology has been installed at Greenwich Peninsula Driving Range in London, at Cape Town’s Tygervalley Driving Range and at the Leadbetter Golf Academy World headquarters in Florida, US.
The golfing industry, now a $13.4 billion market, according to the 2019 World Golf Report, has undergone significant shifts in design thinking and player engagement.
Golfing estates and institutions are utilising intelligent technology platforms that enhance the golfing experience, as these have become the definitive marker by which leading clubs are measured, notes Inrange.
“Technology, designed specifically to enhance the golfing experience and improve player capabilities, is now providing players across all ages and abilities with rich insights into their performance,” explains Longley.
“Through Inrange, players can use the data provided by this technology to track how they are playing, identify what they are doing right, and optimise their skills for on-course performance. They have access to information that allows them to refine their skills whether or not they are professional players or people looking to improve their game.”
Inrange forms part of Alphawave, which specialises in the niche field of electromagnetics and ultra-sensitive radio receivers, with over 100 scientists and engineers in the group.
Inrange is the consumer brand for its full driving range solution and mobile/tablet applications.
Inrange says it has spent years designing and building reflector antennas, feed antennas and ultra-sensitive cryogenic receivers for the radio astronomy industry, which led to the company building up a talented team of engineers whose work includes the ultra-powerful radio telescope, the MeerKAT.
The Inrange mobile app, designed specifically for the golf driving ranges, includes numerous gaming challenges, practise sessions and the ability for every player to be scored with the Inrange Range Handicap.
“Leading golf courses and driving ranges want to create purpose-built facilities that cater for the needs of their diverse client base to ensure they stay relevant and that they provide quantified experiences to their members and players. They want the best possible technology that delivers market-leading tracking capabilities but that also allows for them to gamify the experience,” adds Longley.
“Alphawave has been involved with high-tech products in the specialised antenna and radar applications market for more than 20 years,” notes Frans Meyer, CEO of the Alphawave Group.
“Our engineers have showcased how local expertise can drive fundamental innovation and change on the global stage. It also demonstrates how South African skills and capabilities have the potential to revolutionise markets and redefine sporting parameters.”