Based on your reactions to my previous post about Toptracer Range 100th installation in Europe, I thought to interview Paul Willams, the general manager of Toptracer Europe.
What is the contribution of Toptracer technology to golf tournament fan engagement?
Toptracer technology was first imagined by the company’s founder, Daniel Forsgren, with the idea of radically improving fan engagement.
As we know, one of the most frustrating things about viewing golf on TV was not knowing how the ball was moving during its flight.
Since the inception of Toptracer technology in the television broadcast experience, fans globally have been able to fully enjoy golf shots while also understanding the data behind them.
Over the last 12 months, our TV operation has expanded to give viewers more coverage, with most tournaments having tracing on every hole. This allows fans to see how their favorite players navigate the most challenging holes in golf.
The most incredible and exciting shots regularly get shared on social media by viewers and fans alike and this visual experience provides an additional means of social engagement with friends or fellow golf fans.
Recently we have expanded our fan engagement achieved during golf tournaments to our Toptracer Range business with our first global competition.
The event connected all global users of Toptracer ranges, giving them the chance to compete with other golfers at Toptracer sites around the world, including Tour Professionals!
How do you define the ‘smart golf range’?
The smart golf range could mean many things, our focus is on delivering a fun and intelligent golf experience at all our venues.
We are seeing a changing demographic at driving ranges thanks to our technology, and having a data-driven experience has been a big key to the change in culture.
Guests want to play games that apply to their ability level.
We have tried to ensure there is a variety of options for new golfers as well as established players so that groups of different abilities can all play together.
Equally the avid golfer can enjoy working on accuracy or distance control, so their game is sharp for their next visit to the golf course.
Do you want to compete with other launch monitors or focus on the entertainment side?
Toptracer is the most used, most trusted ball tracing technology and our objective is to create a community of range operators and guests that can share experiences no matter their ability.
By working with our range owners to offer something extra we are seeing them elevate their business to the next level and achieve on average 30-40% visit growth.
Golfers are now able to play in any weather, all year round and some of our new sites are opening their doors for the first time ever this winter which is great for the industry.
Would you incorporate other kinds of competitive elements to your offers?
We are constantly looking at what our range owners need to help their businesses flourish.
By providing a gaming platform, golfers can still compete on features like virtual golf or closest to the pin, and with many more games currently in development, the possibilities are endless.
Do you see any business potential for Toptracer in eSports?
Toptracer technology has already been used in eSports. WGT (World Golf Tour) owned by Topgolf, incorporates the features you would see on a broadcast with the trace and ball data to accompany it.
This feature is proving extremely popular and the game itself is played by 20,000,000 people globally every year.
We have also just signed a 6-event deal with the European Tour and Dreamhack for the first European eTour event to be played alongside a regular Tour event.
We are now another step closer to connecting a potentially non-golfing audience to golf venues for their first real golf experience.
Can you offer lead generation solutions for golf clubs?
Through all our platforms we are using the global imprint of Topgolf to help new audiences discover the game of golf.
By watching a media production in collaboration with Topgolf and Will Smith, or by playing the WGT game, we expect hundreds of thousands of people to see how they could achieve their next social or traditional golf experience.
No matter their ability level, no matter the weather, no matter the time of day or where in the world they happen to be, Toptracer is making this possible with over 200 range facilities globally.
I believe the attraction of being part of a large global community is one of the reasons that hundreds of range operators are making the decision to join the Toptracer revolution.
One of my favorite stories comes from a range in Scotland that had a visit from a Belgian businessman.
He was in Glasgow for six months on business and wanted to get his golf fix. Being an avid Toptracer user he downloaded the app and searched for his nearest range.
He then purchased the top price range card and is now there every at least twice a week!