Golf is a sport of deep-rooted traditions and customs. It is has been played in the same way for hundreds of years. However, it has not and will not be spared by the technological storm of the 21st century. Today we will take a look at all of the emerging technologies that will impact the game of golf.
3D printing has skyrocketed in popularity recently. It is just a matter of time before every household will include its own 3D printer. Currently, household printers can only print in plastic, which limits their use for golfers. However, this means that today you can print tees, ball markers, divot tools, and other custom plastic golf accessories from your own home. As this technology advances new materials will become available. Printers are already starting to print in carbon filaments. One day you may be able to print your own golf shafts from home. Likewise, laboratories are starting to utilize 3D printers to manufacture metal parts. One day in the future these machines may replace the plastic printing household printers and allow golfers to design and print their own woods and irons. \
Another technology currently trending is virtual reality (VR). With the release of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, high-end VR was thrust into the everyday household. This technology has the ability to allow golfers to practice from home. Utilizing force feedback and immersive graphical experience, golfers could stay at home and practice on any course they could think of. The headset could provide a sensation of being in a location in the world. With a golf club shaped controller, golfers could practice “putting” on Augusta, “drive” off the tee at Pebble Beach, or “play” any course alongside the PGA pros. The possibilities are endless.
Augmented reality (AR) is similar to virtual reality, however, it adds virtual graphics into your normal vision as opposed to completely block your vision with a screen. Think of a graphic displayed on the windshield of your car as opposed to looking at a television. Augmented reality may be harder to visualize but it has immense potential. You could wear your AR glasses during your round of golf and have your ball speed, ball distance, shot angle, etc automatically displayed after each shot. For a more interesting experience, you could wear your AR glasses at the range and play games like hit the zombie before they reach you or try to hit floating targets that are not actually there. AR has the potential to revolutionize the game, while still getting outside and actually playing.